UCF won its first bowl game in school history Friday, beating Georgia 10-6 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Here’s an instant analysis from the game:
How the game was won: Georgia converted twice on fourth down on its final drive, including a 30-yard completion from Aaron Murray to Kris Durham down to the UCF 29. But Murray was sacked on second down by Bruce Miller, and two plays later, Murray’s fourth-down heave into the end zone was knocked down as time expired.
Turning point: The Bulldogs were leading 6-3 early in the fourth quarter, and neither team had been able to finish drives. But the Knights put together the only touchdown drive of the game, going 65 yards in 11 plays to take a 10-6 lead on Latavius Murray’s 10-yard touchdown run up the middle. The Knights converted twice on third down in the game-winning drive and only had three third-down conversions all game.
Player of the game: In what was almost certainly his final game in a Georgia uniform, A.J. Green had eight catches for 77 yards, but was kept out of the end zone.
Stat of the game: Georgia ended the regular season by scoring 31 or more points in its last seven games, but was limited to two field goals against UCF. It’s the second time this season the Bulldogs were held without a touchdown.
Second guessing: On its first possession of the game, Georgia drove all the way from its own 2 to the UCF 3 in 15 plays and needed less than a yard for the first down. But Georgia coach Mark Richt elected to kick the short field goal rather than go for it, and the Bulldogs managed just one more field goal the rest of the game.
What Georgia learned: As if the Bulldogs needed to be reminded, it was another sobering reminder of just how much this team underachieved this season. The roster was laden with future NFL talent, but Georgia somehow managed to finish with its first losing season (6-7) since 1996.
What it means: In short, Richt is on the kind of slippery slope from which he may not be able to recover. He’ll be back next season, but will have a hard time surviving another season where he loses four or five games. This was his first losing season, and he’s now lost 12 games in his last two seasons. Something’s obviously missing in this program. The Bulldogs are far more talented than they’ve played the last couple of years. Chances are that Richt will only get one more year to fix it.