First, let’s get the easy part out of the way. Congrats to Missouri for a well-deserved win. The Tigers were the better prepared, better coached team. That they put the game away after they lost James Franklin says everything you need to know about which team had the better mindset on the day.
With that in mind, this was a winnable game for the Dawgs, injuries notwithstanding. But they shot themselves too many times in the foot. I wrote yesterday that “(i)f Georgia gets [consistent line play] today and avoids playing the role of generous host, I think that will be enough to overcome the injury concerns and what’s likely to be another… um, interesting day from the secondary.” It turned out the Dawgs got none of the above and lost the game as a result.
On to the bullet points.
- I was impressed with Bobo’s playcalling on Georgia’s first scoring drive. He was understandably conservative throughout the game, especially early, but I thought he made terrific use of his resources on that drive.
- Two special teams time outs. Jeebus.
- There weren’t many penalties called on the Dawgs, but it seemed like every one the defense drew was significant in terms of extending Missouri drives. I’ve already ranted about the roughing the passer call, but the two pass interference penalties on throws that wouldn’t have gotten first downs had me shaking my head. And of course the one time a pass interference penalty would have been helpful – the Sasser 40-yard TD pass to put Mizzou back up by eight – Wiggins didn’t interfere and save a touchdown.
- What has happened to Jordan Jenkins?
- The offensive line had a mixed day. There were stretches – noticeably on the first scoring drive and throughout the third quarter – when the blocking was fine. Georgia rushed for over 160 yards with two true freshmen and Georgia outgained Missouri on the day. But the line disappeared for stretches and the offense bogged down as a result. The tackles had a hard time with Missouri’s speed rushers and whiffed on a couple of blitzes. Murray as a result seemed noticeably more jittery in the second half.
- Same for the defensive line. There were four sacks and they did a decent job of handling Missouri’s running game. When the line couldn’t put up any resistance, there wasn’t anyone in the back seven who stepped up to help. The three first-half Missouri scoring drives were like watching a warm knife do its thing with butter.
- The killer play to me, though, was Mauk picking up the third-and-six on that crucial fourth quarter scoring drive. That one wasn’t on Grantham, as the defense was in position to make the play. It looked like somebody (Herrera?) simply didn’t wrap up the tackle.
- Wiggins gave up two big plays at the end and was still the better cornerback on the day. He will keep getting better and for me was the biggest ray of hope for the defense.
- I can’t say for sure how much of a toll the injuries took. They missed Matthews on defense, but the running backs were at least serviceable and there were receivers making plays. But there’s no doubt the disaster that was the last six minutes of the second quarter did take one. Georgia hadn’t played facing that kind of deficit in a long time, and while the team deserves huge props for the effort it made in the third quarter on both sides of the ball to claw back into the game, they finally ran out of gas in the emotional tank. Before the game started, Georgia didn’t have to play perfectly to win, but once the second half started, it did. That’s asking an awful lot out of a team missing key players.
- But didn’t you just know that Georgia was going to tie the game after the missed extra point? I did.
- Of course, that feeling dissipated a few minutes later with Aaron Murray’s interception. Sigh.
- Ray Drew is living up to his recruiting hype.
- How many missed tackles were there on that Josey touchdown run? I lost count after three.
- Against Tennessee, a Georgia defender jumps at the line of scrimmage and makes a UT lineman flinch. Penalty, Georgia. Yesterday, a Missouri defender jumps at the line of scrimmage and makes a Georgia lineman flinch. Penalty, Georgia. At least the refs are consistent.
- Can’t get too upset with Douglas for his fumble. Yeah, everyone says don’t try to stay up and keep fighting in that situation. But that’s easier said that done for a freshman back giving his all on a crucial drive. (By the way, I hope Bobo doesn’t have too many more calls for Douglas running east-west, as it’s not something he’s built for.)
- On the other hand, the missed block that led to the sack and touchdown was inexcusable.
- I wonder if the game would have gone differently if Wooten doesn’t go down on that shoestring tackle.
No, it’s not the end of the world, at least if the team doesn’t get down on itself. Missouri’s schedule gets increasingly difficult the rest of the way and you’ve got to think losing Franklin for at least a few of those games won’t help. Georgia still holds the tiebreaker over South Carolina. The season, as we all sort of suspected, will come down to Jacksonville, most likely, and that’s looking like a meeting of two flawed teams. If the Dawgs can get by Vandy – and it’s not as if the Commodores have played like world beaters – there’s a well-timed bye week and a good chance that several key players will be back from injuries in time for the Gators.
The secondary is a gaping wound, of course, and the primary reason we’ll be on edge for the rest of the year, Appy State excepted. The good thing is that there isn’t another top flight passing attack left to face in the regular season. The bad thing is that’s what we thought about Tennessee. This team needs to recognize that it has to play week in and week out with little margin for error. Because there really isn’t any.