Commentary

King sets Georgia records

WR's 205 yards breaks Fred Gibson's mark; Murray's homecoming disappoints

Updated: January 2, 2012, 8:37 PM ET
By David Ching | DawgNation

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tavarres King was responsible for the longest touchdown in Georgia's bowl history for all of five plays.

[+] EnlargeTavarres King
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaTavarres King set a Georgia bowl record with 205 yards receiving, beating Fred Gibson's previous mark by four yards.
The junior receiver broke behind the Michigan State secondary for an 80-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter of the Bulldogs' 33-30 overtime loss in Monday's Outback Bowl, replacing Charley Trippi's 67-yard pass to Dan Edwards in the 1947 Sugar Bowl as the longest bowl touchdown in school history.

"He just did a great job turning the safety around pretty much," Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. "He did a little corner-and-go and the guy just flew out of there, turned his hips and it was a done deal. I just had to throw it far enough for him to run under it, and he did that and it was off to the races."

But only five plays later, Brandon Boykin one-upped his teammate, taking a punt 92 yards for a touchdown -- also the longest play in Outback Bowl history -- to give the Bulldogs a 16-0 halftime lead.

King still claimed a spot in the record book in Monday's game, however. He finished with six catches for 205 yards, breaking Fred Gibson's 10-year-old single-game school record of 201 yards set in a 2001 game against Kentucky.

King didn't want to think much about his place in Georgia history immediately after the Bulldogs blew multiple opportunities to win Monday's game before falling in the third overtime period.

"It doesn't mean anything," King said. "It's extremely irrelevant. I'd rather have a win than anything."

Still, he was by far the Bulldogs' most productive offensive player Monday, making a 60-yard catch in the first quarter and a 53-yard grab in the fourth quarter that set up Boykin's go-ahead 13-yard touchdown catch.

He admitted afterward that he thought the Bulldogs were going to win when Boykin's score, followed by a 2-point pass to Malcolm Mitchell, put Georgia up 27-20 with 6:44 to play.

"At that point in time, I felt good," King said, shaking his head. "I felt a little weight off my shoulders and felt pretty good."

Walsh's rocky day
Georgia kicker Blair Walsh became the SEC's all-time leading scorer on Monday, going 2-for-4 on field goals and hitting a pair of PATs to move his career point total to 412. That passed former Bulldog Billy Bennett's previous record of 409 points.

Somehow that likely won't be what Walsh remembers from Monday after missing twice in overtime -- a 42-yard try in the first overtime that would have won the game and a blocked 47-yard attempt that ended the game in the third overtime -- as a win slipped away.

"I'd trade anything, I'd trade the whole record and all that other stuff that comes with it for me to have one field goal today that would win the game for us," Walsh said. "Unfortunately it worked out that that's not the case and I couldn't come through in the clutch."

Georgia coach Mark Richt actually sent out Walsh and the field goal unit on third down to attempt the winning kick in the first overtime, following a Bacarri Rambo interception that halted the Spartans' possession.

"I felt like he could easily make that kick," Richt said. "Put the ball in the middle of the field and that would have ended the game there if he did make it."

That ended a disappointing senior season for Walsh -- one of the most accurate kickers in school history entering the year. He converted 21 of 35 field goals as a senior (60 percent) after hitting at an 81 percent clip for his first three seasons.

"This has been a really tough year for him," Boykin said. "I'm sure he's feeling worse than anybody right now, just because he's a senior and he had a chance to win the game and didn't go out the way he wanted to. As his teammate, I'll always be his teammate no matter what. There's no reason to say something bad."

[+] EnlargeAaron Murray
Kim Klement/US PresswireTampa native Aaron Murray did not have a great welcome home, throwing two costly interceptions to jumpstart Michigan State's comeback.
Unhappy homecoming
Murray set a school record with 35 passing touchdowns this season, but his homecoming did not go as planned.

Murray turned the ball over three times -- he fumbled in the first half and threw two interceptions in the third quarter that helped launch Michigan State's comeback from a 16-0 halftime deficit -- while playing before a hometown crowd in Tampa.

Murray finished 20-for-32 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, including a 38-yard pick-six by Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard.

"It's definitely not the way that you want to finish the season off and head into an offseason, but we've got to put it behind us," Murray said. "We've got a long offseason ahead of us."

Also notable is that tight end Orson Charles, Murray's teammate at Tampa's Plant High, had his second-fewest receiving yards in a game, with only one catch for two yards.

Charles -- a junior who is mulling a decision as to whether to enter the NFL draft a year early -- did not participate in postgame interviews.

Extra points
Rambo intercepted his eighth pass of the season -- the most by a Georgia player since Ben Smith had 10 in 1989. Also considering an early leap to the NFL, Rambo would not comment on where he stands with regard to that decision after the game. & Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell re-injured the ankle that limited his play over the Bulldogs' previous three games in the second quarter. He left the game after carrying three times for three yards and did not return. & Georgia nose guard John Jenkins intercepted a pass with 3:56 left in regulation, but injured his shoulder and did not return. & Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins went 27-for-50 for 300 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at davidchingespn@gmail.com.