A weird comment to start this post: for a 35-point blowout, I thought this was a well-coached game. Drinkwitz knew he was undermanned, but instead of playing not to lose, he did the opposite and took plenty of chances, especially on defense. And it worked, at least until the final 70 seconds of the first half.
Georgia showed up, but Mizzou’s aggressiveness in the second quarter put the Dawgs on their heels. It may not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but Smart’s decision to call a time out just before the Tigers scored their second touchdown of the game turned out to be a key, as it gave the offense the time it needed to settle down and retake the lead before the half.
Bullet points, y’all.
- Take out the second quarter and the o-line played well, especially considering Hill’s absence. Missouri’s stunts and late blitzes certainly confused the middle of the line and allowed the Tigers’ defense to shut down Georgia’s offense after the Dawgs punched out to a 14-point early lead. They settled down in the second half and that was all she took for Georgia to run away with the game. Run blocking was solid enough that it made White’s long TD run and Cook’s TD run look effortless. Once the pass pro settled in, Daniels looked like a different quarterback.
- I’m still not convinced that Salyer is a left tackle, but you don’t hear his name called and he moves really, really well for his size, which is something Luke values.
- That second string offensive line looks pretty damned impressive for… well, being a second string offensive line.
- Four running backs with rushing touchdowns, two with 100+ yards rushing. Yeah, I’d say they had a terrific day. And they’re still waiting for Milton to get healthy.
- White continues to improve. I’m especially impressed with the patience he shows waiting for the blocking to develop.
- Monken looks to have solved the James Cook puzzle, amirite?
- Washington is still figuring out the position, which is a damned scary thought for SEC defenses. I thought all the tight ends blocked their asses off, which has to be most gratifying for Kirby Smart.
- George Pickens in single coverage is every bit the George Pickens we expect him to be. He’s in single coverage because other legitimate receiving options have developed and defenses have to play Monken’s offense straight.
- He only had one catch, but Kearis Jackson’s reception on third and ten on Georgia’s last drive of the first half was the play of the game. If the Dawgs don’t convert there, they’re forced to punt again and go into halftime with their confidence shaken. Instead, two plays later, Pickens makes an insane catch for a touchdown and they’re off to the races.
- JT Daniels? Yeah, he played okay. Actually, he was better than that. There were at least two throws — the touchdown pass to Cook for the second touchdown and the pass to Pickens that was Georgia’s first score of the second half — that were, well, if not perfect, good enough until perfect comes along. His reads were spot on, his timing was impeccable and the throws led the receivers just as you draw it up. You can tell he’s grown more and more comfortable running the offense with each week. Finally, if you worried about his toughness, he showed he could take a hit in the second quarter and keep going. (The aforementioned throw to Jackson came as a Mizzou defender took him down.)
- Did the return of Jordan Davis have an impact? Larry Rountree’s 14 carries for 16 yards says, why, yes, it did. Missouri ran the ball 22 times and gained a total of 22 yards. That’s how you shut down an offense in the second half.
- There weren’t a lot of sacks (one, I think), but there were a ton of tackles for loss and a few quarterback hurries that had an effect, starting with Bazelak’s early interception.
- It was one of those weird efforts where the defense was dominant, but there really wasn’t an individual defensive player who was.
- That being said, the guy on defense who stood out was Brini, who took over for Smith and played his ass off getting his first extended work at safety.
- Special teams had their first bad game of the season. Fortunately, it only had the effect of keeping the score a little bit closer than it would have been otherwise. Georgia simply looked flat footed on the blocked punt. Jackson’s whiff was uncharacteristic, but it was good that White bailed him out. All told, a forgettable day, although I expect Cochran won’t let them forget this week.
- Good work from a coaching standpoint — Monken, as Daniels noted, did an excellent job of taking what Missouri’s defense gave him and Lanning bounced back with an effort that shut down what had been an effective Missouri offense of late. And Smart deserves a lot of credit for having everyone ready to play in a game when a lackluster effort wouldn’t have been much of a surprise to us.
Georgia may not have much to play for, but they didn’t look like it this week. That’s a good sign. I’ll be curious to see what this team looks like against a Vanderbilt squad that’s in bad shape, but, to their credit, played hard against Tennessee. There is still a lot to work on, regardless of the circumstances.