Now in his fourth season as the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs, the biggest knock on Aaron Murray has always been his inability to win the big game. Seeing that he’s a senior, he’s running out of chances to prove he can win the big game, and Saturday’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks could be his last chance.
Some may contest the fact that Murray can’t win in important contests, but that reputation is not without merit. Murray has just one bowl win in three tries; he’s lost in both of his trips to the SEC Championship Game; and he’s lost all three meetings he’s had with South Carolina. Last week’s loss to the Clemson Tigers is the latest example of Murray being unable to win a big game that could have given the Bulldogs the inside track in the national championship race.
The big games Georgia has won over the last three seasons, which are few and far between outside of their wins over the Florida Gators the past two years, have been more despite Murray and less because of him. Murray’s had plenty of opportunities to get that big win, and he’s even played well in many of those games, but there’s always been something to derail Murray’s chances of leading Georgia to victory, whether it’s one bad throw, one turnover or not spiking the ball to stop the clock at the right time.
On the heels of last week’s loss to Clemson, this could be Murray’s last chance to get a big win. The Bulldogs have managed to win the SEC East the last two season’s despite losing to South Carolina, and they even managed to bounce back form a 0-2 start to their season in 2011, but it will be far tougher to overcome a loss to the Gamecocks and losses in their first two games this season. If Georgia loses on Saturday, games later this season against Florida and the LSU Tigers will be far less meaningful for Murray and the Bulldogs, as they will have a tough time crawling back into contention for the SEC and national championship.
If Murray can lead the Bulldogs to victory on Saturday, he’ll set up Georgia to play in more big games this season, and give himself more opportunities to prove that he can win the in big moments. However, South Carolina has had Georgia’s number, and if Murray can’t beat them now, he’ll never have a chance to beat the Gamecocks, and he may not play another game at Georgia that has championship implications. This could very well be his last chance.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.