34-0 means there aren’t going to be a lot of complaints. The truth of the matter is that the team’s performance was so strong and so sustained – how long have we been hoping to see a complete, 60-minute showing like that? – that it overshadowed the absence of its best player. (Not that you could tell from the broadcast crew.) Just a remarkable effort from the players and the coaches.
- Nick Chubb essentially got Gurley’s touches and his own and held up beautifully. I even saw him do a good job with some of his blitz pickups. Amazing effort from a kid in his sixth college game.
- Mason was solid. He avoided stupid mistakes, except for the throw he was flagged for intentional grounding. He had a couple of terrific throws, especially on the touchdown pass to Bennett. That may have been the ugliest touchdown run I’ve ever seen, though.
- You had to like Brendan Douglas’ tribute to Gurley on his scoring run.
- The offensive line was shaky at the start, but settled down and eventually got enough traction to take over the line of scrimmage. At this point, some of us ought to concede that whatever changes have been made to the strength and conditioning program are bearing fruit.
- Complain if you like about the average yards per play on offense. The thing is, when you double the number of plays your opponent runs, it’s not as big a deal as it might be otherwise.
- Defensively, it was the best performance of the season, obviously. The line played its collective ass off. Jenkins and Floyd both came to play. The biggest surprise was how well the secondary held up in coverage. And the biggest surprise in the secondary was Langley, both in earning the start and in the way he played. Makes you wonder why they moved him to offense.
- Special teams were a somewhat mixed bag. Coverage was terrific, as they shut down a dangerous Marcus Murphy on both kickoff and punt returns. Morgan was back to being his automatic self. (But can they please stop with the pooch kicks? It’s just giving yardage away.) McKenzie was a little sloppy with the ball, though. And more troubling is that Barber continues to be mediocre with his punting.
- One thing about McKenzie reminds me that Mizzou places a lot of emphasis on stripping the ball. Georgia was lucky not to get burned by that.
- Missouri was unable to convert a single third down play. Wow.
- Bobo and Pruitt deserve a ton of praise for putting together solid game plans. As does Richt for having his team prepared at a tough time.
Like I said, there’s very little with which to find fault. It was a workmanlike job, not flashy, but thorough. I wasn’t sure which team would show up; fortunately, we got the angry and focused one. Now it’s on to Arkansas, which presents a different set of strengths and weaknesses to deal with. Let’s hope the coaches and players don’t suffer a letdown. This team has a chance to make something big out of this season now.