ATHENS -- Moments after the first catch of his college career, and the longest pass in Georgia’s program’s history, Reggie Davis looked into the crowd. Even in a sea of people, he could see his mother and father.
“You can see my Dad anywhere,” Davis said. “Once he gets happy, he’s the main one you’ll see out of everywhere.”
And he was very happy. His son needed just one play to put himself in the record books.
It was a 98-yard pass between Davis, a freshman receiver, and Aaron Murray, beating by 5 yards the previous longest completion in Georgia history. Goodbye, Buck Belue and Lindsay Scott, hello Murray and Davis.
“I knew it was long, but I didn’t know it was that long,” Davis said. “I wasn’t paying attention to it, I was just worrying about catching the ball. And I was happy because once I scored, I saw my dad and my mom jumping like crazy.”
The play was notable for another reason. It was the 100th career touchdown pass for Murray, who added two more later and is now 12 away from the SEC record.
In the locker room after the game, head coach Mark Richt overheard Davis saying he was “honored” to be the one to catch Murray’s 100th touchdown.
“It was kind of neat to just hear him say that,” Richt said. “Here’s a freshman who’s just starting out, and Murray’s been here forever, and those guys hook up on a big play.”
It happened on the first play of the second quarter Saturday in Georgia’s win over North Texas, after a punt had pinned Georgia at its own 2. Up in the press box, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo decided to try to catch the defense napping, and it worked. Murray hurled the ball downfield, and a streaking Davis caught it just before midfield.
There was a defender on him, but Davis, one of the fastest players on the team, made it no contest.
“I threw it just pretty much as hard as I can, because he’s so fast, you’ve just gotta launch it out there and trust that he’s gonna run under it and make a play,” Murray said.
“I was on the sideline looking, and the next thing you know they said, ‘Put Reggie in,’ ” Davis said. “They called the play, and my main focus was catching the ball. Once the safety or corner dove for me, and I knew that he missed, I knew once I got running, I was gonna be out of there.”
Davis was one of the revelations of preseason preactice, gaining notice for big plays in practice and scrimmages. But on a team loaded with receivers, Davis struggled to see the field and was only on the field a few times in Georgia’s first two games.
But the third game was his breakout performance. He added a 36-yard catch in the second half, which Bobo only half-kiddingly said should also have been a touchdown.
“I was praying for him on that first one, just catch the ball,” junior receiver Chris Conley said. “He gets really excited. He’s a little firecracker. But he’s got great speed, and he catches the ball really well.”
Still, it was evident Davis made quite a positive impression Saturday.
“We’ve gotta play more guys at receiver, and he’s a guy that we wanted to get in there. He did a nice job of making the most of his opportunity,” Bobo said. “I think we intended two passes for him, and he caught both of them. Just really did a nice job. He’s gotta continue to work get better, but he’s a guy that’s gonna play for us this year and will continue to make plays.”