JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Aaron Murray has left few SEC passing records untouched, and by the time he’s done this season, he will hold nearly every career passing record in conference history.
But Georgia’s senior quarterback -- and native Floridian -- now holds a third win over the Florida Gators following a 23-20 victory Saturday at EverBank Field. He becomes only the third quarterback in program history to beat Florida three times and is the first since Buck Belue accomplished the feat in 1981. John Rauch is the only Georgia quarterback to beat Florida four times when he did so from 1945-48.
Georgia beat Florida for the third straight year for the first time since 1987-89.
“You always say, ‘Every game is the same. Every game is the same,’ ” Murray said. “But this one is different. There’s a different feel to it. The atmosphere is different. To go out and beat these guys three years in a row, which hasn’t happened in 24 years, is just an awesome feeling.”
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Murray didn’t have his greatest statistical day, although he still passed for 258 yards and a touchdown. But he managed the game well, not making mistakes and eventually preserving the victory with an eight-minute drive to end the game.
“He’s made plays his whole career here,” receiver Rhett McGowan said. “He’s been the leader of this team for four years. He prepares and works harder than anyone in the country. He’s been everything for this program.”
Murray’s biggest drive didn’t end in any points, but it did close out the win.
He took over at his own 17-yard line with 8:17 left to play. The Gators had scored 17 unanswered points to pull within three and had plenty of momentum in a second half that saw the Bulldogs gain just one first down prior to that final 8:17.
Murray completed all three attempts on the drive, including a 7-yard pass to McGowan on third-and-7 with just less than two minutes to play in the game. The Bulldogs picked up six first downs on the drive and ran out the clock to deny the Gators a chance to tie or win the game.
Murray started the game sharp, completing 8-of-12 passes for 172 yards in the first quarter.
He read a blitz by the Florida defense on the Bulldogs’ second drive and found a wide-open Todd Gurley, who raced for a 73-yard touchdown. Murray also found tight end Arthur Lynch wide open on a similar blown coverage by the Gators for a 31-yard completion.
“He did a really good job,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “He managed it well. I’ve seen him a little earlier in his career, with his eyes a little wider.”