TAMPA, Fla. — Tavarres King’s number had come up before, but the Georgia receiver never managed to make nearly as much out of the opportunities as he did Monday against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.
He connected with quarterback Aaron Murray on an 80-yard, second-quarter touchdown grab for his longest career catch and Murray’s longest touchdown pass, and he finished with a school- and bowl-record 205 receiving yards with his parents on hand at Raymond James Stadium.
His score might not have been enough of a cushion to prevent Michigan State from rallying in the second half, but it was more than enough to draw high praise from Georgia coach Mark Richt.
“I was thinking if we won he’d be the MVP,” Richt said of King. “He had a big day. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to get the ball to him deep, and every once in a while we missed it or the protection would break down or whatever. But today when we called his number, we got it to him and he made the plays, so I was proud for him.”
King’s 205 yards surpassed Fred Gibson’s school record of 201 set against Kentucky in 2001.
Those accolades did little to impress King, who said the record was not important when coupled with an overtime loss left to be mulled through the off-season.
“The record, that’s kind of irrelevant,” King said. “The win is the thing I’d rather have, so to me there’s no bittersweetness. It’s just bitter.”
Murray had a record day in his own right, with King to thank. The quarterback joined Eric Zeier as the only two Georgia quarterbacks to have multiple 3,000-yard seasons after entering the game with 2,861 yards and finishing with 3,149.