Key play: Missouri defensive end Michael Sam sacked Aaron Murray for an 8-yard loss on third-and-12, but the drive-stopper was negated by an offside penalty. The Tigers were guilty of three offside penalties (one was declined) and a pass interference on Georgia’s only scoring drive of the quarter.
Key stat: Missouri was zero for two on third down in the quarter, but never got to a third down on its game-tying touchdown drive.
Key play: No sooner had Georgia pulled within 14-10, Marcus Murphy capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a spectacular 36-yard touchdown run. Murphy turned up field off right tackle on third-and-5 before leaving Bulldogs safety flailing on a cutback.
Key stat: Two forced fumbles. The first, which Shane Ray forced with a vicious sack against Aaron Murray, was scooped up for a 21-yard touchdown by Michael Sam. Lucas Vincent’s forced fumble in the closing minutes, which was recovered by Markus Golden, stopped a Bulldogs drive inside the Tigers’ 10.
Key play: Georgia freshman J.J. Green’s 57-yard run on the second play after halftime reinvigorated a crowd that hadn’t had much to cheer from up to that point and set up a field goal as the Bulldogs’ comeback bid began.
Key stat: Through the first three quarters, Missouri had seven penalties and all of them were on the defense, including four offsides and three pass interference. Two of those penalties came on Georgia’s touchdown drive late in the third quarter, which made it a one-score game again.
Key play: Three plays after quarterback James Franklin left the game, Missouri dug into its bag of tricks and pulled out a 40-yard touchdown from junior wide receiver Bud Sasser to senior wide receiver L’Damian Washington.
Key stat: Backup quarterback Maty Mauk was three for three for 23 yards and also had three carries for 12 yards rushing in his 10:35 of action.
Player of the game: Let’s give it to L’Damian Washington. His leadership has been instrumental throughout the season and it was again Saturday. He finished with seven catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns, including a contested 40-yard jump ball from Bud Sasser.
Reason to hope: Hey, Missouri is 6-0 and beat a very good Georgia team, which still had quarterback Aaron Murray at the height of his powers, on the road. The Tigers knuckled up rather than knuckle under in the face of a seething horde of 92,000 with a backup quarterback in the fourth quarter.
Reason to mope: Missouri lost its best player on offense when quarterback James Franklin left in the fourth quarter because of a separated shoulder, as well as perhaps its best player on defense when cornerback E.J. Gaines left the game because of a right quad strain and didn’t return.
Looking ahead: Franklin is expected to miss at least two weeks, leaving redshirt freshman Maty Mauk to duel Florida and South Carolina. The Gators bring one of the nation’s best defenses to Columbia next Saturday.
Tod Palmer, email@example.com
|B+||Offense||It took a few drives to settle in, but Missouri scored touchdowns on three straight drives spanning the first and second quarters in building a 28-10 halftime lead. Of course, the offense also sputtered in the third quarter, managing only 35 yards as Georgia rallied. The Tigers managed only 375 yards but didn’t turn the ball over either.|
|A-||Defense||Anytime the defense scores, it’s a good day. Shane Ray’s sack/strip and Michael Sam’s 21-yard fumble recovery helped build a big halftime lead. Missouri gave up 454 yards, but Georgia needed 76 plays to get there (a 5.97 per-play average). Missouri also forced four turnovers and kept Aaron Murray below 300 yards despite losing cornerback E.J. Gaines.|
|B-||Special teams||Kicker Andrew Baggett continued to pound kickoffs into the end zone, but he also missed an extra point. Meanwhile, punter Christian Brinser, a junior from Liberty, turned in a clutch performance with a 56-yard bomb when Missouri was pinned deep late in the second quarter and a third-quarter punt inside the Bulldogs’ 5. Marcus Murphy got loose in the return game as well.|
|A-||Coaching||Defensively, Missouri broke from the gate strong, which hasn’t always been the case but it was critical against Georgia and quarterback Aaron Murray. Offensive coordinator Josh Henson didn’t go into a shell when Maty Mauk went in the game. Of course, punting twice inside the Bulldogs’ 40 nearly proved costly.|