After another unscheduled bye week, the #8 Georgia Bulldogs travel to Columbia, MO to take on the Missouri Tigers. This game was originally scheduled for November 14th before being rescheduled due to COVID-19 outbreaks at other SEC schools.
Georgia comes into the game ranked 2nd in the SEC and 25th nationally in total defense (338.1 ypg) and 8th in the SEC and 63rd nationally in total offense. On the other side of the ball the Missouri Tigers are 4th in the SEC and 33rd nationally in total offense (434.8 ypg) and 4th in the SEC and 48th nationally in total defense (377.4 ypg). On paper, this will by far be the Dawgs toughest test since the early season gauntlet of Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida.
When Missouri has the ball:
The Tigers are a multiple offense team that can morph into whatever they need to be in order to attack that particular week’s opponent as evidenced by high scoring shoot outs against LSU (W 45-41) and Arkansas (W 50-48) as well as lower scoring “grind it out” type games against Kentucky (W 20-10) and South Carolina (W 17-10). Running Backs Larry Roundtree III and Tyler Badie are both capable of breaking a long run at any time during the game and both are excellent pass-catchers out of the backfield. QB Connor Bazelack is an accurate thrower on downfield routes and does a good job on off-platform throws. Missouri does an outstanding job with pre-snap motion and other “window dressing” that will change the defensive leverage and allow for more favorable matchups. One concept that they execute well is using jet or orbit motion to make the defense adjust over one gap and then throwing or running to the backside where there is a numerical or leverage advantage. With this concept, the defense is in a tough spot, if they don’t respect the jet/orbit motion then the motion man will get the ball with a running start toward the edge. If the defense overcommits to the motion then it changes leverage on the backside and can open up cut back lanes for the RB or throws to the backside TE. The Georgia defense will have to play their assignments, set the edge, and make tackles in space to limit yards after catch or contact.
When Georgia has the ball
The Missouri defense is undersized in the front seven and their defensive backs are also small. The Tiger defense will try to generate pressure with stunts and twists to confuse the Georgia Offensive Line in their blocking assignments. Against Arkansas last week the Mizzou ran several T/E stunts on 3rd down and medium/long (obvious passing downs) coupled with a delayed blitz from one of the MLB or a blitz off of the backside slot. The Tigers will primarily line up in a 4-3 or 4-2-5 defense and play a lot of man coverage. CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr is their best cover man and will most likely draw the assignment of trying to shut down George Pickens. LB Nick Bolton is the leader of the defense but has been nursing an ankle injury which he reinjured last week against Arkansas.
What I expect to happen
This will be a game until the third and possibly into the fourth quarter. Mizzou has the firepower on offense to score a lot and a defense that is good enough to slow the Dawgs down enough to keep it close. I expect the Tigers to have success on offense in the first half until the Georgia defense is able to make half time adjustments. For Georgia, on offense, this will be a “take what the defense gives you” type of game. If the Tigers show a 7 man box or lighter, Zeus and company should have a big day running between the tackles. If Mizzou plays Georgia the way that they played Arkansas last week, JT Daniels and the receiver corps will feast on man to man coverage. Weather and an 11 AM local kickoff will make this game closer than it should be based on comparative talent.
Final Score: Dawgs 31 Mizzou 24