Georgia defense ekes out win over Mizzou despite offensive woes
The Georgia Bulldogs pulled out a late 9-6 win in Week 7 over Missouri in what was the textbook definition of a “defensive struggle.”
The victory keeps Georgia alive in the SEC East and sets up what could amount to a winner-take-all showdown in Week 9 between the Bulldogs and division leader Florida, which fell to LSU. The Bulldogs’ offense struggled against a tough Tiger defense, but, in the end, Mark Richt’s squad proved to be the better team on Saturday.
1. Defensive Struggle: The Georgia defense survived Mizzou despite the absence of OLB Jordan Jenkins (hip flexor) for the entire game and SS Dominick Sanders, for the second half after officials ejected the sophomore for targeting — one of three targeting calls in the SEC this week. The Bulldogs defense held Mizzou to 164 total yards (21 rushing) and sacked Drew Lock four times. But being without one of their top defensive backs (1 tackle, .5 TFL vs. Tigers) in the first half of their Week 9 contest against Florida will certainly be felt. Even without Jenkins and Sanders, the numbers were impressive. Georgia held Missouri to 37 total yards in the second half and to minus-1 yards rushing in the first half. The defense set the tone right away, holding Mizzou to a field goal after the Tigers’ opening drive started at the UGA 1-yard line.
2. Offense’s Struggles: The Georgia offense continues to struggle. A lot of credit belongs to the Missouri defense, but Greyson Lambert and the Bulldogs struggled mightily at times to move the ball. Lambert (178 yards, INT) was inconsistent as Georgia won despite not scoring a touchdown for the first time since beating Kentucky 12-3 in 1995.
3. Brotherly Love: Former Georgia teammate Todd Gurley was a welcome sight on the Bulldog sidelines watching the game with injured tailback Nick Chubb. Gurley can empathize, having missed seven games last season for Georgia with a torn ACL. Luckily for Gurley — who has rushed for 314 yards as a rookie — the Rams just happened to be on a bye the week of homecoming in Athens.
4. New Guy On The Block: Bulldog Nation got acquainted with Terry Godwin during Week 7. The freshman wideout caught six passes for a career-high 78 yards against Missouri. With new starting running back Sony Michel getting less punt return chances, Godwin stepped up with the first three returns of his career. The Hogansville, Ga., native finished with 49 yards on special teams for 127 all-purpose yards in the win.
5. Just Kicking It: Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett became the Tigers’ all-time leader in field goals (60) passing Jeff Wolfert with makes of 20 and 24 yards and closed with 29 points for first on Mizzou’s all-time scoring list. But the senior was out-kicked, however, by Georgia’s Marshall Morgan, who hit the game-winning 34-yarder with 1:44 to play. Morgan, was three of four on his attempts, but the miss from 26-yards was a big one with 5:40 to play in a tie game. The senior redeemed himself with the game-winner, even though if he’d missed, things still would have been OK with him and head coach Mark Richt.
“Mark Richt tells kicker “I love you no matter what happens” before game winning kick https://t.co/kADEFVWVkd
— Don Knight (@Don_Knight) October 18, 2015
Offense: C – Sony Michel earned 100 yards of total offense, but the Bulldogs failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time since losing to Central Florida in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. Scoring three points in the first half for the second-straight week isn’t all that appealing, either.
Defense: A – Georgia held Mizzou to 164 yards of defense, without OLB Jordan Jenkins and SS Dominick Sanders.
Special Teams: A- – Marshall Morgan’s missed potential game-winner is the lone blip for a unit that was strong all night. Malcolm Mitchell, filling in for the injured Reggie Davis, was able to force a critical fumble on a punt team coverage, which led to the Morgan’s eventual game-tying field goal. Punter Collin Barber placed three of his five punts inside the Missouri 20-yard line.
Coaching: B – There were some curious calls by Richt where he was too conservative in situations where he should have been aggressive (fourth-and-1s) and a little risqué in times where he should have played it safe (failed onside kick in the second quarter). All told, the Bulldogs got the win and that’s all that counts.
Overall: B+ — Georgia would like to produce more on offense, but gets the benefit of the doubt for pulling out the win against a staunch Missouri defense. The Bulldogs live to fight another week.
Mark Richt was practically daring Gary Pinkel to beat him with the Tigers’ abysmal offense. And it paid off as Mizzou barely moved the ball in the second half. Georgia played the field position game most of the night and simply wore down Missouri. Richt’s squad ran 77 plays to Mizzou’s 48 and held onto the ball for 18 more minutes.
Richt said when he saw Coach Pinkel after the game “he looked pretty tired.” …Richt said he did too. — Anthony Dasher (@AnthonyDasher1) October 18, 2015
- Sony Michel, So., RB – 100 all-purpose yards, 87 rushing, 13 receiving
- Marshall Morgan, Sr. PK – GW field-goal (34 yards), 3 of 4 (29, 24 and 34), all 9 UGA points
- Terry Godwin, Fr., WR – 127 all-purpose yards, 78 receiving yards, 49 punt return yards
- RB Sony Michel went to locker room in first quarter with a hip bruise, but was able to return to the game.
- Freshman Trenton Thompson hobbled off the field, but was also able to return to action after being taped up and not in any obvious pain. The starting defensive tackle finished with 2 tackles for the evening.
Up next is a bye week for Georgia, who could certainly use two weeks of rest to get healthy.