ATHENS, Ga.— Georgia ignited its 37-10 triumph over Ole Miss with a play that is very familiar with Bulldogs fans.
Very beloved, too.
Trailing 10-0 early in the second quarter and facing a third-and-1 from their 34-yard line, the Bulldogs opted for "144-Flatback Rooskie" and produced a 66-yard touchdown strike from Aaron Murray to Marlon Brown. The play involves Murray faking a handoff and then stopping as if his job is over, but then he drops back hoping to find a receiver all alone in the secondary.
"It's definitely very nervous to have no idea what's going on behind you," Murray said. "You have to trust that the safety is going to bite and that the line is going to protect."
The play quickly evoked memories of former quarterback David Greene, who led the Bulldogs to 42 wins from 2001 to '04. Greene ran "144-Flatback Rooskie" for a 56-yard touchdown to Terrence Edwards in a '01 loss to Auburn and to Edwards again for a 65-yard score in an '02 win over Vanderbilt.
The score against Auburn was more memorable, but Greene preferred the one against the Commodores because "their safety was like a straight-A student who made a 1600 on his SAT, so I figured if we could fool this guy we could fool anybody."
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wasn't sure if the Rebels would be fooled, so he didn't rush the decision.
"We didn't blind -call it," Bobo said. "We lined up to see what they were in, and when we saw the safety down, we gave the go-ahead to run it. Marlon did a great job, and the line did a great job of selling it, so it just became a matter of not overthrowing him."
Murray didn't and easily notched his 77th career touchdown pass. He would finish with three more aerial scores to move into sixth all-time in Southeastern Conference annals, getting past Florida's Rex Grossman (77), Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen (78) and Kentucky's Andre' Woodson (79).
Eli Manning of Ole Miss is fifth with 81.
Murray finished 21-of-28 for 384 yards, and he was 13-of-15 in the second half. He was all smiles in the locker room and had plans to talk with Greene.
"I was going to text him this morning and tell him we had it in the game plan, but I didn't want to jinx it," said Murray, one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Award. "It wasn't as pretty as his, but the end result is all that matters."
Georgia has not been perfect running "144-Flatback Rooskie," which is a play Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt first saw as a graduate assistant in 1985 when Bobby Bowden installed it at Florida State. Matthew Stafford tried it in a 2007 loss to South Carolina, but the play was blown up by Gamecocks outside linebacker Eric Norwood.
"It's a good thing I didn't see that one," Murray said. "They didn't show me that one."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...