November 13, 2011

Murray passes Stafford



Although he just broke one of the school's more prestigious offensive records, quarterback Aaron Murray preferred to offer his own bouquets.

With his four touchdown passes in No. 14 Georgia's 45-7 win over No. 24 Auburn, Murray set a new Bulldog single-season record , a mark that now stands at 27 with two regular season-games yet to go.

"Our receivers deserve the credit. They're young, but they've put in the time and making unbelievable plays," Murray said. "Coach (Mike) Bobo has done a great job all year of really spreading the ball out. It's hard for defenses to come out and say 'Hey, we need to stop this guy or that guy.' You need to worry about every one with us. It definitely makes my job a lot easier when I can use the whole field."

But fullback Bruce Figgins said don't let Murray fool you.

After completing 14 of 18 passes for 224 yards against the Tigers, Murray assured himself that he'll remain atop the SEC ranking for passing efficiency for the second straight week.

"He's playing great. I don't think we could ask of any more from him right now," Figgins said. "He's one of the toughest players we have and he prepares himself well each week in the film room and in practice. We've got the utmost confidence in him that he's going to lead this team."

Murray is certainly on a roll.

After throwing for five touchdowns in the first half of last week's 63-16 wipeout of New Mexico State, all four of Murray's touchdowns against Auburn came in the first half as well.

Murray started the scoring spurt with an 8-yard strike to Tavarres King. King now has the team lead with six scoring catches. Murray's second touchdown was a diving 27-yard catch by Michael Bennett, a career-long for the redshirt freshman. Figgins hauled in the third touchdown catch of the day, his first of the year before Murray hooked up with Malcolm Mitchell for a 25-yard score with five minutes left in the first half.

Mitchell, who sat out the last three games with a hamstring injury, finished with three catches for 85 yards.

"He's playing really good right now," head coach Mark Richt said. "His quarterback ratio is obviously through the roof. He's just playing really good. I can't think of anything right now that I'm concerned with. I just hope he keeps doing it."

Murray, who has been criticized at times this year for what's been perceived as an issue throwing the deep ball, completing four passes of 25 yards or longer, including throws of 35 yards to King and 44 yards to Mitchell.

Both long passes to King and Mitchell on plays were the pair ran their route, stopped, then come back to make wide-open grabs.

"That was just based on their coverage," Murray said. "They (Auburn) tried to get on top of our receivers and I just tried to make that back-shoulder throw. They guys made some big plays."

His four touchdowns also gave him 51, tying Stafford's career total.

He's also doing an excellent job of spreading the ball around.

Of Georgia's last 15 touchdowns going back to the victory over New Mexico State, 12 different offensive players have scored, with Bacarri Rambo's Pick-6 and Bennett's two touchdowns in each of the past two games the only exceptions.

"That's what has given defenses so many problems because Coach Bobo has done a great job because you really don't know who's going to get the ball," Murray said. "It's a great feeling but it's a team thing. M receivers all year have done a great job, receivers, tight ends, running backs, fullbacks, everybody. It's a team effort, everyone is making plays and that's why we're being successful right now. We just hope to keep it up."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.