The Bulldogs continue to roll with a 43-6 win over a Missouri team that is going through a tough season under their second year coach, but this one did not have the same dominant feel as other recent wins. Maybe that is because of my expectations for the team after seeing the kind of performance they are capable of, or perhaps I underestimated Mizzou, but in the end, this game seemed almost underwhelming. Players and teams have off-days.
Of course, my vague complaint about the “feel” of the win does not detract from the fact that Georgia took the field and did what it needed to do as the No. 1 team in the country. This 37 point win points to the continued dominance of the Dawgs’ defense. Missouri’s quarterbacks could get the Tigers moving, but as we have seen all year, Georgia’s defense rose to the occasion each time and kept Mizzou out of the end zone. Kirby Smart and Dan Lanning have built an outstanding defense; without question, it is the best I’ve seen in the modern era of college football that began with the rule changes that led to the offensive revolution in the sport.
The day’s biggest surprise (aside from the kickoff that sailed through the end zone and landed on my knee as I photographed kick coverage) was the play of the offensive line. Based on Missouri’s defensive numbers, I had expected to see the Dawgs rely on their ground game and for Zamir White to have a one hundred yard day. Instead, White managed 14 yards on nine carries, and one of those runs was 13 yards. That was not a great look for the offensive line.
Jamaree Salyer missed the game with an injury, and it was apparent that the offensive line missed his skill, both as a blocker and a leader. Broderick Jones, the redshirt freshman from Lithonia, stepped in at left tackle and did the job capably in his first start. Of course, job one for a left tackle is to protect the blindside, and he did a great job.
Kirby Smart commented on his offensive line in his postgame interview: “They played the same defense they’ve been playing. They played a little better, they changed out a couple of guys personnel‐wise, but they didn’t change their defense by any means. We didn’t run the ball real well if that’s what you’re asking. We did not do that super well. But, there was no massive change, they did max blitz a little more and took some more chances than they normally do.”
So, the o-line had a bad day, and the Dawg won by 37 points. Things sure have changed in Athens!