Now the miracle Auburn pulled off last November goes with the narrative that the Tigers won the SEC title and nearly left California with the final BCS title. But on fourth down and forever, Auburn made a play (or Georgia screwed a play up) that had ramifications from Auburn to Tallahassee.
Auburn had moved the ball and scored on Georgia for three quarters – Nick Marshall and company were walking from one end to the next in the change over from the third quarter to the fourth like they had already won the game. They kicked a field goal to go up 37-17
Then Georgia scored 21 unanswered point to take a 38-37 led. In that time Auburn managed to go three-and-out twice in a row and was facing a fourth and 18 from their own 27. At that point the Tigers had moved the ball all of 15 yards in the quarter.
They were done.
Had the miracle never happened Alabama's loss the next week to Auburn would have been irrelevant. The Tide would have likely beaten Missouri in the SEC Championship and faced Florida State at the Rose Bowl.
Would Auburn have beaten Alabama two weeks after the Georgia game had the ball hit the turf? No one knows – and that's really a silly thing to wonder. What happened happened, and the legacy that is Georgia and Auburn having wild and consequential games has yet another chapter added to it.
But Georgia's defense suddenly figured Auburn out, and the Tigers couldn't do anything.
2. Murray Sets them Straight (LSU)
In the weeks heading into the LSU game with former teammate Zach Mettenberger we heard all about what Aaron Murray couldn't do. He couldn't win the big game – even though he'd already dismissed top-ten-ranked South Carolina earlier in the season and had knocked out #2 Florida a season before.
And ESPN's Gameday was in town – and with it came the silliness about how Georgia hadn't won a Gameday game this than and the other… like Lee Corso being in town matters on the field of play.
But once the national media grabs a hold of a narrative they can't let it go… that's another story for another day. The feeling that day around the country was that Aaron Murray couldn't get the job done – everyone wanted to see it done that day.
This game, Georgia-LSU, was a classic for the word go. The storyline was an easy – Mett vs. Murray. The ramifications? This was considered a game with national championship implications.
The two conference titans battled one another until #6 LSU held a 41-37 lead. That's when Murray did what needed to be done – he drove the #9 Dawgs down the field and found Justin Scott-Wesley for the game-winning 25-yard touchdown.
Murray said after the game that it may have been one of his favorite wins at Georgia. You could certainly understand why.
3. Thunderkick (Tennessee)
Perhaps no fourth quarter was as unexpectedly wild at Georgia's 34-31 overtime win over the Vols. Ranked sixth in the country and with the winds seemingly at their backs after a curtail pre-October schedule that included top ten matchups with Clemson, South Carolina and LSU, Georgia seemed ready to cruse until the Florida game.
But about the third quarter, after injuries started mounting for the Dawgs, Tennessee rallied by outscoring the Dawgs 28-7 in the second half.
Georgia was in real, real trouble. The Vols' final touchdown of the day was a 7-yard run by Rajion Neal to put home standing Tennessee up 31-24 win only 1:54 left in the game. But Aaron Murray had another trick up his sleeve. A week before he found Justin Scott-Wesley for the game-winning 25-yard touchdown in Georgia's thrilling 44-41 win over #6 LSU.
But this time Murray and company would have to drive the field with walk-ons and true freshmen at receiver save two – Chris Conley and Rantavious Wooten. But if walk-ons and true freshmen were what Murray had to work with that's what he would use… after all he had no other choice.
Murray's first pass fell incomplete. But he found freshmen receiver Reggie Davis for a nine-yard gain. He handed the ball off to freshman running back J.J. Green on 3rd and one. Green exploded for 17 yards – Georgia and Murray were off.
The senior quarterback found Green on the next play for four yards. After an incompletion he found the other true freshman running back – Brendan Douglas – for 32 yards to the Vols' 13-yard line. Murray then got walk-on receiver Rhett McGowan into the act for a three-yard reception to the ten. Two penalties later set the Dawgs up at the UT two yard-line. Two incomplete passes later Murray and the Dawgs were facing 3rd and goal from the two with time running out.
Murray took the snap and threw a fastball low to the only person who could catch it – Wooten. Marshall Morgan sent the game into overtime tied at 31.
The Vols appeared poised to take a touchdown led in overtime, but Alton "Pig" Howard lost control of the football near the end zone and the ball rolled out for a Georgia touchback.
Three plays later Murray went to the sideline to watch… Morgan was going to have to win the game with his foot – and the kick wasn't a short one. Coach Mark Richt told him before the kick: "You are the best kicker in America."
Morgan didn't do anything to undermine his coach's comments – belting through a 42-yard field goal for an improbably ending to a classic SEC game.
