Georgia vs. South Carolina: Why Aaron Murray Will Have a Big Game on Saturday

Brian JonesContributor IOctober 4, 2012

September 22, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) rolls out on a pass play in the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 48-3. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

There are so many scenarios that can play out in the Georgia-South Carolina game on Saturday night.

The game could come down to who has the ball last. It could also come down to who has the faster start. But I think what it will come down to is which quarterback will have the better game.

This is where Aaron Murray comes in because he is on his way to having a career-year for the Bulldogs. So far this year, Murray has completed 68 percent of his passes to go along with his 1,378 yards and 12 touchdowns. Murray is also first in the SEC and third in the country in pass efficiency with 183.35.

But that is not the reason Murray will have a big game against the Gamecocks. Murray will have success on Saturday because he is a much improved player from the last time South Carolina has seen him.

Last year, Murray threw four touchdowns in the 45-42 loss against the Gamecocks, but he did turn the ball over three times. Murray has cut down on the interceptions compared to this time last year. At this point in 2011, Murray had already thrown six interceptions. This year, Murray has cut that in half with only three.

The reason that he is not making as many mistakes is the loss of the pressure he had faced from defenders, thanks in large part to the freshmen running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Both backs have rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Gurley actually leads the SEC in rushing with 536 yards and nine touchdowns.

So with the running game effective, Murray has had an easier time to make the throws downfield. That is also the reason the Bulldogs are scoring 48 points per game.

We know that Murray has not done well against ranked teams. In fact, the Bulldogs are 2-7 against ranked teams since Murray became the starter in 2010.

The reason that the Bulldogs have lost those games is the fact that the teams were either better than the Bulldogs, or Georgia wasn't playing mistake-free football.

This team is better than the 2010 and 2011 team because Murray has improved greatly each year and he is poised to have that signature win.

The Gamecoks are as good as it gets on defense and Murray will have his hands full all night. But because of the balance they have on offense, Murray can rely on Marshall and Gurley to get it going when the passing game is struggling. The same can be said about the passing game opening up the run game for the Bulldogs.

There is a lot of youth on the Bulldog offense, but Murray has become more of a leader this year which is why the team is undefeated.

Will the Bulldogs take a win at Williams-Brice stadium if Murray has a huge game? It’s not a guarantee, but if Murray does play well and the Bulldogs do win, expect the Bulldogs fans to be dreaming of sugar or orange in January.

And Murray can be dreaming of going to New York in December.