With Todd Gurley out, Georgia wasn't going to win. No Keith Marshall or Sony Michel either, so no chance at all. Analysts took the Georgia Bulldogs out of the SEC East race and Vegas took the game off of the board. But Mark Richt knew this was a game he needed to win -- Gurley or not -- and his team made that happen.
Coming into Saturday, Missouri QB Maty Mauk had completed 56 percent of his passes, thrown for 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, and led the Tigers to a comeback at that other Columbia (against South Carolina). But Saturday, he played the worst game I've ever seen a quarterback play.
Georgia began the game and dominated on both lines of scrimmage in the early possessions. Nick Chubb, Georgia's freshman running back and fill-in for Todd Gurley, ran the ball seven times on their first drive, leading to a 47-yard kick from Marshall Morgan.
What happened on the next possession? Maty Mauk threw an interception. And after Missouri stopped the Bulldogs to force a punt, they got the ball back and guess what happened. Maty Mauk threw another interception. With 5:42 left in the 1st quarter, Maty Mauk boasted a zero-completion percentage on 0-of-4 passing with two interceptions. Stellar, I know.
Maty Mauk's passer rating is -100.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) October 11, 2014
But the Tigers' defense stayed in it like every Missouri fan would've hoped. That was until Mizzou allowed a 56-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Hutson Mason -- yes, the unanimously selected slowest quarterback in the SEC -- 11-yard touchdown run. By the end of the first half, it was 20-0, Georgia, and it was cold, and Missouri fans were filing out.
As the second half resumed and Missouri fans regained hope after a 24-yard pass to Jimmie Hunt, Mauk threw yet another interception and the rest was history. Missouri lost 34-0 in arguably the worst performance by a team with expectations that I have ever seen.
Missouri ran four plays in Georgia territory today. Three were turnovers. Never got closer than UGA 34.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) October 11, 2014
"I'm very disappointed in how we played and it all starts with me," Gary Pinkel said in his post game press conference. "Everything looked right up until kickoff. Is there a sense of urgency? That's an understatement." Bud Sasser, Missouri's senior receiver said: "That's a pathetic job by the offense. Period. We should never play that bad. Ever."
It was an embarrassing performance, but there was a really bright spot for Georgia, a team that's struggled over the last few weeks. This was a game Richt needed to win. He did it with defense, he did it with great play-calling from Mike Bobo, and he pulled out a win in a crowd that was the largest -- announced at 71,168 -- at Mizzou since 1983.
Nick Chubb ran the ball 38 times -- for a freshman, that's a pretty good bit -- and covered 143 yards on the ground. Georgia looked really good, and with hopes that Gurley can return, they'll be in the running for the East for sure.
For Missouri, Gainesville next week will be difficult. For Georgia, at Arkansas won't be much easier. Look for the Tigers to bounce back, and look for Georgia to continue to rally as a team. This was only Week 7. This was only the beginning of divisional match-ups in the gauntlet that is this year's SEC.