Georgia Falls 33-30 to Michigan State in Outback Bowl
Jan. 2, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. - The Georgia Bulldogs dropped a 33-30 decision to Michigan State in a thrilling three-overtime game in the Outback Bowl on Monday afternoon in front of 49,429 fans and a nationally televised ABC audience.
Georgia concludes its season with a 10-4 record, while Michigan State finished with a record of 11-3. The Bulldogs are now 26-18-3 in bowl games, including a 7-4 mark under head coach Mark Richt.
"We didn't execute the way that we should have at times, but credit Michigan State," Richt said. "We had a chance late in the game to get a first down and then the game would have been over. We hurt ourselves and didn't execute the game plan the way we should have at times. [Murray] had to throw the ball a little quicker than he wanted to, but credit MSU's defense for coming out and pressuring him. Michigan State came prepared to win this game and earned every bit of the win."
Tavarres King set a school-record with 205 yards through the air. The junior finished with six catches, including a career-long 80-yard reception, and a touchdown. Murray finished 20-of-32 for 287 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Brandon Boykin, who was named the MVP of the game, forced a safety, returned a punt for a touchdown and scored on a 13-yard touchdown run.
Alec Ogletree led the Bulldogs defensively, finishing with 13 tackles, including 12 solo stops. He also recorded one sack and was in on two pass breakups. Christian Robinson tallied 10 tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for a loss.
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins was 27-of-50 for 300 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Brian Linthicum led the team through the air with 115 yards on seven catches. Le'veon Bell finished with 88 all-purpose yards, including 39 through the air and 49 on the ground.
Georgia got on the board first after Boykin tackled Keshawn Martin for a safety that gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Georgia scored two touchdowns in 87 seconds to extend its lead to 16-0 with just over three minutes left in the first half. The first touchdown came when Murray found King over the middle for 80 yards. Following the touchdown, Michigan State went three-and-out and was forced to punt. Boykin took the punt 92 yards for the second touchdown of the game. It was Boykin's first career punt return for a touchdown.
Michigan State got on the board with 7:52 on the clock in the third quarter. Cousins used completions of 12 and 17 yards to B.J. Cunningham and Linthicum to march 48 yards downfield before Bell ran eight yards for the touchdown. Cousins completed a pass to Linthicum for the two-point conversion that made it a one-possession game at 16-8.
The Spartans took advantage of a Georgia miscue late in the third quarter, as Darqueze Dennard picked off Murray and returned it for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, making it a two-point game at 16-14.
Michigan State took its first lead of the contest with 8:22 left in the game when Cousins found Keith Nichol for a touchdown. The Spartans were unable to complete the two-point conversion, resulting in a 20-19 game.
Georgia answered on the ensuing drive, marching 81 yards on six plays in 1:38. The drive was highlighted by a 53-yard reception by King that made it first-and-10 at the MSU 11. Boykin found the end zone for the second time three plays later. Murray found Malcolm Mitchell for the two-point conversion that made it a 27-20 game.
With 2:06 to play, Cousins orchestrated a 10-play 85-yard drive that tied the game at 27-27 with under a minute to play to send it into overtime.
Georgia elected to play defense, setting up an interception by Bacarri Rambo. Rambo returned it 15 yards to the Georgia 25. Walsh missed on a 42-yard field goal attempt on third down, sending the game into a second overtime.
The Bulldogs got the ball to start the second overtime. Walsh kicked a 47-yard field goal that gave Georgia a 30-27 lead. Michigan State answered with a field goal of its own that tied the game at 30 and sent it into the third overtime.
The Spartans opened the third overtime with a field goal that gave them a 33-30 lead. Georgia had a chance to win the game with a touchdown or tie it with a field goal, but had its field goal attempt blocked, sealing the win for Michigan State.
Georgia set the record for the longest play in Outback Bowl history twice during the game. King's 80-yard touchdown catch stood as the longest play in the bowl's history before Boykin returned the punt 92 yards. Boykin's punt return is also the longest play in Georgia's bowl history and the second longest punt return for a touchdown. Walsh became the SEC and UGA all-time leading scorer with 412 yards, surpassing former Georgia kicker Billy Bennett. The Bulldogs also played in their second overtime game at the Outback Bowl.