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Georgia Bulldogs Football: No New Year's Cheers in Dawg-Land After Outback Bowl

A storybook finish for the Spartans sent Georgia fans home with a bowl loss in triple overtime.
A storybook finish for the Spartans sent Georgia fans home with a bowl loss in triple overtime.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Georgia ByrdContributor IJanuary 2, 2012

Overtime stings. It hurts for months after the game ends. Once the pain sets in, game replays of the mind dig into the soul of a fan like a splinter sticking into a bare foot.  

The Georgia Bulldogs just lost a hard-fought game against an evenly matched Michigan State team (33-30) in The Outback Bowl in triple overtime. Let the replays of the mind begin.

The Dawgs didn't just lose; they lost after a four hour smash-mouth war on the field kept the competition on its toes, answering every step forward with two steps backward. When the Dawgs' game-tying field goal was kicked low, the football hit one of its own lineman, ending Georgia's dreams for an 11-win season and sending seniors on their way with a loss.  

With the four-plus hours of play ending abruptly, tenacity, grit and drive jumped right back into the dictionary in a split second. That's the way overtime works.

'Tis a shame nothing else counts in the end but the scoreboard.

There's nothing quite like going to The Outback when you're really hungry, and that's exactly what the Georgia Bulldogs were today in Tampa.

But the Dawgs weren't the only team begging for treats. The Michigan State Spartans—a team so evenly matched that the game was at times boring—were starved for their first bowl win in four years. Both teams combined for 124 yards in 68 rushes.  

In a game that was filled with the makings of an edge-of-your-seat thriller in 3-D, it was the Bulldogs defense that proved to have earned its billing. They did their job. They played like a team. They just didn't finish.

The Dawgs' bulky line left the Spartans scoreless as they headed into the locker room at halftime. By all appearances, surely this would be a shining day in the state of Georgia.  

There were shining moments for the Bulldogs in The Outback Bowl today, but the Dawgs lost by three in a hard-fought game in Tampa.
There were shining moments for the Bulldogs in The Outback Bowl today, but the Dawgs lost by three in a hard-fought game in Tampa.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

There were some high moments. Bacarri Rambo excelled. His interception in the Spartans' first drive was his eighth of the year. Brandon Boykin tackled Keshawn Martin in the end zone on Michigan State's first play from scrimmage, forcing a safety.

He didn't go away. Boykin blazed, returning a punt for 92 yards and a Bulldog touchdown—an Outback Bowl record—as well as a record for the school. And those are just the teasers.

The offense was, at times, smooth and accurate and seamless. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray passed for 287 yards (versus Michigan State's Kirk Cousins' 300-yard day). He and Tavarres King were on target most of the day—King with six receptions and a bowl record of 205 yards and one touchdown, including an 80-yard TD completion in the first half, a school and bowl record. 

Speaking of records, senior Blair Wash set the SEC and Georgia record for most career points with 412.  

When it meant the most, the Dawgs executed. But there were turnovers—three to be exact—that gave MSU 14 points while Georgia got only three points off three interceptions. But fourth-quarter penalties gave the Spartans just enough room to tie the game. Let's not forget that Murray took some hits, oftentimes wrapped like a package for mailing.    

Some will blame the coaches calling it too conservatively early on. Many will question the play-calling, but as the shade smothered the stadium and a cool wind sent a chill through the stands, Georgia's faithful watched with anxious devotion, never giving up hope until Walsh sent the ball sputtering in overtime number three.

Game over. That's the way overtime works.  

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