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If it’s the end, Georgia’s Aaron Murray goes out in style

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(USA Today Sports Images)

For years, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has heard the criticisms that he can’t win the big game.

That ended after a 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

Even though the game wasn’t an SEC title game and it didn’t grant Georgia passage to the BCS, it was Murray’s biggest game because it could be his last game.

Murray, a junior, is projected to be a high draft pick and after Tuesday's win, his stock will be at an all-time high.

Murray threw for a Georgia record 427 yards and set a school bowl record with five touchdown passes in the win. And he did all of this against the nation’s top-ranked passing defense.

Two of those touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs rallied from seven-point third-quarter deficit to break the game open. He even should have had a third touchdown, but it was dropped in the end zone.

After the game, as Murray ascended stairs to collect his MVP trophy, fans chanted: “One more year.”

It was the fitting end – if it is indeed the end – to a career that has gotten better every year. Murray finished this season with 3,893 yards, 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The touchdowns and passing yards were career highs, while the interception total was the second-lowest of his career. Murray ranked second in the SEC in passing efficiency behind Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.

If the Capital One Bowl was Murray’s last game, then he can feel good about the way it ended. However, there will always be that nagging feeling about what might have been. If he stays, Georgia will once again be one of the nation’s top-ranked teams and will once again be on a collision course with Alabama likely for a spot in a BCS bowl.

But after watching what happened to USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, who decided to stay in pursuit of national titles and consequently hurt their draft stock, Murray's longterm career might be better served by leaving on this high note.

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