ATHENS, Ga. (WACH/AP) -- Aaron Murray threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns, Georgia's beleaguered defense finally came up with a stop, and the 11th-ranked Bulldogs defeated No. 6 South Carolina 41-30 on Saturday for an early edge in the SEC East.
"It's great. It feels great to be ahead in the SEC East. That's a huge thing. It's been tough for three years to be hoping that [South Carolina] loses so that we can get to Atlanta, so its a great feeling to be 1-0 in the [SEC East] right now," said Murray. "We know it's a long season though and we just have to keep working."
Coming off a 38-35 loss at Clemson, Georgia could not afford another defeat if it wanted to remain a serious contender for a national title. South Carolina had also won a program-best three straight over Georgia coming in to the game.
Murray took care of things, turning in one of the best games of his career and shaking off his reputation as a quarterback who couldn't win the big game. The fifth-year senior capped his stellar day for the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 SEC) with an 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley with 13 minutes remaining.
The defense made sure it stood up, stuffing Mike Davis on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1.
Davis led the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) with 149 yards rushing on 16 carries. Davis also caught four passes for 49 yards.
"It was pretty obvious that Georgia was the stronger of the two teams out there today. They kicked our tails up and down the field, we couldn??t stop them," said coach Steve Spurrier.
Quarterback Connor Shaw, in his first start in his home state of Georgia, threw for 228 yards and a pair of scores to receiver Nick Jones. Shaw also had a critical fumble when South Carolina elected to convert on fourth down in the third quarter.
"This one stinks a little bit. It??s frustrating. I thought our offense did a good job of bouncing back from their big plays. We had a turnover, they didn??t have any turnovers," said Shaw. "It??s frustrating but the past two years we??ve beat them and they??ve gone on to play in Atlanta, so that??s the mindset we have to have going forward."
South Carolina returns to action at Williams-Brice Stadium next week when they host divisional opponent Vanderbilt.