The 100th touchdown pass of Aaron Murray’s college career also was notable — maybe even more notable — for two other reasons.
It was the longest touchdown pass in the University of Georgia’s 121-year football history, a 98-yard catch-and-run spectacle. And it was the first catch of freshman wide receiver Reggie Davis’ college career, a stirring introduction to the Bulldog Nation.
“Oh, that was awesome,” Murray said. “I was hoping we’d call that play down at the goal line.”
The pass came on the first play of the second quarter of Georgia’s 45-21 victory over North Texas at Sanford Stadium, after the Mean Green closed the first quarter by backing the Bulldogs up to their 2-yard line with a 61-yard punt.
Murray hit Davis over the middle around Georgia’s 40-yard line. Davis blew past a North Texas cornerback, who was left on the ground after diving futilely. Then Davis sprinted the remaining yards to the end zone, showing off the speed that made him a high school track star in Tallahassee, Fla.
Being part of the longest offensive play from scrimmage in UGA history tested his nerves, Davis said.
“I couldn’t show it, but I was shaking bad,” he said. “A touchdown on my first catch, that’s crazy.
“Congratulations to Aaron,” Davis added. “It was just an honor for me to catch his 100th touchdown.”
Murray became the second player in SEC history — and the 16th in NCAA major-college history — to reach 100 touchdown passes. After throwing two more touchdown passes, 101st and 102nd of his career, later in Saturday’s game, Murray stands 12 short of former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel’s SEC career record of 114.
The NCAA major-college record of 155 is held by former Houston quarterback Case Keenum. If Murray throws as many touchdown passes this season as he did last season, he would rise to No. 4 on the NCAA major-college list by career’s end.
The Murray-to-Davis touchdown was 5 yards longer than the previous longest TD pass in UGA history, surpassing a trio of 93-yard plays: David Greene to Tyson Browning at LSU in 2003, Greg Talley to Kevin Maxwell at Vanderbilt in 1989 and, most famously, Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott against Florida in Jacksonville in 1980. The previous longest touchdown pass in Sanford Stadium was a 92-yarder from Kirby Moore to Randy Wheeler against Auburn in 1965.
Murray set another record later in Saturday’s game, breaking Greene’s UGA career record for total offense. With 408 yards passing and 37 yards rushing against North Texas, Murray has 11,352 yards in total offense for his career, surpassing Greene’s 11,270 in 2001-04.
“It’s cool,” Murray said of his record-breaking day.