You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Colleges

  • NCAA president suggests system changes
    NCAA President Mark Emmert told a Senate committee Wednesday he supports “scholarships for life” and other reforms in how athletes are treated, then did such a good job of casting himself as a powerless figurehead that one senator told him:
  • NCAA urges football practice contact limits
    The NCAA is suggesting that football teams hold no more than two contact practices per week during the season in guidelines that grew out of a safety and concussion summit early this year.
  • NCAA suggests contact limits for football practice
     The NCAA is suggesting that football teams hold no more than two contact practices per week during the season in guidelines that grew out of a safety and concussion summit early this year.
Advertisement
SEC championship
Georgia vs. Alabama
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Atlanta
TV: CBS
Associated Press
Georgia’s Aaron Murray, above, and Alabama’s AJ McCarron are the two highest-rated quarterbacks in the nation this season. Each will look to lead his team to a win in the SEC championship game on Saturday.

SEC quarterbacks targeting big prize

AJ McCarron’s standard reply about handling big-game pressure is a shrug and a look that says, What’s the big deal?

It’s an attitude that has served No. 2 Alabama’s quarterback pretty well so far. McCarron and Aaron Murray, his counterpart for No. 3 Georgia, have played on plenty of huge stages with varying results and a couple of performances they wouldn’t mind forgetting.

The nation’s two top-rated passers will square off in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference title game with the winner moving on to face No. 1 Notre Dame for the national title.

McCarron has been MVP of the BCS championship game, shaken out of a second-half slump to lead the winning touchdown drive against LSU and also thrown his only two interceptions of the season in a loss to No. 9 Texas A&M. His only other career defeat came against LSU in 2011 before his superb showing in the national title rematch. Like Murray, he’s no stranger to the spotlight of big games.

“I don’t think there’s a big key in anything,” said McCarron, who’s 23-2 as a starter. “It’s another game. I think that’s what hurt us back last year in the LSU game, we tried to make the game bigger than it was. It’s just another game, just another Saturday. Go out and play, do our job, execute plays and let the chips fall where they fall.”

This game is a chance for Murray to shine against the nation’s top defense and maybe cancel out some bad memories from an otherwise sparkling career.

Murray is the nation’s highest rated quarterback – McCarron is second – and the SEC’s active leader in a number of categories, including passing yards (9,399) and touchdowns (89). He’s already passed for 3,201 yards and 30 touchdowns against seven interceptions this season and boosted his win total as a starter to 27.

A title or two would polish off the resume nicely.

The normally media-friendly Murray opted out of talking to reporters this week.

His teammates spoke for him, and talked about the comfort of having a star quarterback in games like this.

“It’s very valuable,” tight end Jay Rome said. “You have to have a quarterback who’s not only a good athlete and can throw the ball, but a quarterback who knows where to go with the ball. Whether he needs to hand it off or check to a pass or recognize blitzes, you have to have a smart guy back there. I feel like Murray is definitely that.”

Advertisement