Georgia Football: Top 10 Offensive Plays for Dawgs in 2012
The Georgia Bulldogs offense was one of the most explosive in the country this year, breaking records left and right and battling its way to a Capital One Bowl victory. Luckily for Dawg fans, this squad will be returning almost all of its starters.
With playmakers on the field like Aaron Murray, Tavarres King, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, it's no surprise that the Bulldogs seemed to score at will at times this season.
Before we move forward to looking at the 2013 season, let's take a moment to enjoy the top plays by the Dawgs in 2012:
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Unfortunately, there isn't enough room for every play in consideration, and this is just a short list of the most notable plays that didn't make the cut.
Keith Marshall 72-yard touchdown run vs Tennessee
Aaron Murray Pass to Tavarres King for TD in Capital One Bowl
Gurley 51-yard TD run vs Tennessee
Aaron Murray pass to Keith Marshall for TD in Capital One Bowl
10. Aaron Murray Pass to Tavarres King for Touchdown
Game Clock: 8:50 left in 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 2nd-and-goal from Kentucky 2
Current Score: Kentucky leads 14-7
Although this play looks run-of-the-mill to start, it breaks the top 10 for one main reason. With this touchdown, Aaron Murray set the University of Georgia record for touchdown passes with 73, surpassing David Greene's mark. Murray hits Tavarres King on a slant pattern from the 2 to bring the Dawgs within one of the Wildcats.
9. Aaron Murray Pass to Jay Rome for Touchdown
Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC Championship)
Game Clock: 14:05 left in 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 2nd-and-9 from Alabama 19
Current Score: Game tied 0-0
This pass to Jay Rome broke the tie for the first time in the SEC Championship Game. Rome catches the ball on the 4 and battles his way into the end zone for the score. The Dawgs would finish the game just four yards short of a BCS Championship berth, but this play was one of the many bright spots throughout the game for Georgia.
8. Todd Gurley 29-Yard Touchdown Run
Game Clock: :55 left in 3rd quarter
Down and Distance: 1st-and-10 from Vanderbilt 29
Current Score: Georgia leads 41-3
This game was by no means in jeopardy at this point, but this play makes the top 10 because it shows everything that was great about Todd Gurley this year. In one play, he shows balance and vision, breaks four tackles and puts his fantastic stiff-arm on display. Gurley has plenty of phenomenal runs this year, but none that showed off all of his talents and skills to this level.
7. Keith Marshall 75-Yard Touchdown Run
Game Clock: 7:44 left in 1st quarter
Down and Distance: 1st-and-10 from own 25
Current Score: Tied 7-7
Keith Marshall showed on this play why he was the highest-ranked runningback coming out of high school last year. Marshall hits the corner and, in just over a second, is out of reach of every Tennessee defender.
What makes this even more spectacular is he followed it up later in the game with a 72-yard touchdown which looked virtually the same, just to the other sideline. He and Todd Gurley carried the offense on their backs this game, leading the Dawgs with five touchdowns between them.
6. Todd Gurley Kickoff Returned for a Touchdown
Game Clock: 5:27 left in 1st quarter
Down and Distance: Kickoff
Current Score: Georgia leads 7-6
First, things first. Yes, I know it's Buffalo, so the plays in this game don't carry the same weight, necessarily. One play did, however, require its proper credit. One his first ever touch in college football, Todd Gurley returned Buffalo's kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
This play would set the tone for what kind of season Gurley would end up having. Again, maybe this matchup doesn't carry the same weight as the Florida game or SEC Championship, but for this teenager's first play in college, it was certainly not a bad way to start.
5. Aaron Murray Pass to Tavarres King for Touchdown
Game Clock: 10:31 left in 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 3rd-and-7 on Auburn 18
Current Score: Georgia leads 14-0
This may have been the most acrobatic catch of the season for the Dawgs. On a fade route in the end zone, King leaps into the air and, with a twisting and falling motion, is able to secure the ball and get both toes inside the boundary.
Tavarres King made Aaron Murray look even better than he is (which is saying something) throughout his career, and catches like this will certainly be missed next year as the Dawgs go for their third straight SEC Championship Game berth.
4. Aaron Murray Pass to Tavarres King for Touchdown
Ole Miss Rebels
Game Clock: :12 left in 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 3rd-and-25 from the Ole Miss 40
Current Score: Ole Miss leads 10-7
The Bulldogs dug themselves a hole early on in this game, ultimately coming back from a 10-point deficit by scoring 37 unanswered, and this touchdown got the ball rolling in the right direction to head into the locker room.
Needing a solid chunk of yardage to get into field-goal range, Aaron Murray takes the snap and is flushed out of the pocket. Murray finds his favorite receiver 40 yards downfield with time nearly running out and the band preparing to take the field.
3. Arthur Lynch Fake Punt Pass to Sanders Commings
Alabama Crimson Tide
Game Clock: Beginning of 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 4th-and-10 from Alabama 36
Current Score: Game Tied 0-0
Georgia entered the second quarter still tied with Alabama. In years' past, fourth down at that distance would call for the field-goal unit, but with the inconsistent kicking this year, the Dawgs were put in a punt or go-for-it situation.
Arthur Lynch takes the snap and proceeds to complete a pass across the middle to defensive back Sanders Commings. This play kept the drive alive and led to the first score of the game—the touchdown pass to Jay Rome two plays later.
2. Aaron Murray Play-Action Pass to Marlon Brown for Touchdown
Ole Miss Rebels
Game Clock: 10:43 left in 2nd quarter
Down and Distance: 3rd-and-1 from own 34
Current Score: Ole Miss leads 10-0
This play can only be described as the single greatest play-action fake that Aaron Murray has ever run. On this "must-score" drive to regain momentum, Murray fakes the hand-off to Todd Gurley and proceeds to tuck the ball out of sight, forcing the safeties and corners to all bite on the fake.
Marlon Brown is then left wide open 20 yards downfield (15 yards from the closest defensive player) and is then able to coast into the end zone. One thing is for certain, David Greene was grinning from ear to ear after this one.
1. Aaron Murray Pass to Malcolm Mitchell for Touchdown
Game Clock: 7:24 left in 4th quarter
Down and Distance: 3rd-and-5 from Florida 45
Current Score: Georgia leads 10-9
This game was a defensive battle to the bitter end where luckily the Dawgs managed to come out on top. With the minutes dwindling in the game, the Georgia Bulldogs felt more than uncomfortable with their single-point lead.
On this play, Aaron Murray hit Malcolm Mitchell for the first down, and Mitchell, one of the biggest weapons on this offense, proceeded to make the play much sweeter. Slicing across the field, Mitchell put on a beautiful open-field display, culminating in a leap into the end zone to put the Dawgs up by seven. This game ended up being the deciding factor in taking the Dawgs to Atlanta for their second straight SEC Championship appearance.