Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) runs for a 24-yard touchdown past the Nebraska defense during the first half of the Capital One Bowl NCAA football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Jan. 1, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The No. 7 Georgia football teams handed the 16th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers a 45-31 loss in front of 59,712 fans and a nationally televised ABC audience in the Capital One Bowl, held in Orlando, Fla. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 12-2 record, which included a 7-1 mark in the Southeastern Conference and a SEC Eastern Division Title. The 2012 squad becomes just the third team in school history to finish with 12 wins in a season, joining the 1980 National Championship team and the 2002 SEC Championship teams with that distinction. Georgia also set a bowl record with 45 points scored, besting the previous mark of 44 in the 2009 Independence Bowl win over Texas A&M.
Aaron Murray finished with 427 yards and five touchdowns on 18-for-33 passing, setting Georgia bowl records in touchdown passes, yards and the longest touchdown pass. Tavarres King was Murray's top target, picking up 104 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Chris Conley was Georgia's leading receiver, finishing with 136 yards and two touchdowns. Keith Marshall and Arthur Lynch were also on the receiving end of touchdown passes. Todd Gurley led Georgia's rushing attack, picking up 125 yards on 23 carries, scoring once. Marshall finished with 36 yards on eight carries.
The defense has a solid day, finishing with four sacks, two interceptions and a fumble. Alec Ogletree led the team with 13 tackles, including nine solo stops. Shawn Williams added 11 tackles, seven of which were unassisted. Jarvis Jones led the team in sacks with two, becoming Georgia's all-time leader for sacks in a single season. Jones also set a school record for tackles for loss in a season. Christian Robinson, Jordan Jenkins and Ogletree were also credited for one sack each.
For the second time in as many bowl games, Georgia took a 2-0 lead on a safety with 11:49 on the clock. A blocked punt set up the safety, as the ball when through the back of the end zone for the score.
On the second Georgia drive of the game, Murray led the Bulldogs on an 80-yard drive that was capped off by a 29-yard completion to Lynch that put the Bulldogs up 9-0 with just under eight minutes in the first quarter.
Nebraska answered with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-9 lead. The first came after a seven-play, 75-yard yard that made it a 9-7. Two plays later, the Cornhuskers intercepted a Murray pass and ran it back for a touchdown that gave them the lead.
The lead didn't last, as Murray found King for a 75-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the drive that allowed the Bulldogs to retake the lead at 16-14. Gurley scored the touchdown, taking a direct snap 24 yards to the end zone.
The Huskers responded with a six-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in a 39-yard field goal that made it a 23-17 game midway through the second quarter. After a Georgia three-and-out, Nebraska took a 24-23 lead on a 16-yard pass to Rex Burkhead.
On the opening drive of the second half, Nebraska orchestrated a 13-play drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown run by Burkhead that extended Nebraska's lead to 31-23.
The Bulldogs answered on the following drive, driving 79 yards on six plays for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 49-yard touchdown grab by Chris Conley. Looking to tie the game, Murray found Rhett McGowan at the goal line to complete the two-point conversion to tie the game at 31 with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Georgia scored touchdowns on its next two possessions to take a 45-31 lead. The first touchdown was set up by a 31-yard completion to Justin Scott-Wesley and capped off by a 24-yard touchdown grab by Marshall. On the next Bulldog possession, Murray found a wide-open Conley over the middle for an 87-yard touchdown reception that proved to be the game-sealing catch.
The Bulldogs improved to 27-18-3 in bowl games, and have competed in the postseason for 16-straight years. Murray finished with several records, setting the single-season passing yardage record on that play with 3,544, eclipsing Eric Zeier's 3,525 yards in 1993. Murray also became the single-season total offense record with his 75-yard touchdown pass to King that gave him 3,548 total offensive yards this season, passing Matthew Stafford's mark of 3,499 yards in 2008. Murray's 24-yard touchdown pass to Marshall set several marks including a bowl record 4 touchdown passes; tied his single season TD passes mark with 35 and established a touchdown-responsibility record for a season with 38. Murray's 87-yard touchdown pass to Conley was the longest in Bulldog bowl history. It was also the longest touchdown pass in school history since a record 93-yarder in 2003 from David Greene to Tyson Browning at LSU. Murray also tied a Georgia record for TD passes in a game and finished the season with 3,893 yards, 36 touchdown passes, completing 249-of-388.