Georgia vs. South Carolina: Connor Shaw or Aaron Murray, Who Is Better and Why?

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Georgia vs. South Carolina: Connor Shaw or Aaron Murray, Who Is Better and Why?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, the South Carolina Gamecocks host the Georgia Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium. Connor Shaw of South Carolina and Aaron Murray of Georgia have proved to be two of the NCAA's best quarterbacks this season. The two SEC rivals go into Saturday's game undefeated. Shaw and Murray will clash to decide who is the better quarterback and which team will continue to control the SEC.

The question remains, who's better—Shaw or Murray?

Murray is the better quarterback when it comes to passing plays. He's passed for an astounding 1370 yards and 12 touchdowns. Shaw, on the other hand, has only thrown for 571 yards and five touchdowns. However, Shaw has thrown one less interception than Murray this season.

Shaw's been catching up, though. In South Carolina's last two games—a home game versus Missouri and a road game at Kentucky—Shaw has a remarkable 89.25 percent completion average.

When it comes to the running game, Shaw barely edges out Murray. Murray's rushing average is in the red. He's averaged negative-eight yards on rushing plays. Shaw's only finished one game this season with negative rushing yards.

Murray, with his sub-par rushing game this season, is going to have trouble making any significant gains on South Carolina's defense. He's managed three rushing touchdowns this season. He shouldn't be expected to rush the ball for a touchdown against the Gamecocks, though.

On paper, Murray's statistics stand out a lot more than Shaw's. However, Shaw has proven to be the more well-rounded quarterback of the two. While his passing numbers aren't as impressive as Murray's, he's proven to be more of a dual-threat.

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray making a play against Vanderbilt.

If Shaw can get his first rushing touchdown of the season against the Bulldogs, he'd definitely stand out as a more well-rounded quarterback.

Finally, Murray's passing numbers will almost certainly drop now that Georgia's star wide receiver, Michael Bennett, is out for the season with a torn ACL. With Murray's favorite receiver off the field, who knows how much longer he can continue to put up such amazing numbers?

Murray isn't the only one that will suffer from Bennett's injury. The Bulldogs as a whole will feel the loss.

With 24 receptions in five games this season, Bennett has 345 yards and four touchdowns. He will definitely be missed. Tavarres King, to name one receiver, will have to step up to fill the void.

Saturday will be a more definitive measure of whether Shaw or Murray is the better quarterback. It will be interesting to see how Murray plays without Bennett on the field. If he can come close to matching his passing numbers and better his running game to make up for Bennett's absence, he may surpass Shaw as the better quarterback.

Is that likely? Not quite.

Murray has averaged less than two yards per rushing attempt in his NCAA career and that average has been steadily dropping. Also, at 6'1" and 209 pounds, he's going to have trouble breaking through Georgia's defense.

Who's the better quarterback: Shaw or Murray?

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That said, Shaw is the better of the two. Comparing his passing and rushing capabilities to Murray's, he's a more well-rounded quarterback.

However, we'll have to wait until Saturday's game when the two share the same field to know for sure.

 

Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sports Writing Intern. To stay up to date with his WWE and NHL commentary, you can like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and follow him on Tout.


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