Bury that big-game business.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (11) celebrates with fans after Georgia defeats South Carolina 41-30 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Athens, Ga.
That dismal record against ranked teams, it never meant anything to Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, and he said it certainly didn‚Äôt worry him heading into Saturday‚Äôs game against No. 6 South Carolina.
Before, that may have sounded a little bit like denial.
Saturday night it sounded like affirmation for the senior as he did two things his detractors so often said he couldn‚Äôt do.
He beat South Carolina for the first time in four tries and knocked off a top-15 team for only the second time in his career.
‚ÄúI think he kind of put the nail in the coffin of that whole persona that he‚Äôs not a big-game quarterback, that he doesn‚Äôt thrive under pressure, that he gets flustered,‚Äù Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch said. ‚ÄúHe was damn near perfect today.‚Äù
Murray not only was on the winning side of the game, he was the architect of the team‚Äôs success. Last year, when the Georgia defeated then-No. 3 Florida 17-9, he needed some bailing out by the defense after passing for 150 yards and a touchdown to go with three interceptions.
Saturday‚Äôs game belonged to Murray as he was 17-for-23 passing for 309 yards and four touchdowns, all without an interception.
Murray and his teammates largely deflected criticism for their previous stumbles against South Carolina and others to an all-for-one, one-for-all attitude, but there was no doubt this was a statement win for the quarterback, teammates said.
‚ÄúI think it speaks volumes [about Murray],‚Äù receiver Chris Conley said. ‚ÄúAaron‚Äôs a hard worker. He‚Äôs a true signal caller. Everyone in that huddle believes in him and lets him lead. He went out there and he led this team to victory today.‚Äù
The game meant about as much to the current program, as well. After several years of disappointing starts, the Bulldogs are 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play and notched a win in a rivalry that Conley said had cast a shadow over the team‚Äôs other accomplishments. The team‚Äôs seniors, like Murray, made sure everyone understood what Saturday‚Äôs game meant, said Conley, a junior.
‚ÄúI think there was a sense that we had lost respect, not only from some teams in this league but from South Carolina,‚Äù Conley said. ‚ÄúThey wanted to go out and regain that respect. We wanted to go out and show who Georgia was.‚Äù
Murray downplayed his own role in the victory, but as the face of a team as well as its frustrations, he can crack a smile knowing he won‚Äôt be accused of playing scared ‚Äî not of Jadeveon Clowney and not of records. This one was nothing more than a good time.
‚ÄúIt was a lot of fun,‚Äù Murray said. ‚ÄúIt was definitely up there with the most fun games.‚Äù
MORE COVERAGE OF GEORGIA’S WIN OVER SOUTH CAROLINA