It wasn’t pretty or efficient and Nick Chubb was a non-factor, but in the end the Georgia Bulldogs escaped Missouri with a 28-27 win to move to 3-0 on the young season.
UGA freshman quarterback Jacob Eason went 29-of-55 for 308 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Isaiah McKenzie with just over a minute and a half remaining.
The Tigers had a chance to take the lead back when quarterback Drew Lock hit receiver J’Mon Moore across the middle for a big gain, but Moore was hit and fumbled. Georgia recovered and this one was over.
So, what did we learn from this closely contested SEC battle?
1. Jacob Eason Passes First Big Test: Eason wasn’t perfect, in fact, he looked shaky at several moments during this game. However, when the Bulldogs needed a third-down conversion or a game-winning throw, Eason came through.
This is huge for Georgia.
Last week, the ‘Dawgs looked horrible. For a big portion in this one, Georgia looked bad on both sides of the ball. But the coaching staff never lost faith in Eason and allowed him to continue taking shots down the field, even on fourth down. Think Greyson Lambert does that?
Now that SEC play is in full swing, head coach Kirby Smart will not regret making Eason his full-time starter under center. The experience he’s gained through three weeks will be invaluable as the heart now that Georgia’s schedule toughens.
2. Nick Chubb is Human: After Chubb rushed for 222 yards and two scores in the season opener against UNC, we all proclaimed the sensational running back was as good as ever. In two weeks since, Chubb has rushed for a total of 143 yards on 39 carries. That’s less than four yards per carry. Missouri’s defense is notoriously tough to run against, but Chubb struggled last week in the win over Nicholls State.
So, what do we make of this?
Chubb is healthy, however, teams are loading the box and daring the freshman quarterback to beat them. Now that Eason has proven he can beat teams with his arm, the ‘Dawgs should see less eight-man fronts, making things a little less crowded for Chubb.
There is nothing to worry about with Chubb. He’ll be fine.
Missouri is Going to Be Good Under Barry Odom: Yes, Mizzou lost this game in awful fashion. The Moore fumble with just over a minute remaining was gut-wrenching for Missouri. Yet, there are positives to take from this game.
Lock continues to get better. He completed 23 of 38 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. His three interceptions are tough to swallow, but Lock is so much more comfortable than he was a year ago and that’s good for the Tigers. Lock played in 12 games last year and had only game where he passed for over 200 yards. In three games this season, Lock has passed for 1,106 yards and and nine touchdowns.
Drew Lock in the midst of taking that next step as a sophomore. Big time talent.— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) September 18, 2016
Missouri turned the ball over five times and still almost won this game. This may not be a banner year for the Tigers in the SEC, but they’ll cause a lot of problems and no one will want to face them.
And while Moore’s fumble is what most will remember, the talented 6’3” junior did catch eight passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.