Aaron Murray: Georgia QB Will Falter Under Weight of SEC Championship Dreams

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 3: Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs fakes a handoff to pass for a touchdown against the Ole Miss Rebels at Sanford Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Aaron Murray has never played Alabama before and he struggled mightily in the only SEC Championship appearance of his career last season.

That doesn't sound very promising for Georgia's signal-caller as the Bulldogs enter Saturday's SEC title game versus the Crimson Tide.

Murray has enjoyed a dominant season, throwing for 3,201 yards, 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. His 177.1 quarterback rating and 66.6 completion percentage are both career highs, as is the 10 yards per pass that he's currently averaging.

He's a great player, but big games are not his strong suit.

Georgia lost last year's SEC Championship 42-10, and Murray was terrible. He didn't receive much help, but going 16-of-40 for 163 yards and two interceptions doesn't inspire much optimism either way.

Adding to that, Murray has never played Alabama. He's a three-year starter for Mark Richt, but Nick Saban's bunch is different. Few defenses measure up in terms of tenacity and aggression, not to mention the exotic schemes that Saban will send his way.

Saturday's game will be unfamiliar territory for Murray. Alabama has something to prove with its weak schedule in tow, and it only has one goal in mind. Georgia has the same goal, but this is old hat for the Crimson Tide.

Murray does have a better supporting cast this year than he did last year, with dynamic freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall supporting him along with a talented defense, but the game still rests on his shoulders.

Alabama doesn't surrender traditional rushing yards all that often. LSU fared reasonably well, but the majority of Texas A&M's came via Johnny Manziel breaking containment. Murray won't be able to do that.

As good as Gurley and Marshall are, this is uncharted territory for them as well.

Earlier this season, Georgia defeated the Florida Gators. It required six Gator turnovers, but the Bulldogs were able to get the job done. However, Murray didn't play his part very well, completing 50 percent of his passes and throwing three interceptions.

Again, that doesn't bode well for his big-game credentials.

Murray has the overall experience to make Alabama think on defense, but he hasn't proven himself on the big stage yet in his career.

Saturday is a good place to start, but he won't be able to get it done. History won't repeat itself exactly, but Murray's mistakes will doom Georgia like they did last season.