Controversial calls, scoops and scores, blocked punts, blocked field goals. You name it, it was there. There were passing TDs and rushing TDs. Big-time catches and costly drops.
Mizzou and Georgia scrapped with one another on Saturday. By afternoon’s end, the Dawgs were on top, as they celebrated a 43-29 victory. The win gives UGA a 2-0 record in conference and they’ll stay in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. It’s looking like that’ll be a trend and not just an early showing of good fortune.
It all started in the beginning of the game. Mizzou’s star tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was stopped near the 1st down marker and the ball was promptly ripped out of his hands. Georgia’s Tyson Campbell then ran it back 64 yards for a touchdown and the game’s first score. The play was controversial, as Okwuegbunam’s forward progress was arguably stopped. But alas... the officials didn’t see it that way. This would be a theme for the Tigers, who committed some errors along the way and the refs didn’t exactly help them.
After a couple back-and-forth moments, Larry Rountree III showed off some tenacity and plunged into the end zone to tie the game. Two field goals by “Hot Rod” Rodrigo Blankenship made it 13-7, and the Tigers looked to threaten again. However, the ball didn’t bounce their way once again. Eric Stokes (pictured above) blocked a punt and gobbled it up and ran into the end zone. The score was 20-7 going into the half, and it appeared as if the Tigers would soon sink.
But the Tigers showed fight. After a 33-yard receiving touchdown for Riley Ridley (which was set up by a DAZZLING catch), Mizzou dealt a deft counterpunch. Damarea Crockett ran into the end zone to make it 27-14. But... not even a minute later, UGA answered back. Jeremiah Holloman made a tremendous catch of his own over DeMarkus Acy, and he sprinted to the end zone. It looked like Holloman dropped the ball before he crossed the plane. But... there was no definitive angle to change the referee’s decision. And so, 33-14 was the score.
Mizzou’s Tyler Badie hit pay dirt near the end of the 3rd quarter. But Georgia hit the knockout punch early on in the 4th. A coverage bust allowed for Mecole Hardman to be ALL by himself, and Hardman scored on a 54-yard passing touchdown to hit to 40 points. A Drew Lock rushing TD wound up for naught, as Blankenship’s final field goal wound up just being the cherry on top.
It was a disheartening effort for Mizzou in a lot of ways. The Tigers defense showed tremendous strides despite allowing 40 points. The first half was owned by them as they kept UGA down and didn’t even omit an offensive touchdown. It took until the 11:29 mark of the 3rd quarter for that to happen, and only the Holloman touchdown followed. It’s not as if they were gashed. No, quite the opposite until the end.
For the Mizzou offense to sputter in the fashion that they did was what really hit them hard. The rushing offense definitely showed strides (hey, they had four rushing TDs) but Lock was not himself throwing the ball. That’s a credit, certainly, to UGA’s secondary. But costly drops and silly mistakes plagued the team all day long.
Georgia, meanwhile, certainly ain’t perfect. They, too, made some mistakes. Especially in terms of holding onto the football. There’s plenty of talent on both sides, but they definitely appear to be missing their best players from last year. And that ain’t too much of a surprise, of course. Still, they’re unbeaten, they have an early lead in the SEC East, and it’s one they likely won’t relinquish.