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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Tampa native Murray gets three-peat for UGA

JACKSONVILLE — Aaron Murray will leave Georgia with a mark that will make him one of the school’s favorite all-time quarterbacks — winning his last three starts against Florida after Saturday’s 23-20 victory.

“It’s awesome,” the Plant High graduate said. “You always say, ‘Every game is the same,’ ” Murray said. “But this one is different. There’s a different feel to it. The atmosphere is different. To go out and beat these guys three years in a row, which hasn’t happened in 24 years, is just awesome.”

Murray is the first UGA quarterback since Buck Belue in 1979-81 to beat UF three straight. Johnny Rauch (1945-48) was 4-0 against the Gators.

Georgia seemed to have the game well in hand after taking a 20-3 halftime lead. Murray found running back Todd Gurley for a short pass that turned into a 73-yard scoring play and made it 14-0.

“There were some key turnovers and things that we screwed up in the third quarter to give (the Gators) life and get them back in the game,” Murray said. “We can’t do that. Every week it seems like it comes down to the very last drive. I’m proud of our guys and we kept fighting.”

Murray, who finished 16 of 25 for 258 yards and one score, threw a pass that was ruled a lateral to help cause UGA problems and lead to a Florida comeback. But in the final drive, Murray had a clutch third-down conversion to keep the Bulldogs going and eventually run out the final eight-plus minutes of the clock.

“I wanted the ball in my hands,” Murray said. “It reminded me a little of last year (a 17-9 win finished off by another late drive) when we were up but we needed one more drive to try to wrap it up.”

Receiver Michael Bennett felt any praise Murray gets was earned.

“He’s a phenomenal leader and he played awesome today,” said Bennett, who caught five balls for 59 yards. “He put it on me every time. Before the half, he put one on me that I wasn’t expecting. He put it in my stomach but I barely caught it. I can’t say enough about him.”

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