Georgia's Aaron Murray: Inside the Numbers
Of all the quarterbacks in the SEC, Aaron Murray was the consensus pre-season No. 1 signal-caller in the league. Some even went as far as naming him a dark horse Heisman candidate.
Coming off a stellar freshman campaign, Murray carried the hopes and dreams of UGA on the strength of his right arm.
But, after two straight loses, one begins to think what did we ever see in Murray? Saturday's loss to South Carolina, left thousands of fans disappointed, and certainly many skeptics pointing the finger at one No. 11.
After all, he's the quarterback; he threw the pick-six and fumbled to give South Carolina a ten-point lead. And, unlike in Week one, the offensive scheme was good and the preparation even better, as the Bulldogs accounted for 436 total yards in offense.
So what happened?
Murray led them, but his performance was overshadowed by all his mistakes.
"Too many mistakes," Murray said after the game. "It was a great game, and I definitely feel like we could have won the game. But we've got to get rid of those mistakes."
The Georgia offense committed three turnovers, but more accounted for two crucial ones that lead to two defensive scores.
Was it a rare blip in his early career? Or is this becoming a theme?
One year ago, Murray threw for 3,049 yards, completed 61.1% passes, connected for 24 touchdowns, and only tossed 8 interceptions. Those were huge numbers for Murray, who most didn't expect to start after a poor spring in 2010. However, his competition that summer, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, was kicked off the team, leaving the door wide open for Murray. And, he shined in his thirteen starts.
Did he really though?
His record wasn't impressive, he went 6-7 as a starter, and went 1-2 against UGA’s primary rivals, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia Tech; while, going a messily 3-5 in the SEC. And things haven't changed as he 0-2 this season.
But, his individual numbers state different. He has been outstanding since taking over in Athens.
However, that is not the case. If you take a closer look at his numbers in the losses, including this season two losses, Murray has gone 152 of 267 (57%) for 2,208 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. The stats are comparable to his career numbers, however he has thrown 9 of his 10 career interceptions in losses, while he has been sacked 29 times.
One would complain of poor pass protection, but if you take a closer look at Murray in the pocket, he struggles to get rid of the ball early. He often holds the ball to long and forces third-and-long situation, which he has struggled with as well. Last season the Bulldogs converted 66 of 163 (40%) on third down, and this season it has been worse 7 of 15 (28%) on third downs.
Despite his gaudy numbers Murray fails to put the Georgia’s offense in good situations. He has the talent and skill set to make all the plays, but sometimes the spotlight gets to him and he is prone to the mistake. It may be puzzling to some, but its starting to become a theme in Athens, and if he doesn’t get his act together in bigger games he will be marred as the quarterback that can make the big plays but also losses the game with the bigger mistake.
As we all know the only stats that matter are tallies in the win column and with a 6-9 career record and 0-5 record against AP top-25 opponents, Murray shows that he might not be ready to take the next step as SEC elite, nor FBS Heisman-caliber.