Despite big plays all over from senior Brandon Boykin, No. 18 Georgia let a 16-0 halftime lead slip away and headed into the off-season Monday with a 33-30 loss to 12th-ranked Michigan State.
Georgia (10-4) lost bowl games in back-to-back seasons for first time since Sugar Bowl losses to end the 1981 and ’82 seasons.
The Bulldogs ended their season with two losses after opening the season 0-2.
In between, the Bulldogs put together a 10-game winning streak and won the SEC East title.
“I still think that our guys had a good year, not a great year,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.
Blair Walsh missed two field goals after regulation, including from 47 yards in the third overtime.
That kick was blocked by defensive lineman Anthony Rashad White as the Bulldogs again couldn’t knock off one of the elite teams on their schedule.
“We want to win and we want to win the big games,” third-year sophomore outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “For us to win those big games, we’ve got to prepare and we’ve got to get better.”
Quarterback Aaron Murray passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns, but had three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – playing in his hometown. His Plant High teammate Orson Charles had just a catch for 2 yards on a shovel pass.
Receiver Tavarres King set a Georgia record with 205 receiving yards on six catches and scored on an 80-yard scoring strike.
Boykin recorded a safety on a pass for minus-2 yards on Michigan State’s first offensive play, scored on a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown and on a 13-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
“It was a great ballgame,” Richt said. “I’m sure everybody enjoyed it except for us at the end. … It’s a tough pill to swallow anytime you lose a game, period. When you lose it in overtime, I guess it hurts worse. I think they all hurt pretty bad.”
Michigan State (11-3) was held to two first downs and 72 total yards in the first half.
“Down 16-0 at halftime, I had my doubts because I knew how good their defense was,” Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “We were having a hard time finding openings and I felt, ‘Boy, I don’t know if we can score 16 points to get back in this game.’ ”
Instead the Spartans put up 27 points in the second half and forced overtime with 14 seconds to play on a Le’Veon Bell 1-yard TD run.
Cousins completed 27 of 50 passes for 300 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Georgia’s defense stopped Michigan State to start overtime when safety Bacarri Rambo intercepted Cousins.
After a 2-yard run from Carlton Thomas, Murray took a 2-yard loss to try to center a Walsh field goal between the hashes.
On third down, Richt sent out Walsh, ensuring another down in case of mishandled snap. It didn’t work. Walsh missed wide right from 42 yards.
Walsh converted into the wind from 47 yards to start the second overtime, but Dan Conroy made a 35-yard field goal to go to one more extra session and then nailed a 28-yarder for the 33-30 lead.
Murray threw a pair of incompletions before William Gholston sacked him on third down.
Then Walsh missed from 47.