ATHENS, Ga. —
But that was plenty of time for Murray and the high-powered Bulldogs on a day when neither defense had much success. He completed three straight passes to quickly move the Bulldogs into LSU territory, and freshman J.J. Green broke off an 18-yard run to the Tigers’ 25. Then it was Scott-Wesley, breaking wide open behind the secondary to haul in a pass and tiptoe just inside the pylon for the winning score.
“We have a long road ahead of us to get back to the top,” Mettenberger said. “We have to win out.”
Murray ran for Georgia’s other touchdown on a sneak and finished with 298 yards passing.
“We all know your quarterback has to play well to win a game like this,” Richt said. “Aaron was phenomenal, gutsy, tremendous.”
Murray and Mettenberger were in the same recruiting class at Georgia, contending for the starting job in the spring of 2010. Mettenberger, a native of nearby Watkinsville, grew up cheering for the Bulldogs and dreaming of the day he could wear the red and black.
But his actions off the field cost him his chance.
Mettenberger pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery charges after an incident in a bar and was kicked off the team. But his ties to Georgia run deep — most notably, his mother, Tammy, still works in football operations for the Bulldogs. Richt gave her the week off because of all the attention surrounding her son.
The former teammates did all that could be expected of them.
Mettenberger had three touchdowns on 23-of-37 passing, continually burning the Bulldogs on third down. He completed a 25-yard pass on Odell Beckham on third-and-22 to improbably extend an LSU drive that led to Hill’s go-ahead touchdown.
But Murray delivered the final blow.
“They are both great players,” Richt said. “It was incredible how well they played.”