ORLANDO, Fla. — For each of its previous two bowl trips, Georgia left the field shrouded in the uncomfortable feelings of a season-ending loss.
While this offseason could certainly feature some big changes to its roster, it will at least begin on a high note.
A month removed from missing a berth in the BCS title game because of a narrow loss to Alabama, the sixth-ranked Bulldogs rode junior quarterback Aaron Murray's five touchdown passes to a 45-31 victory over No. 23 Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.
Murray and fellow underclassman Jarvis Jones could certainly jump to the NFL this offseason, but for one more game Bulldogs' fans got to see a championship-caliber team intact.
"Last year we went 0-2 and win 10 in a row, but we can't finish that season out. And this year we had another really good season, win the East, and we didn't win the SEC championship, but we certainly performed a lot better," Bulldogs' coach Mark Richt said. "So now we wanted to win this bowl, to just maybe prove to ourselves that we are one of the better teams in the country."
Murray's five touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, set a Georgia bowl record.
He shook off a pair of first-half interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and passed for 427 yards — also a Bulldogs' bowl record — against the nation's top-ranked passing defense. He was the game's most valuable player on the way to earning his first bowl victory at Georgia.
Georgia (12-2) also reached 12 wins for the third time in school history.
"I don't know what it's like to head into an offseason with a win," Murray said. "It's a great feeling to get a win. It's great for the seniors, who have meant so much to this team. They've done a great job of leading this team the whole season.