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After a game, most collegiate athletes have it engrained in their psyche to take the result and move on. Win or lose, give yourself 24 hours to celebrate or mourn and then move on to the next game.
But Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray just can't take that next step.
"I can't sleep at night," Murray told DawgNation. "I literally replay the entire game pretty much every night before I go to bed. It's stressful. It's a game that will probably haunt me the rest of my life, honestly."
The game Murray can't forget is the heartbreaking 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC title game on Dec. 1. Murray had a chance to lead his team to a last-second victory, but his pass to receiver Malcolm Mitchell was tipped at the 5-yard line and time ran out with the Bulldogs short of the end zone.
The loss not only cost Georgia an SEC title, but also a shot at the national championship and a BCS bowl game.
"Oh, it's a touchdown," Murray said. "It's a 50-50 ball, and the guy's facing Malcolm and Malcolm's supposed to just go up and catch the ball. It's not like the guy's facing me where he could have made a play on it. He would have had to, when Malcolm had his hands on the ball, had to strip it out of his hands. So it would have been up to Malcolm to make the play."
Perhaps Murray can't quit thinking of the play because everyone can't stop asking what might have been? When the Bulldogs got down to the Alabama 5-yard line, there was enough time to stop the clock, get organized and run a play, maybe two. However, Georgia elected to go no-huddle, let the clock run and give itself just one shot at the end zone.
The big paws of C.J. Mosley at the Alabama line thwarted that shot.
Heck, if the deflected pass, which ended up in Chris Conley's hands, had fallen to the turf, Georgia might have had time to run one final play — the play that could have won the game.
Of course, going through all the what-if scenarios is natural when you lose a game, especially when there's so much on the line. But Murray shouldn't blame himself; neither should anyone else at Georgia. It was a great defensive play and unfortunate luck.
"We're great at [the back-shoulder fade]," Murray said. "That's why I feel like if that ball wasn't tipped, there was a pretty good chance that it would have been a completion. But hey, it happens. Move on."
Hopefully Murray can move on before the Bulldogs face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.
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