UGA Escapes Missouri with Strong Second Half
UGA 30 – Mizzou 21
ATHENS, Georgia – What a game! This was a slugfest back and forth. I think this was the most physical, hardest hitting matchup of the season so far.
The Missouri Tigers gave everything UGA could possibly handle on Saturday. The game was tight until the Tigers committed two key turnovers in the 4th quarter, which allowed Georgia to seal the game. Here’s what I liked and what I didn’t from this week’s game.
What I Liked
#3 vs. #3
In a key matchup for the game, UGA put CB Kamari Lassiter on Luther Burden for many of the snaps.
It worked well, and Burden was kept in check after the first drive of the game, only getting 2 more catches. Lassiter has really developed into a shutdown corner for the Dawgs.
His stock was high going into this season, but has gone way up. Remember how teams almost always targeted Kelee Ringo last year? Yeah, that’s because Kamari was already really good. Now they don’t target him hardly at all.
New Defensive Look
UGA changed things up a good bit on defense this week which was mostly effective against the Tigers.
UGA didn’t play Star Tykee Smith as much in the slot, but opted for 3 corners instead. Despite his limited snaps, he managed 7 tackles and a huge sack.
This allowed CB Julian Humphrey to get a lot more playing time this week. He had a good showing, and is really promising at corner. Next year he could be a stud. UGA also lined up in a 3-3-5 defensive look throughout the game, which was a different look from the Dawgs. UGA also showed some personnel changes.
LB Jalon Walker had the most snaps he’s had all season, and Damon Wilson continues to get more snaps as well. Both are dangerous rushing the passer.
Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins also got more snaps this week as he continues to heal from his foot injury. So, between the formation changes, personnel changes, and match up changes, UGA played around with some interesting concepts. I think the 3 DB look could come into play again if UGA were to play say…Ohio State again.
UGA won the turnover battle 2-0 in this game, which proved to be crucial. Just when Missouri seemed to be physically taking over the game through running stretch plays with Connor Schrader, Brady Cook inexplicably threw a pass right into the chest of DL Nazir Stackhouse.
Watching a defensive lineman attempt to score is always something to behold, and Stackhouse did not disappoint on his 44 yard return. While he didn’t make it into the endzone, his return was entertaining nonetheless. Then, in desperation, Cook chucked up a deep ball at the end of the game which was overthrown and intercepted by safety Javon Bullard with his first INT on the season.
Ice in His Veins
Freshman kicker Peyton Woodring had a rocky start to the season with a couple of missed kicks early on. Since then, he has been perfect, and his 3 field goals in this game from 30, 31, and 48 yards proved to be the scoring difference in the game. The 48 yard kick to put UGA up two scores was clutch and took the pressure off of the defense.
Missouri managed a lot of 3rd and shorts. UGA did not. Missouri converted many of them, but UGA was still able to convert 3rd and long situations with enough efficiency to keep up offensively.
The Dawgs finished 6-13 on 3rd down, which is not great, but much better when you realize how far they had to go. Missouri managed 5-13 despite often having shorter looks.
UGA received some of them. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Mekhi Mews both got popped on big hits. But UGA also dealt their fair share of punishing blows.
Javon Bullard lit up a player on a deep ball yet again, and Tykee Smith’s sack seemed to rattle Connor Cook for the rest of the game. I loved the physicality of this game. Missouri is one of the few teams that can match UGA in that department, and when it happens it’s fun to watch.
What I Didn’t Like
First Down Failure
Missouri absolutely dominated UGA on first downs. The Dawgs were woefully unsuccessful moving the ball in this arena, setting up lots of 2nd and 3rd and long situations during the game. Not good,
Running Game Disparity
Missouri outgained UGA on the ground by 20 yards. Again, Georgia rarely lets that happen.
The Dawgs were able to rail off a few good runs, but for the most part were kept in check during the game. They were limited to 4 yards per carry. Missouri and Schrader found more and more success on the ground as the game went on.
Cook was the x-factor running the ball in the first half, and ended with 39 yards on 10 carries. Keep in mind the 3 sacks that pull those yards back while upping the carries. UGA has struggled to contain the edge all season and Missouri’s stretch runs ended up gashing the Dawgs. They seemed to have a handle on it in the first half, not so the second half.
Red Zone Still an Issue
Okay, Bobo called a fine game. Not great, not awful. But dang it if I didn’t see some classic Bobo stuff this game. UGA would move the ball, then get into the red zone and stall out, just as they have all year.
If the Dawgs could finish these drives, these games would not be close. Bobo seems to try to run the ball in the red zone, which has not worked well, or throw in wrinkles in the passing game, which also has not worked well.
The Dawgs must figure out this issue, especially with some likely shootouts coming in their schedule. Field goals won’t cut it.
LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson fractured his arm while making a tackle on Brady Cook. He will be out indefinitely. He isn’t great in coverage, but can stop the run and rush the passer.
With Ole Miss coming up, UGA will dearly miss this most physical and best run stopper in Pop.
Where are the Explosives?
UGA’s offense had few explosive plays this game. Nearly every attempt to make an explosive gain in the passing game failed, whether it was from Carson Beck’s inaccuracy (I think he played fine, but was definitely not his best) or from receivers failing to make plays. RaRa Thomas got targeted several times unsuccessfully, again sometimes.
Yet again this year, the UGA defense gave up a touchdown on the opening drive to the opponent. Not great. They continue to fall behind at some point in SEC games, but have so far managed to fight their way back on top. UK is the only SEC match UGA has been in where they have not trailed this season.
UGA stalled out too many drives in the first half and failed to score enough touchdowns in the red zone. They did manage 30 against the best defense they have faced this year.
Brady Cook was held well under his season averages, and while Schrader found a lot of success on the ground he didn’t get a lot of explosive runs. Brady Cook’s 19 yard run was their best of the day.