Can Aaron Murray Accomplish Something Peyton Manning Never Could in 2013?

By M. Shannon Smallwood
Dale Zanine- USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to quarterbacks in the history of the SEC few have been able to accomplish what Aaron Murray has for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Despite what many Bulldog fans will tell you, Murray will go down in Georgia legend and SEC lore around the first week of December. You can officially count that as the biggest no brainier fact in the history of College Football. It has already been documented that Murray is following in the exact same footsteps of future NFL star Peyton Manning who already has a spot reserved for him in the NFL Hall of Fame.

But even though their numbers are almost exactly the same as they both decided to forgo the money and return for their senior season of football, there is a lot more to this reincarnation. It’s about a single purpose to life for both men and something that drives them to greatness. It’s their inability to take no for an answer. It’s as simple as neither can stand to be on the losing side of a battle.

And the one person behind the reason Manning returned for his senior season is the same one that kept Murray in Athens.

Steve Spurrier.

That’s right folks, the Old Ball Coach absolutely owned Manning while leading the Florida Gators. And not much has changed in his puppetry of Murray currently as the boss of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Manning finished with some good games statistically speaking throwing for over 300 yards in each game and almost 500 in one, but only once did he ever have the lead against Spurrier. Most of those yards came in trying to pull his team back in the game after three of four interceptions and against the second string defense in blowouts.

Murray has had a little bit of a different approach with his nemesis. He has found a way to grab the lead only to lose in the end a few times, but his stats are terrible to say the least. The blowout in Columbia last season was due more to the fact Murray’s head and heart was with the news of his dad’s cancer than it was with the evil genius of Spurrier. Maybe.

Here is Murray’s career stats so far against South Carolina and Spurrier:


Aaron Murray vs
9/11/2010 @South Carolina L 17-6 14 21 192 66.7 55 0 0 143.5
9/10/2011 South Carolina L 45-42 19 29 248 66.5 33 4 1 176
10/6/2012 @South Carolina L 35-7 11 31 109 35.5 27 0 1 58.6
TOTALS 0-3 44 81 549 55.9 55 4 2 126


So like Manning, Murray has the goal of finally winning the SEC Championship in his final season. Manning was able to accomplish that despite losing to Spurrier in his fourth and final try.

And you can tell in Murray’s focus right now this spring that this is on his mind. Not only does he want the title, he wants to rid his world of the demon that is Spurrier. If he does, Murray will have accomplished something Manning never could.

But only time will tell if Manning 2.0 has the programming it takes to accomplish this task.



M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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