Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King (12) pulls in an 80-yard touchdown reception in front of Michigan State safety Isaiah Lewis (9) during the second quarter of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game Monday Jan. 2, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O'Meara)Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
TAMPA -- Tavarres King will carry a record performance into the offseason, as well as one play that could haunt him for a while.
Georgia's redshirt junior receiver racked up 205 yards on six catches in Monday's 33-30 triple-overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl, breaking the program mark of 201 set by Fred Gibson in 2001. King's single-game high this season had been 65 yards against Coastal Carolina.
"I'd rather have zero yards and the win," he said.
King and the Bulldogs likely would be celebrating a victory had there not been confusion at the 10:39 mark of the third quarter. That's when Georgia, up 16-0, let the Spartans back in the game on Darqueze Dennard's interception of Aaron Murray at the Georgia 48-yard line.
Dennard's pickoff set up a touchdown drive that got the Spartans within 16-8, and he returned an interception later in the third quarter for a score that made it 16-14.
"We came out with a lot of energy that first half and executed our game plan really good, and in the second half I don't know where that went," King said. "I remember telling the guys, 'Let's put this thing away,' and then we turned it over."
The first interception changed the complexion of the game and was the result of a miscommunication between Murray and King. Murray wasn't blaming anybody on the "scramble drill," but King accepted the responsibility.
"I'll take that one, because I took my eye off of him and he threw it," King said. "We were thinking two completely different things. I was thinking turn it up and go to the house, and he was thinking I would come back. When it happened, I was like, 'Oh, crap.'
"Looking back, I still couldn't tell you which one I would have done. I was just trying to turn it up and take it to the house, but that was a huge turning point in the game."
King had a 60-yard reception in the first quarter, an 80-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a 53-yard gain in the third quarter. His score occurred on a double move that caught the Spartans safeties trying to jump the route, and it resulted in the longest gain of his career and the longest gain for Murray.
That touchdown set a Georgia bowl record, topping a 67-yard pass from Charley Trippi to Dan Edwards in the 1947 Sugar Bowl.
"He had a big day," coach Mark Richt said of King. "We've had a lot of opportunities to get the ball to him deep, and every once in a while we would miss it or the protection would break down. Today, when we called his number, we got it to him, and I was proud for him."
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
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 ...