ATHENS, Ga. -- About 30 minutes after No. 9 Georgia finished off No. 6 LSU in a 44-41 victory at Sanford Stadium, and just a short time after Bulldogs coach Mark Richt made a victory lap around the field and quarterback Aaron Murray high-fived about every other fan in the student section, UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo searched aimlessly in the stadium's bowels.
For several minutes, Bobo looked for LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, his former pupil, who nearly ripped out Georgia's hearts and ended its hopes of playing for a BCS national championship before October.
"Did you see the quarterback play in this game?" Bobo asked a reporter. "It was ridiculous. I'm about to collapse."
For nearly four hours on Saturday, Mettenberger and Murray went nose-to-nose against each other, just like they had during their battle for UGA's starting job in the spring of 2010. Every time Murray or Mettenberger inched his team ahead in the critical SEC contest, the other quarterback answered -- until the Georgia defense finally made a stop at the end.
"Everybody knew it was going to be a shootout," UGA tight end Arthur Lynch said. "You've got to give Zach some credit. He came into a hostile environment and threw it all over the place."
But as good as Mettenberger looked on Saturday, Murray was just as good, if not better. In fact, the quarterback who couldn't win the big one won two big ones in the first month of the season. Sure, UGA lost at Clemson 38-35 in its Aug. 31 opener, but what other FBS team defeated two top-10 opponents -- then-No. 6 South Carolina and LSU -- in the first five weeks of the season?
"It's not [about] me," Murray said. "It's the team. I think we've proved to the nation that this is a tough team and a resilient team. The loss at Clemson was obviously tough, but I think we grew up from that loss and got better."
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