We at Dawg Post have put together a list of the ten* plays that we felt were the most highlight-worthy. These plays were determined based on a combination of impressiveness and importance. We have also linked a YouTube video of each play in the headline.
Now, we want to hear your opinion. Which of these plays takes the cake as the best play of the 2012 season? After reading, head over to The Porch and tell us your pick for the top play of 2012.
*We actually included an 11th play because, well, why not? Who doesn't love a bonus?
Todd Gurley introduced himself to Georgia fans in a big way during the 2012 season opener against Buffalo. After the freshman scored Georgia's first points of the season on a 10-yard touchdown run, the Tarboro, N.C. native tied a school, SEC and NCAA record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. His performance against Buffalo put him on the map, and by the end of the season, he was a freshman All-American and a household name among SEC football fans.
Jarvis Jones welcomed Missouri to the SEC and its "old man football" with open arms. At least, that's how Jones was able to intercept Mizzou quarterback James Franklin's pass midway through the fourth quarter. The outside linebacker spied the quarterback's eyes and dropped back into coverage before snatching Franklin's pass out of the air. After the interception, the first and only of his career, Jones jaunted 21 yards to the Missouri 1-yard line, where officials ruled him down after a review. Todd Gurley scored on the following play, Jones forced a fumble on Missouri's next possession, and the Bulldogs escaped Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., with a 41-20 win.
Midway through the first quarter with the game tied at 7, freshman tailback Keith Marshall took a handoff from Aaron Murray on a stretch play from the Georgia 25-yard line. Marshall found the seam and turned upfield, making a defender miss a tackle at midfield before Marshall's speed carried him the rest of the way. The 75-yard touchdown run was the longest of the season for any Georgia player.
Leading 43-37 in a shootout with Tennessee, Georgia went back to the ground, where it had been successful all day against the Volunteers. With 3:20 remaining in the third quarter, Murray handed the ball to Marshall, who busted through the hole, made a cut to avoid a tackle and turned on the after-burners en route to a 72-yard touchdown run.
Clinging to a 10-9 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Georgia faced a crucial third-and-5. Just three plays prior, Malcolm Mitchell had snagged a 12-yard pass to put Georgia at the Florida 35, but the receiver got hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty taunting Florida's Louicheiz Purifoy after the catch. Quarterback Aaron Murray, who had thrown three interceptions in the game, looked Mitchell's way again on third-and-five as then-No. 3 Florida brought a blitz. With redemption and a victory at stake, Mitchell beat Purifoy in one-on-one coverage and outran the Gator's defense for a 45-yard touchdown that gave Georgia a 17-9 lead.
Moments after a Georgia touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 17-9 lead late in the fourth quarter, Florida marched down the field and into the red zone. On second down from the Georgia 18-yard line, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel connected with tight end Jordan Reed over the middle. Reed, headed towards the end zone, leaped over Bulldog cornerback Branden Smith when Georgia's Jarvis Jones tracked him down and punched the ball out of his grasps. The ball rolled into the end zone, where Sanders Commings recovered for a touchback to secure a Georgia victory in Jacksonville.
Trailing 10-0 to Ole Miss at home, Georgia needed to dig deep for some momentum. That's when head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo dug deep into the playbook to find a bit of trickery used a couple of times before in Richt's coaching days. On third-and-1, quarterback Aaron Murray faked a handoff to tailback Todd Gurley, turned his back to the defense to shield the football, and then turned around to hit a wide open Marlon Brown in stride for a 66-yard touchdown pass. The score jumpstarted Georgia's offense as the Bulldogs scored 37 unanswered points for the victory.
Wearing his injured teammate's jersey number, Tavarres King made his final game against Auburn his most impressive. With Georgia leading 14-0 in the second quarter, King, sporting Marlon Brown's #15, made a highlight reel catch by jumping up, snagging the pass, and bringing down the necessary one foot in bounds along the sidelines of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
With the Bulldogs leading 7-0 early, Georgia Tech drove down the heart of the Georgia defense, all the way to the one-yard line. That's where Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo stripped the football from Tech's Robert Godhigh, who was in the midst of a 19-yard run. Rambo pulled the ball from Godhigh's hands and scampered 49 yards in the opposite direction to give Georgia possession at midfield. Rambo's strip-and-recovery led to a quick score for Georgia en route to the 42-10 victory.
Georgia held a 14-10 lead midway through the third quarter, when Alabama kicker Cade Foster lined up to kick a 49-yard field goal. Georgia's Cornelius Washington bursts through the line, however, and sent the kick in the direction from which it came. That's when junior linebacker Alec Ogletree scooped up the loose ball and returned it 55 yards for a Bulldog touchdown, giving the Bulldogs a 21-10 lead and sending Georgia fans into a frenzy.
Backed up near its own end zone, the Georgia offense faced a third-and-long while leading 38-31 against Nebraska in the fourth quarter of the Capital One Bowl. Quarterback Aaron Murray hit slot receiver Chris Conley on a middle screen near the line of scrimmage. With key blocks from Kenarious Gates and Arthur Lynch, the middle of the field was wide open, and Conley turned on the speed, going 87 yards for Georgia's longest passing touchdown of the season.