Aaron Murray accomplished something this past Saturday, and that is beating a Top 25 as well as a Top 10 team when the Georgia Bulldogs took down the Florida Gators. That has been the major knock on the junior quarterback since his freshman season, and now that he has accomplished that, the monkey is off Murray’s back, right?
That may not be true because the next two weeks will be important for Murray and the Bulldogs.
Despite taking down Florida to take the lead in the SEC East, the Bulldogs still have to beat Ole Miss and Auburn to clinch a spot in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship. Murray did come up with the 45-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell to give the Bulldogs the win over Florida, but before that he could not do anything right as he threw three interceptions in the first half. That is something he can’t afford to do the next two weeks because that will be a letdown in one or both of those games, and then the Florida win will mean nothing.
And if Murray is able to lead the Bulldogs over Ole Miss and Auburn (which he should), they will have to face Alabama, LSU or even Mississippi State in the conference title game. In last year’s SEC title game, Murray struggled against LSU, completing 16 of his 40 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
So Murray still has a lot to prove moving forward. He has to make sure that the Bulldogs don’t lose focus and play at a high level the next four games in order to stay in the top six in the BCS rankings. And winning an SEC title is something that should be a priority, because if he does that, he will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play for the Bulldogs.
He has the numbers to make him one of the best to ever play quarterback in Athens, but ultimately a quarterback’s best stat is wins and losses. That’s the reason people loved David Greene. He was not a gunslinger like Matthew Stafford, Eric Zeier or even Murray. But he knew how to win football games, and that led to over 40 wins in his career, including an SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl victory.
Stafford and the Bulldogs had a disappointing year in 2008, but they had a stellar 2007, taking down the defending national champion Florida Gators and taking down Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.
Even D.J. Shockley will be remembered for his play, and he was a full-time starter for one year. He led the Bulldogs to an SEC title in 2005 and a Sugar Bowl appearance that same year.
Murray can accomplish what these past quarterbacks have done, but he has to play better football than he did against Florida. It will not be an easy task, but if he can win the next five games (SEC Championship included), then he has the possibility to do something that Greene, Zeier, Shockley or Stafford weren’t able to do: get to a BCS title game.
Then the monkey will be not only off his back but out of the state of Georgia.