ORLANDO, Fla. -- As quarterbacks, as well as interview subjects, Aaron Murray and Taylor Martinez are almost polar opposites.
Murray is basically a pocket passer. Martinez depends on his legs.
Off the field, Murray is constantly smiling, sprinkling his long answers with words like tremendous and awesome and great. Martinez, by contrast, keeps his comments as short as possible, and he is almost sullen.
But the two quarterbacks who will lead their teams in the Capital One Bowl do have one statistical blemish in common.
Murray is 0-2 as a starter in bowl games. So is Martinez.
In fact, Murray has never even won a postseason game in college. His record there is 0-4. Martinez is 0-3.
So one of them will knock an albatross off Tuesday.
Murray always laughs off the issue of his play in big game, but this week he brought up the lack of a bowl win himself.
Its a fun week, the attractions and all that stuff. But like I said, I have yet to win a bowl game, Murray said. So this is an opportunity -- my third time is hopefully a charm.
Martinez, in a moment of reflection, granted that it stings him a little bit that he doesnt have a bowl win. But he doesnt consider it a grand personal failing.
I havent really thought that much about it, Martinez said. We just go out there and play. Its not really in our hands. Its a team sport, so you cant really put it in your hands.
But a lot of it will be in the quarterbacks hands Tuesday. Or perhaps the legs, in the case of Martinez.
In three years as a starter, Martinez has rushed for 2,812 yards. His running ability is a major part of a Nebraska offense that ranks eighth nationally in rushing.
Hes extremely talented, said Georgia head coach Mark Richt of Martinez. Hes been in a lot of big games. I dont know how many big games hes started in his career, but a bunch of them. So hes a veteran who can make things happen when theyre not there, so to speak. But they design a lot of things to make sure hes running the ball. Hes a very athletic runner.
Thats impressive. Thats hard to defend. And we havent had the greatest success defending those types of guys. But not many people have done a good job of defending him either.
Indeed, Georgias defense was burned several times this year by quarterbacks who could run, from the expected (South Carolinas Connor Shaw) and the unexpected (Buffalos Alex Zordich.)
So stopping Martinez will be a major thrust of Georgias plan, and its ability to do so will have a big impact on the game.
Weve faced a couple athletic quarterbacks that are gifted with speed, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones said. Hes explosive. We understand we have to execute our game plan and prepare to do our best when its game time. The coaches have been doing a great job of putting us in situations to make plays this season. We know Nebraska is very capable of going the distance on some plays.
Murray, on the other hand, began his career as a running threat. But his rushing total has gone down each of his three seasons at Georgia, and it stands at minus-71 yards this season because of sacks being included.
Murray knows that Martinez has that on him.
Im not a 4.3 guy like he is. He has some burners, Murray said. I might pull it down (and run) every now and then when I need to, but I prefer just standing there and picking it apart with my arm.
And his ability to do that could dictate the game for Georgia. While Nebraskas porous run defense in the Big Ten championship was a major reason it was routed by Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers actually rank first in the nation in pass defense. Theyre yielding just 148.2 passing yards per game.
So if Murray can lead his team to the win, that may say something.
I always prepare pretty hard for every game, Murray said. Maybe a little extra this week, I dont know.