Dawgs Daily History: Mount Rushmore of QBs

Georgia football has a rich tradition of fielding great quarterbacks, but there are four that stand out in the program's history.
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Who is the greatest quarterback in Georgia football history? That debate could last forever and there's a strong case for numerous players. 

We'll put that debate aside and instead champion four passers on the Mount Rushmore of Georgia football quarterbacks

Aaron Murray, 2010-13

Perhaps no quarterback in school history elevated his team more than Murray. During his four years, Murray played with mediocre defenses and incomplete, injury-prone offenses. Yet, he remained a reliable leader of Georgia's offense.

Murray always seemed to have a timely big play up his sleeve. He became a master of the back-shoulder fade, using it as a weapon to torch defenses. As a scrambler, Murray had a nose for the first-down marker, almost guaranteeing the Bulldogs a new set of downs every time he left the pocket.

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David Greene, 2001-04

Greene ushered in a new era for Georgia football on the 6-yard line of Neyland Stadium in 2001. With only 10 seconds on the clock, Greene faked a handoff and turned to find Verron Haynes wide open in the Tennessee end zone. The famous "Hobnail Boot" play resulted in Georgia upsetting Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1980.

From that point on, the mediocrity of the Ray Goff and Jim Donnan years were over. Greene kept Georgia in the national title conversation throughout the rest of his time in Athens. 

Greene's hallmark was ball security. He threw an interception on just 2.22 percent of his 1,440 career attempts. During the 2002-03 seasons, he threw 176 consecutive passes without an interception. Then in 2004, Greene had a streak of 214 passes without an interception. Greene rarely put Georgia in a bad spot.

Eric Zeier, 1991-94

If Greene ushered in a new era for Georgia football, Zeier brought the Bulldogs into a new era of college football. In the late 1980s, the passing game was taking over. The spread wasn't yet the dominant offense, but most successful college teams were running their version of NFL offenses engineered by Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs.

Zeier was Georgia's answer to this evolution. In 1991, he became only the fourth quarterback in school history to attempt 200 passes in one season. Then in 1993, Zeier was the first Bulldogs passer to attempt over 400 passes in a season. He also was Georgia's first 2,000-yard and 3,000-yard passer.

Though Zeier doesn't have the wins to show for it, he was a truly great passer at Georgia. The Bulldogs offense regularly exceeded 30 points with Zeier at quarterback (before up-tempo offenses). More often than not, those touchdowns came from his arm. His 67 career touchdown passes obliterated the school record at the time.

John Rauch, 1945-48

Rauch is the George Washington of Georgia's Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks. Rauch was Georgia's first quarterback in a traditional sense. Before he joined the team in 1945, the Bulldogs ran a single-wing offense that saw snaps go to the halfback and fullback. After World War II, head coach Wally Butts switched to the T-formation and put the freshman Rauch under center.

Rauch's numbers don't look impressive today, but at the time his passing stats were elite. In fact, his 4,044 career passing yards were a college football record at the time. He added 35 touchdowns to his totals and a solid 51.5 completion percentage.

Rauch didn't just pad stats; he produced a 33-8-1 record as the starting quarterback. In 1946, Rauch led Georgia to an 11-0 record, an SEC championship and a share of the national championship. In 1948, Georgia won the SEC title again with Rauch under center. He earned All-America honors that year.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jake Fromm, 2017-19
  • Matthew Stafford, 2006-08
  • Mike Bobo, 1994-97
  • Buck Belue, 1978-81
  • Larry Rakestraw, 1961-63
  • Fran Tarkenton, 1958-59
  • Zeke Bratkowski, 1951-53

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