The game had started off with the Bulldogs receiving the ball first and marching down the field leading to an interception from Christian Holmes. This is it. This is a chance for our offense to come out on the field early and capitalize on one heck of a play from the defense. This was our chance to make a statement.
The first drive for our Tigers started with a pass to Kendall Blanton, a running play drawn up for Larry Rountree III, a 25-yard reception for freshman standout Tyler Badie, which if he would have been able to toe the sideline, would’ve put six up on the board for Missouri and put us on the right track to pulling the upset.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. The first bit of outrage of the game was just about to happen after Lock had thrown a pass to stud tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. O had started up the field where he was met by a swarm of Georgia defenders, who had appeared to STOP the forward progress of Albert O. The play wasn’t blown dead, O was stripped of the ball, and Tyson -Campbell ran it back 64 yards for the first score of the game. 7-0 Georgia.
The next bit of outrage was about to happen on the following drive. Missouri had marched up the field and stalled out, setting up a 41-yard field goal attempt for Tucker McCann. The kick goes up, the referee signaled no good. Which as the game progressed, I started to see things coming from the likes of Yahoo Sports, ESPN, and a few other sources bringing up this little bit of controversy. Three more points not on the board for Missouri. Two plays full of controversy in the first quarter alone. It appeared it was going to be one of those days for Missouri.
Now, I’m not one to sit and blame the referees for a win or a loss. Missouri definitely shot themselves in the foot enough to put themselves out of walking off the field with a 4-0 record and a win against the #2 team in their pocket. So for the purpose of keeping your blood pressure down, I’m not going to make this write up about the referees.
I wrote about what I wanted to see from our Tigers against the Dawgs in an article earlier last week. The first one was our secondary and really our whole defense all together. In my opinion, our defense was better. They never backed down from the Dawgs or looked intimidated. The looked confident, ready to make up for the performance against Purdue. It seemed to me that we got the stops we needed to make early. We gave the ball back to our offense several times with the chance to march down the field for points and early in the game. The offense just couldn’t get it together enough to really capitalize on those chances.
It wasn’t until the second half that we really started to see our secondary start to get tested and picked apart. I just don’t think these corners are very good. Really, our whole secondary isn’t very good. Blown coverage, the lack of making a play on the ball, and the lack of physicality really stand out to me. Seeing them in person I don’t think it’s an issue that you say “man, they’re just slow” or anything like that, I just don’t think they are very good. There were two plays that stick out to me the most, both of them leading to touchdowns, both of them on the corner backs. A receiver made a catch along the sideline pretty much uncontested and ran it for the score and another was a play over the middle without a defender within 10 yards. Two scores that could have been prevented with a DB not blowing the coverage.
The offense seemed to be slow to take off as well in this game. Especially the first half. It was pretty apparent that Emanuel Hall wasn’t 100%. It is also apparent that they just don’t want to try to go over the top without Hall. It was pretty frustrating to watch the lack of aggressiveness in some series. The offense couldn’t capitalize on the chances given to them by the defense in the half. Dropped balls killed drives as well and also led to a turnover.
Those are things that you absolutely cannot do against a team of Georgia’s caliber and expect to win. The running game looked solid in the game and logged all four of Missouri’s touchdowns. It finally looks like Damarea Crockett is starting to break out of his shell as well. It was clear that Missouri was fine with taking the underneath routes and the yards that came from that. Albert O led the team in receiving with 81 yards on the day. Never really taking a shot downfield, I would’ve loved to see this offense go off like it has in the previous four games. But they put points on the board and that’s what we needed.
Finally, the special teams and that blocked punt that gave Georgia seven points. That was atrocious. Absolutely atrocious. I don’t even want to talk about the McCann field goal, just because I’m looking out for you all and your health. Complete and utter communication breakdown, and no, not cue Led Zeppelin. It was obvious that Georgia was sending the house to block the punt. I just can’t fathom how that did not get picked up by somebody on the special teams unit, or a coach, or somebody. Aggravating.
You have to have good special teams play against those teams. It doesn’t matter if your special teams plays come from not allowing a punt to get blocked, failed, a run back, causing a turnover on a punt or kickoff, etc. That was a huge factor in the outcome of this game. Missouri did block a kick which was a huge special teams play, but it is covered up by the punt that led to seven.
There are many things in this game that we could sit and talk about, there always are. The biggest stand-out to me was that Missouri completely shot themselves in the foot in this game and squandered away a chance to really make some noise not only in the East, but the entire conference.
They certainly didn’t get any help from some of the calls, but sometimes that’s how it goes and you have to leave it in the rearview mirror and overcome it. Missouri is 3-1 and heading into the bye week. We could easily be 2-2, but just as easily be 4-0.