The quarterbacks from the rival Southeastern Conference schools who have thrown more touchdown passes than any other players in league history got a chance to meet for the first time back in May.
Georgia‚Äôs Aaron Murray was in Atlanta for a Georgia athletics outreach program with elementary school kids. Danny Wuerffel, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida, was getting in some exercise at an adjoining YMCA.
Murray captured the moment with a photo of the two that he posted on his Twitter account.
‚ÄúWe got to say. ‚ÄòHey,‚Äô got a picture and I was able to show off to all my Bulldog friends that I knew Aaron,‚Äù Wuerffel said. ‚ÄúCongratulated him on a great career and probably wished him a great year, but probably not too great a year.‚Äù
Murray was a 6 year old living in Tampa when Wuerffel finished his Florida career with 114 touchdown passes thrown from 1993-96.
Now, Murray is three touchdown passes away from topping that and becoming the SEC‚Äôs career leader.
‚ÄúWhat a fantastic career he‚Äôs had,‚Äù Wuerffel said. ‚ÄúNot just to play so well but to play well for that many years straight and to be injury-free is really remarkable. On one hand, I‚Äôm really happy for him and then the competitive part of me, you never like to see your records get beat, but I am happy for him.‚Äù
Murray leads the SEC with 17 touchdown passes this season and has thrown at least three in each of his last five games so the record could be his sometime Saturday at Vanderbilt.
Murray came back to Georgia for his senior season to win championships after falling five yards short last year of an SEC title and a trip to the BCS title game.
Wuerffel won four SEC titles at Florida and as a senior led the Gators to their first national championship in 1996.
The national title is off the table for Murray and the Bulldogs‚Äô second loss of the season to Missouri Saturday. The SEC championship is still out there if Georgia can come out on top in the second half in the Eastern Division battle royale.
‚ÄúWe still feel like that goal is still attainable,‚Äù Murray said. ‚ÄúObviously we have to win the rest of our games. If we lose another one, you definitely can shoot that right out the window. We have to take care of business these next six games and obviously get some help from Missouri.‚Äù
Murray said he was ‚Äúpressing‚Äù and had ‚Äúmaybe a little lack of trust‚Äù on timing with a receiving corps that lost Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett to knee injuries against Tennessee in Saturday‚Äôs 41-26 loss to Missouri.
Murray threw two interceptions in a game in which he completed 25 of 45 passes for 290 yards.
Coach Mark Richt said Missouri‚Äôs zone coverage necessitated Murray to play with patience and take what the defense gave him.
‚ÄúAs you‚Äôre trying to come back, the tendency is to want to get a bigger chunk, and I think a couple of times that‚Äôs what Aaron did,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúHe tried to get a bigger chunk than he should have, and it cost us.‚Äù
Wuerffel, part of this year‚Äôs College Football Hall of Fame class, said he has heard about all the ‚Äúcrazy‚Äù injuries that have hit the Georgia offense.
He now makes his home in Decatur and in a state where Bulldog fans remember how he and the Gators torched Georgia in the mid-1990s.
Wuerffel never lost to Georgia, throwing 11 touchdown passes on teams that won by scores of 52-14, 52-17 and 47-7 in his last three seasons.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve had a hard time making good friends with Georgia fans here,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been a little slow. Maybe some of it‚Äôs my own fault for bringing up some of those scores myself.‚Äù
After college, Wuerffel went on to play six seasons in the NFL with the Saints, Packers, Bears and Redskins.
He‚Äôs now executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to transform inner-city neighborhoods in the Southeast with a Christian-based community development model.
The non-profit is involved with youth programs, churches, schools, pediactric clinics and housing initiatives.
The organization relocated to Atlanta from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina but continues to be active in working in that city. It‚Äôs now based in Grant Park in a building that Wuerffel says was a prison during the Civil War.
The Murray-Wuerffel storyline would obviously be even bigger if Murray doesn‚Äôt get the record this Saturday against in Nashville, Tenn., and breaks it against Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.
Weurffel will be part of the Georgia-Florida weekend with his third ‚ÄúDesire Cup‚Äù golf tournament on Oct. 31-Nov. 1
Former Georgia tailback and fellow Heisman winner Herschel Walker played in it last year, and this year Georgia‚Äôs Vince Dooley, Kevin Butler, Lindsay Scott and Marcus Stroud and Florida‚Äôs Emmitt Smith, Shane Matthews and Chris DiMarco are expected to be on hand.
Murray already became the SEC‚Äôs career passing yardage leader against Tennessee (he‚Äôs now at 11,915 yards) and is 30 yards away from moving by Tim Tebow of Florida (12,232 yards) as the SEC‚Äôs career total offense leader.
The touchdown record has been Wuerffel‚Äôs for 17 years, but Murray is poised to own it eventually.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an honor to be up there with guys like him, guys who have been so successful in this league, but at the end of the day it‚Äôs about winning,‚Äù Murray said, ‚Äúand I know right now we‚Äôve got to win the rest of our games and be able to try to get back to Atlanta.‚Äù