MISSOURI FALLS SHORT TO GEORGIA 28-27
On Saturday night, the Georgia Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) defeated the Missouri Tigers (1-2, 0-1) by the final score of 28-27.
Following the loss, Coach Odom said of his team, "I owe them to get it right and win a close one like that."
Missouri did a lot right. Just not quite enough.
The Missouri defense held Nick Chubb to 63 yards on 19 carries, and forced freshman QB Jacob Eason to throw it 55 times. It was Eason's final throw, on fourth-and-ten from the 20-yard line with 1:29 remaining in the 4th quarter, when he hit Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone for McKenzie's second TD reception of the game, that provided Georgia with the margin of victory.
Georgia had led 21-20 at halftime, and Missouri had taken a 27-21 lead on their first offensive play of the second half, a 6-yard strike into the end zone from Drew Lock to J'Mon Moore with 13:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Tigers had made a defensive adjustment coming out of halftime, and Cam Hilton, who was in the game on third down as an extra defensive back, jumped underneath McKenzie's route to come up with an interception, and then returned the ball to the Georgia 6-yard line.
Drew Lock finished the night 23-38-3 (61%) for 376 yards and 3 TDs. All 3 interceptions came in the 2nd half. Both teams had lit it up before intermission, as Lock passed for 322 yards and 2 TDs in the 1st half.
Lock spread it around pretty well, as 10 different receivers had receptions for the Tigers. J'Mon Moore had a big game, as he had 8 receptions for 196 yards and 2 TDs on 13 targets. But Moore's final reception drove the nail in the coffin for Mizzou, as he fumbled the ball away near mid-field with 1:10 remaining in the game. That was Missouri's fifth turnover of the game, a statistic which in the end, explained the outcome.
Missouri played well enough to win. So did Georgia.
For much of the 4th quarter, Missouri had tried to run the football and take time off the clock. They had some 4th-quarter success on the ground, as at one point in the 4th quarter, the Tigers ran 13 consecutive running plays. But they failed to extend their lead to 2 scores.
After Drew Lock ran for a first down at midfield with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game, Missouri ran 2 successive running plays for a net 1-yard loss. Facing third and 11, Missouri ran Witter into the middle for a 1-yard gain, and then punted. I didn't like the offensive approach, which was to turn the game back over to the defense. I thought a better approach would have been to try to score, at least a field goal, to extend the lead to 2 scores.
By that point in the 2nd half, Lock had already thrown 3 interceptions, as Georgia had made defensive adjustments of their own.
Georgia took over at their own 20-yard line, and pretty quickly moved the football to the Missouri 20-yard line. They failed to move the football on their first 3 attempts from the 20. But Aarion Penton, who had moved into the slot so he could match up against McKenzie, and had effectively defended him for much of that drive, did not jam McKenzie at the line of scrimmage and was beaten from the snap, with no help over the top, as Missouri was bringing the house in an attempt to heat up the freshman QB.
Coach Odom seemed reluctant to second-guess himself, but he did admit that he "owed it to his team" to do a better job.
"We didn't make enough plays to win it, but I didn't put them in position to get it done," said Coach Odom, following his team's gut-wrenching failure. "I've got to do a better job of getting guys in position to make plays."