JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Your team is leading its biggest rival 10-9 in the fourth quarter and your quarterback is in the middle of one of the worst games of his career. What is the smart play for Georgia's coaching staff in such a situation?
Put the ball in the slumping quarterback's hands, obviously. And Aaron Murray delivered, somehow recovering from a horrendous first half to lead the Bulldogs to a crucial touchdown midway through the fourth quarter in Saturday's 17-9 win against No. 2 Florida.
"We wouldn't have done it if we didn't feel comfortable," Georgia coach Mark Richt said after the game when asked whether he had confidence that Murray could get the job done.
It was a perfectly reasonable question, however, given that Murray had been so bad earlier in the game. He was clearly rattled in the first half, going 4-for-8 for 34 yards and three ugly interceptions -- so settling him down was job No. 1 for quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in the halftime locker room.
"I told him, 'Hey, it's 7-6. We're winning the ballgame. It's Florida-Georgia, it's what you've dreamed about your whole life. Let's go play the game. Relax,' " Bobo said. "It didn't really resonate till the fourth quarter, but when the fourth quarter came around, he did a nice job of delivering the ball."
Somehow, that's what he did -- never more so than on the drive in which he and Malcolm Mitchell combined to finally give Georgia's defense some breathing room. And he did it by following Bobo's advice.
"I was disappointed but knew that we were still up 7-6 and had an entire half to play," said Murray, who finished 12-for-24 for 150 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. "I knew that we could come out and make some things happen in the second half."