4. Cocktails on Us (Florida)
There wasn't much thought of what was going to happen in the fourth quarter in Jacksonville – Hutson Mason would probably get a few snaps, but it would be a blowout. Georgia, up 23-3 at the half, was putting a beating on Flordia until Artie Lynch dropped what turned out to be a lateral that the Gators picked up and ran to the Bulldog 14-yard line. Two plays later Mack Brown scored to put Florida back in the game – down only 23-10.
Georgia's offense, which was moving the ball effectively and scoring on big plays in the first half, could do nothing in the second half. It got so bad that Aaron Murray was sacked in the end zone. The safety cut Georgia's lead to only 11.
Only 40 seconds into the fourth quarter Florida scored again – this time adding a two-point conversion to cut their deficit to only a field goal. Florida forced a Georgia punt and got the ball back at midfield.
That's when the Gators and Dawgs did their best to give the other team the advantage. Florida was set up to start their drive at the Georgia 39, but was flagged for a personal foul that put them back at their own 46. Georgia's defense played well enough to force a fourth and two, but called time out and ended up with 12 men on the field at the same time. The Gators got a first down without snapping the ball.
Once more, and this time with a fresh set of downs handed to them, the Gators went backwards again. Soloman Patton was stuffed for a two-yard loss. An incompletion set up 3rd and 12. That's when Todd Grantham called a blitz to put all of the pressure on Florida QB Tyler Murphy. It didn't go well for the Gators.
On the Georgia 43 with the game still in sight, Murphy dropped back, but didn't see a blitzing Corey Moore until it was far too late. He wound up on the turf at the Florida 43-yard line. Faced with 4th and 26 (and knowing another 5-yard penalty would be meaningless) Florida had to punt.
They never got the ball back.
Todd Gurley converted two first downs and Murray completed a ball to Rhett McGowan to convert another as the time dripped off the clock in favor of the Dawgs. Florida called two timeouts in a row, but on third and five at the Florida 25-yard line the Gators called for a personal foul – giving Georgia a first down and the game.
Pushing and shoving ensued, but Georgia left town with its third win in a row in the series. Meanwhile the Gators took their third loss in conference play.
5. Swole Douglas (South Carolina)
Todd Gurley is Georgia's best running back – that the world knows. But the second week of the season everyone learned something else… that Georgia had a closer of sorts. Brendan Douglas had been committed to Georgia Tech until the last week of recruiting. That's when the Augusta native dumped the Jackets and picked the Dawgs.
It didn't look like Georgia would nee any help at the end of the game. The Bulldogs jumped South Carolina – holding a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. But if 2013 taught us anything it was that a 14-point lead was meaningless in SEC play.
South Carolina proved just how meaningless by rallying to tie the game at 24 after being down 17-3. But the Bulldogs took hold of the game in the third quarter – outscoring the Cocks by ten in the third. But Carolina wasn't done. Mike Davis ripped off a huge run to set up his three-yard touchdown with 14:48 to play in the game.
The Cocks were only down four, and Georgia needed to get going again. Three plays later Aaron Murray made Sanford Stadium explode when he flushed out of the pocket to his left and found Justin Scott-Wesley, who was streaking down the Gamecocks' sideline. 85 yards later Georgia took what looked like a commanding 41-30 lead.
That's when Georgia's defense stepped up their game. After Connor Shaw and Shaq Roland connected three times to get the ball in scoring position, Carolina was first and goal at the 8-yard line. But Shaw was sacked on first down. He nearly scored on second down, but was tackled at the three-yard line. On third down Mike Davis slammed his way to the one-yard line.
Without a timeout, Steve Spurrier decided to go for it on fourth down. Davis ran towards the line of scrimmage, but had to jump to the right to avoid the surge from the Georgia defense. It was took late – he was swamped. Spurrier's bet didn't pay off.
South Carolina wouldn't see the ball again – but Gurley and Douglas would. With the ball at the own two-yard line, Mike Bobo decided to let Aaron Murray get the drive going. On second down he found Quayvon Hicks, who took a screen for 23 yards to give Georgia all the daylight it would need to function normally on offense.
Gurley ran the ball for nine yards, then Hicks for another six before Gurley ran for another three more. On second and seven at the Georgia 43, Douglas came in the game and gashed the Cock defense for 17 yards – knocking defenders on the ground as his bowling-ball style took hold. He got the ball three times in a row after that, which set up a fourth and two at the South Carolina 35. Carolina called time.
Gurley came back into the game. He took the ball forward five yards – another Georgia first down. The game was over, but Hicks, Douglas and finally Gurley drove the ball to the South Carolina 18 as time expired.