Athens, GA (Sports Network) - Georgia's first game against an unranked
opponent sure wasn't as easy as the final score made it appear.
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs had last week off after opening the season with a
loss to Clemson and a win over South Carolina, both top-10 programs, but it
took a strong second half Saturday to pull away for a 45-21 win over North
Texas at Sanford Stadium.
Aaron Murray threw for 408 yards with three touchdowns and added a rushing
score for Georgia (2-1), which ripped off the final 24 points of the contest.
Todd Gurley ran for 91 yards with a touchdown and Reggie Davis had the longest
pass play in school history, a 98-yard touchdown reception.
The Bulldogs, possibly eyeing next week's showdown with LSU, led only 21-14 at
the break. Things got worse almost immediately when Georgia went three-and-out
to start the second half and the Mean Green tied the game with a blocked punt
for a touchdown.
Murray, though, ran for a touchdown and threw for another score later in the
third to give the Bulldogs some cushion. He finished 22-of-30 through the air
and added 37 yards on the ground, becoming the school's all-time total yardage
leader, surpassing David Greene's total of 11,270.
"I thought our team stumbled here and there and I'm really proud of how we
fought through it and the way we finished," Murray said.
Derek Thompson threw for 202 yards with a score for North Texas (2-2), which
was coming off a win against Ball State last week. Brelan Chancellor added a
99-yard kickoff return for a score in defeat.
"We did some good things on offense, but when you're not putting points on the
board it's hard to justify that," Thompson remarked. "We did some good things
but there are a lot of things we can improve on."
It was tough for both offenses in the rain on Saturday and Georgia went three-
and-out to start the second half. A high snap on the punt allowed Marcus Trice
the opportunity for the block and Zac Whitfield fell on the ball in the end
zone to tie the game for the Mean Green.
After a trade of punts, Georgia marched 53 yards in eight plays for the go-
ahead score. Murray keyed the set with a 24-yard pass to Arthur Lynch, setting
up the quarterback's 1-yard scoring run midway through the third.
North Texas was in position to answer with the ball inside the Georgia 30 on
the ensuing series, but Thompson was intercepted by Tray Matthews at the five.
The Bulldogs followed with a 95-yard drive to create some breathing room.
Murray's 14-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10 kept the series alive early and he
added throws of 32 yards and 12 yards before finding Chris Conley in the end
zone from four yards away to make it 35-21 in the final minute of the period.
Gurley fumbled in the first minute of the fourth quarter to give North Texas
possession at the Georgia 34, but the Bulldogs sent the Mean Green backward
and forced a punt.
The Bulldogs tacked on a 27-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan with 3:45 to
play and J.J. Green ran one yard for a touchdown two minutes later for the
Murray had the Bulldogs in position to score with their second offensive
series, but was picked off by Will Wright at the goal line. Georgia then went
69 yards with its next possession for a touchdown, as a pass interference
penalty set up Gurley's 12-yard scoring run with 3:41 left in the first
The Bulldogs needed just one play to extend the lead when they got the ball
again. Pinned at his own two, Murray lofted a perfect strike to Davis at the
40 and the receiver took it the rest of the way for a 98-yard score on the
first play of the second quarter.
North Texas followed with a 10-play drive for its first score, as Darnell
Smith made a diving catch in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
Back came Georgia with a 75-yard march for a touchdown. Lynch caught three
passes for 61 yards on the drive, including a 42-yard connection from flanker
Rantavious Wooten on the first play. He then hauled in a 16-yard pass in the
end zone from Murray to cap the set.
It didn't take long for North Texas to counter, as Chancellor raced 99 yards
with the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs had a chance for three at the conclusion of the first half, but
Morgan missed a 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Murray has 102 career touchdown passes, trailing only the 114 thrown by
Florida Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel in SEC annals ... Georgia racked
up 641 total yards and held North Texas to 245 ... North Texas entered the
game leading the nation in takeaways with 11 ... The Mean Green fell to 3-34
all-time against the SEC ... Georgia improved to 50-9 against non-conference
opposition under Mark Richt, including 35-1 at home.