ATLANTA — It’s the broken record that won’t stop playing.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (11) scrambles out of the pocket while being chased down by Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial (90) in the Bulldogs' loss on Saturday. Murray threw for 265 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Quarterback Aaron Murray’s record against ranked opponents moved to 3-9 with Georgia’s 32-28 loss to No. 2 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship on Saturday.
“I definitely think I had my share of mistakes and definitely missed some throws throughout the game that I wish I could go take back,” he said. “I’m very hard on myself. I feel like I could take a lot of the blame, and I am.”
The voices of Murray’s critics likely will continue to get louder with the loss, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that’s something that comes with the territory.
“That’s part of playing this game. That’s part of playing that position,” Bobo said. “There’s going to be criticism, but heck, he’s handled it well his whole career. He does nothing but give his all for the University of Georgia. He’s a winner and I’m really proud of how he played tonight.”
Murray finished 18-of-33 for 265 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the top-ranked defense in the nation.
It was a roller-coaster ride for Georgia’s quarterback who faced so many scenarios.
Early in the second quarter, Murray linked up with tight end Jay Rome — who was wide open in the flat — for 19 yards, and the game’s first touchdown.
Near the end of the half, it was a scary moment for the Bulldogs when their quarterback got drilled during an interception return and was escorted off the field with his trainers.
He took a helmet-to-helmet hit, but said it was nothing serious.
“I knew I was fine, I just had the wind knocked out of me,” he said. “It wasn’t anything to do with the head. I just couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.”
The ups-and-downs continued as both teams traded blows in the second half. After the Bulldogs fell behind 25-21 early in the fourth quarter, Murray found senior wide receiver Tavarres King for 45 yards to set up a touchdown for tailback Todd Gurley.
With an opportunity to burn time off the clock, Murray and the offense failed to move the chains and continued to turn up the pressure on its defense.
Alabama was able to capitalize and retook the lead thanks to a 45-yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron to wide receiver Amari Cooper.
“We had a third and medium and a third and one — the two drives that we went three-and-out — that hurt,” Bobo said. “We got it where we wanted … you’ve got to give their guys credit for coming up for those two stops when we needed to get a first down to help our defense out.”
The Bulldogs had one final chance with 1:08 left in the game and no timeouts remaining.
Despite the factors working against them, Murray was confident that he could march his team down the field and potentially score the game-winning touchdown.
“We had four or five successful minute-drives this season already, so we knew we could move the ball pretty well,” he said.
He was able to do just that, but the ticking clock and a tipped pass halted Georgia’s hopes at a conference title.
“To come this close to not only win the SEC championship, but to get a chance to go to Miami and compete for a national championship — it stinks,” Murray said. “I feel bad for this team. We’ve worked extremely this whole offseason, this whole season, I feel for my guys.”
Regardless of the outcome, King still supported the performance of his quarterback.
“I think he played great,” King said. “He made a lot of plays, did some great things and made some good decisions. He’s the leader of this team. That’s somebody who we look to.”
With a bowl game still left to be played, Georgia will have time to recover and get the sour taste from this loss out of its mouth.
“This is definitely going to take a lot to get over this one,” Murray said. “We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this game. We’ve got to bounce back, win that 12th game and finish the season out strong.”