In 2012, Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs came oh-so-close to beating Alabama in the SEC Championship and playing for a national title. Instead, Georgia fell just short, losing 32-28 in a heartbreaking loss.
This time, though, Murray believes Georgia can take down the Tide in the national championship Monday night.
“I think it’s going to be a 17-13, 16-13 type game,” the CBS Sports Network analyst said on Reiter Than You. “It’s going to come down to a couple field goals that will win it. It’s just two good defenses. It’s going to be a very loud environment, which makes it very tricky for these offenses. Obviously I’ve got the Dawgs winning it, but it’s going to be a close one, it’s going to be an exciting one – very similar to even maybe that LSU/Alabama game in 2011 when it was 9-6. It’s going to be a defensive struggle but I think a very exciting game for everyone to watch.”
Georgia and Alabama beat Oklahoma and Clemson, respectively, on New Year’s Day, and the wins couldn’t have been more different. Georgia needed 54 points to survive the Sooners in double overtime, while Bama kept Clemson out of the end zone in a dominant 24-6 win.
Murray, though, believes Georgia’s defensive struggles had less to do with Georgia and more to do with Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.
“I think Oklahoma’s offense is just that dynamic,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see that type of offense from Alabama. They’re just not built like that. They have not been a very explosive offense this entire season. I think they’re a good offense that does a great job of not turning the ball over, playing mistake-free football, and then playing tremendous defense and letting their defense really work.”
While Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm will have a huge impact on the outcome of the game, so will punters JK Scott and Cameron Nizialek.
That’s right. The punters.
“It’s going to come down to field position,” Murray said. “It’s going to come down to playing well enough on offense to move the ball a little bit, not turn it over and seeing what punter does the best. What punter can pin the other team inside the 10-yard-line, inside the 15, and make them drive 80, 85 yards? Because when you’re facing a great defense, you’re not going to be consistently driving the field when you have to go that far. You’re going to be better when you have 50 or 60 yards to go. I think that’s going to be the recipe for success this game.”