If you missed Georgia vs. #2 Auburn yesterday, you missed the drama of a potential upset for the majority of the game. The Bulldogs put forth a determined and impressive effort, but true to form the Tigers’ offense lead by Cam Newton slowly overwhelmed Georgia. The 49-31 result put Auburn into the SEC championship game and two wins away from the national championship game.
The national discussion will revolve around Auburn’s ranking, Newton’s unstoppable talent, and the continued speculation surrounding Newton and his father. Unfortunately, little will be made of the performance by Georgia’s freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, a performance that in many ways was as impressive as Newton’s.
Murray, a high school All-American, in arguably the biggest game of his early college career, demonstrated the accuracy, poise, and resiliency of a junior or senior. Time and again, Murray made big plays with his agility avoiding pocket presser and with his arm, completing passes that kept Georgia’s upset hopes alive well into the fourth quarter.
Murray was 15 or 28 for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the low completion percentage is only representational of how many good decisions the freshman quarterback made, throwing the ball away instead of forcing something that wasn’t there.
Newton is a tremendous and dynamic talent on the football field. He may very well be one of the best players in college football and win the Heisman Trophy this year. Newton’s skill set and play-making ability is perfect for Auburn’s offensive scheme and makes him a great collegiate quarterback.
But all too often we witness great collegiate quarterbacks reaching the zenith of their football careers in college, with their talents not translating to the next level. Therefore I found myself captivated by Murray’s performance on Saturday…a performance which displayed the qualities and intangibles of an NFL quarterback, skills that could propel him to success beyond college.
Even though we are still a few years away from Mel Kiper running his mouth about Murray’s prospects as an NFL quarterback, don’t be surprised if Murray becomes a top draft pick and someone you heard about here first.