Aaron Murray was asked at Tuesday’s press gathering about what it feels like to be on the verge of becoming only the second-ever SEC quarterback to throw 100 touchdown passes.
Murray has 99 TD throws going into Saturday’s North Texas game. Florida’s Danny Wuerfel threw 114 during his time with the Gators, and chances are that’s another record Murray is going to take this season.
“It’s definitely been a successful three years and two games thus far,” the Bulldog quarterback said, “but hopefully there will be a lot more to come. That would be great.”
No. 11 remembers his first touchdown pass at UGA: a “little back-shoulder fade” to Kris Durham against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4, 2010. As he noted, “that was a while ago.”
Does he have a favorite among his 99 touchdown passes? “Not really,” he said, but then he came up with one anyway: “I had one to Orson Charles vs. Georgia Tech my freshman year. That was just a big game for us because we had to win to make it to a bowl game. I just remember rolling to the left and throwing it to him. He ran a little in route and broke it back out, so that was pretty sweet.”
Yes, it was. But when I thought back over Murray’s career to try to come up with my favorite of his TD strikes, that wasn’t one of the front runners.
I think my favorite is the clutch 45-yarder to Malcolm Mitchell in last season’s 17-9 win over Florida. True, Mitchell is due a lot of the credit on that play for his run after the catch, but the circumstances made it an even bigger play for Murray. After a horrible first half in which he threw three interceptions, the pressure was on the Georgia QB. And he showed he can indeed be a big-game quarterback with that toss to Mitchell.
Tied for a close second place in my Murray TD pantheon are the two fourth-down touchdown passes against the Gators in 2011 to Michael Bennett and Tavarres King. Both admittedly were great catches, but Murray put the ball exactly where it needed to be. My son said he might go with those two scores as his favorite because they were difficult passes and they broke the losing streak to Florida.
Another favorite is the 40-yard pass against Ole Miss last season when it was 3rd and 25 and Murray was forced out of the pocket and rolled out to his right and threw to King with 3 seconds left in the first half to put Georgia up 14-10. That’s a definite highlight reel play and maybe Murray’s most athletic touchdown pass.
Then there’s the beautiful play to Chris Conley against Nebraska in the bowl game, though that was a relatively short pass that Conley turned into an 87-yard score. Actually, most of the credit on that one must go to Mike Bobo for a terrific play call.
And while it was a memorable one, the TD pass to A.J. Green against Colorado in 2010 was really more a result of a one-handed circus catch by the receiver than an awesome throw by Murray.
On the other hand, while Bennett made a fantastic catch on the 27-yard scoring pass against Auburn in 2011, it was a perfect throw by Murray. Another classic.
And, most recently, even Murray bashers had to be impressed with the 85-yard scoring pass against South Carolina to Justin Scott-Wesley, where the quarterback rolled out under heavy pressure and found the speedster in another huge win that broke a three-game losing streak to an SEC East rival.
And that’s just scratching the surface. It’s like trying to pick a favorite win over Georgia Tech … there are so many to choose from!
Is your favorite Murray touchdown pass one of those? Or do you have special memories of one of the 89 others? Feel free to share your thoughts.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg