ATHENS, Ga. — So much for Aaron Murray’s reputation as a quarterback who can’t win the big game.

The senior took care of that with one of the best performances of his career.

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 Southeastern Conference East.

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.

Murray capped his stellar day for the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 SEC) by slipping away from South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney and connecting with Justin Scott-Wesley on an 85-yard touchdown pass with 13 minutes remaining.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Murray, who came in with a 1-6 record against Top 10 opponents. “It’s definitely up there.”

The defense made sure it stood up, stuffing Mike Davis on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1. Murray and the offense took it from there, running off the remaining 8:28.

“That was by far my favorite part of the game,” coach Mark Richt said of the final possession.

Davis led the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) with 149 yards rushing. Connor Shaw passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 75 yards, but also lost a crucial fumble in the third quarter.