ATHENS, Ga. - For Aaron Murray, the best thing about Idaho State coming to town is that he will have a new last pass.
Georgia's redshirt freshman quarterback has been sensational many more times than not this year, but his season-high, 313-yard passing performance in last week's 34-31 overtime loss to Florida was sullied by his final attempt. With hopes of rallying the Bulldogs to one of their greatest comeback wins ever, Murray sailed a throw to A.J. Green over the middle that was tipped by linebacker Jelani Jenkins and intercepted by safety Will Hill.
The Gators did little with their possession in overtime but didn't have to, as Chas Henry split the uprights on a 37-yard field-goal attempt.
"It's been tough to move on from that throw, but you've got to move on from it," Murray said Tuesday. "It's football. It happens. You've got to learn from it. Hopefully, if I get put in that same situation again, I'm not going to make the same decision I did that time."
Murray, who began this season gaining a little more confidence with each passing Saturday, may have experienced as much in Jacksonville as his first eight starts combined. He admitted after the game that he was nervous in the early going, which was reflected by his first pass being intercepted and an 0-for-5 first quarter.
His second quarter contained a costly fumble - "I should have tucked the ball away and taken a sack," he said - but he was marvelous in the third and fourth quarters. Facing a 21-7 deficit at the break, Murray completed 13 of 21 second-half passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran in a two-point conversion.
Then came the overtime mistake, which led to Murray blaming himself in the interviews afterward.
"One thing about Aaron is that he's a great leader, and a great leader is going to put it on himself, so you've really got to admire that about him," coach Mark Richt said. "Was it his best game? It was not. He made a lot of great plays, but I'm sure there were some that, like in any game, you would like to have back. I was proud of his effort.
"When you watch a quarterback and there's something that happens big early on, like that pick the very first throw, it could send a guy into a really bad state of mind where you could just physically look at him and go, 'This guy is shook.' I never thought that happened in the game."
Murray ranks fifth in the SEC in efficiency, having completed 139 of 230 passes for 2,079 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Half of his interceptions came against the Gators, his first three-pick game since he was a junior at Tampa's Plant High facing Armwood High.
One statistic Murray would love to enhance is Georgia's record in close games. The Bulldogs are 4-0 this season in games that have been decided after three quarters and 0-5 in those that were in question.
"It definitely would be nice to finish off a game," he said. "We've come back from games, but we haven't had that comeback victory yet. I feel like if we change four or five plays this year, 10 at the most, it could be a totally different season from this."