Murray leads UGA rally in final scrimmage

ATHENS, Ga. -- Manufactured or not, some last-second drama punctuated Georgia’s final preseason scrimmage.

The Bulldogs simulated the second half of their Aug. 31 opener against Clemson and Georgia coach Mark Richt gave his scout team a 28-0 lead on the regulars before play even began. Richt further helped the scout team -- or “Clemson” -- with timely free first downs and other forms of assistance, but “Georgia” rallied to cut the Clemson lead to 41-35 entering the scrimmage’s final minutes.

That’s when senior quarterback Aaron Murray -- who finished 11-for-14 for 194 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions -- re-entered the game and led Georgia on a game-winning drive of approximately 60 yards, capping it with a game-tying touchdown pass to tight end Arthur Lynch.

“Georgia had to go down the field to score and make the extra point to win the game with just a couple seconds left on the clock, so that’s what happened,” Richt said. “Georgia won 42-41 in a barnburner.”

The identity of the place-kicker who booted the game-winning extra point? That will remain anonymous, Richt said.

“I can’t tell you,” said Richt, who has not announced whether last year’s kicker, Marshall Morgan, will face a suspension following an offseason arrest. “Secret stuff.”

Nonetheless, Georgia’s coach said he was pleased with what his team accomplished in Wednesday’s practice game. The veterans’ offense showed off some balance with 17 running plays -- freshman J.J. Green rushed for 62 yards and fullback Quayvon Hicks scored two touchdowns -- and 21 passes.

Murray tossed touchdowns to Lynch, Keith Marshall and Malcolm Mitchell and 10 “Georgia” players caught at least one pass.

All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley did not carry the ball, Richt said, because “we’ve seen enough of him.”

On the defensive side, outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins and inside linebacker Ramik Wilson tied for the team lead with four tackles apiece. Jenkins had a sack and Wilson a tackle for a loss.

Freshman cornerbacks Shaq Wiggins and Brendan Langley both intercepted passes, with Wiggins returning his 17 yards for a touchdown. Both freshmen intercepted passes in last Wednesday’s scrimmage as well, with Langley returning one for a score.

“Those guys, they’re getting some reps with the varsity and making plays, which is good,” Richt said of the two freshmen in his injury-depleted secondary. “They do have good ball skills, very good hands.”

Among other notable defensive players, Josh Dawson forced a fumble, Damian Swann broke up a pass and Reggie Carter and Amarlo Herrera both had three tackles, with Herrera notching one for a three-yard loss.

Richt said the “Georgia” defense surrendered one touchdown off a legitimate drive without his assistance, but also forced “Clemson” to attempt field goals on two occasions when he gave the scout team free first downs within field-goal range.

“We got done what we wanted to get done,” Richt said. “We had a lot of live kicking situations. We had a lot of situations that we needed to see to transition from a kicking to a scrimmage play back to a kicking play. I thought we did a pretty good job, really.”

The Bulldogs will hold another scrimmage-like practice on Thursday where they will work more on kicking-game scenarios and a few other situational exercises like short-yardage and goal-line plays in preparation for the real Clemson game next Saturday.

But for the most part, Richt said the coaches have determined who will make the trip to Clemson and how those players might be utilized on Aug. 31 -- with some minor lineup tweaking still a possibility once the staff reviews tape of Wednesday’s practice game.

“We have a preliminary list, but we have to re-evaluate it here in the next day or two,” Richt said.