The last Georgia quarterback to win three in a row against Florida was Buck Belue.
That stretch was from 1979 to 1981.
Quarterback Aaron Murray, who is 2-1 against the Gators, has a chance to pull off that feat starting today at 3:30 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla.
But he said he’s not really thinking about another spot in Georgia football history that he could claim.
“I guess when I’m old and want to brag, I can, but right now it’s all about the team,” Murray said. “It’s all about getting this win and I guess I can talk about this later in life when I’m done playing and all and I look back.”
The Tampa, Fla., native hasn’t had the best outings against the flagship program of his home state despite his two wins. Murray has broken the 200-yard passing mark just once in three tries against the Gators when he threw for 313 yards in Georgia’s 34-31 overtime loss in 2010. The four-year starter has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six) against the Gators while completing 60 percent of his passes for 632 total yards.
Murray said he doesn’t get any more hyped up to face Florida than he does any other team, though his stat lines may tell a different story.
“If I do, it’s very minimal,” Murray said. “Just got to treat it like any other game and go out there, have fun, execute, prepare like I always prepare during the week to make sure I know what I’m doing.”
Not only does today mark Murray’s last dance with Florida, it is also the second time since 1979 that the teams have both been unranked for their bout on the bank of the St. Johns River. The last time was 2010 — Murray’s first year as a starter.
“If you can’t get excited about playing Florida in that venue, you shouldn’t be a Bulldog. Period,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team enters today’s game at 4-3 overall and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference play. “I think we all understand that.”
Will Muschamp’s Gators come into Jacksonville with the same record and though it’s not the No. 3 vs. No. 12 matchup it was last year, both teams are playing to keep alive fading hope of making it to the SEC championship game.
“I think for us, it’s just the fact that … there is a little bit of hope in the grand scheme of things,” tight end Arthur Lynch said. “Obviously, there is a lot that needs to happen for us to be where we want to be at the end of the year…. In the SEC east, these past couple of years especially, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Both teams have been ravaged by injuries — Florida has lost eight starters to season-ending injuries and Georgia lost wide receivers – Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley – and tailback Keith Marshall to ACL injuries. But Georgia’s star tailback, Todd Gurley, who, despite missing the last three games, still leads the Bulldogs in rushing yards with 450. Receiver Michael Bennett is back in the lineup after missing a couple games with a knee injury, though receiver Chris Conley will be sidelined with an ankle sprain.
Georgia will be tasked with moving the ball against a Florida defense that’s been allowing just 100 yards rushing per game.
“They got a lot of experience in their secondary, a lot of familiar faces for us,” receiver Rhett McGowan said. “We know what they’re capable of and they’re very good. They’re talented. They play with a lot of confidence as all Florida teams do.”
Richt said his Bulldogs and Muschamp’s Gators are in the same boat, despite being unranked, for the rest of the season.
“I think we still have three or four more SEC games, and anything can happen,” Richt said. “Obviously we have to do our part, and I know Florida’s thinking the very same thing. I think both of us, like I said early on, are just fighting like mad to stay in the race. With another loss, I don’t know if mathematically or not it knocks us out, but it’d be pretty tough.”