The Bulldogs move to 3-0 on the year and notch their first conference win of the season in Columbia, MO. Georgia 28 Missouri 27.
Versatile McKenzie Enjoys Career Night:
Junior Isaiah McKenzie (career-high 10 catches, 122 yards, 2 TDs) had a couple of pivotal plays on Georgia’s first scoring drive after it trailed 10-0 and then caught the game-winning TD on 4th down and 10 with 1:29 left tonight. On the first scoring drive, he had a 31-yard catch for a first down on a 3rd and 7 and later a six-yard scamper for a TD to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive in 5:05. In the second TD drive, he caught an 8-yarder for a first down on a 3rd and 6 as Georgia eventually took a 14-10 lead with 12:48 in the second quarter. In the first half, he had a career-high seven catches for 96 yards and one TD. The TD catch covered 20 yards and tied the game at 20-all with 1:48 left, and the PAT would give Georgia a 21-20 lead. McKenzie had four catches in Georgia’s six third down conversions for 63 yards. Also, he had two punt returns for 25 yards.
3-0 Start For Coach Smart:
With tonight’s 28-27 win, Kirby Smart becomes the first Bulldog football head coach to start his career 3-0 since 1938 when Joel Hunt began 4-0. Tonight marked the second fourth-quarter comeback for the Bulldogs under Smart. In the season opener versus #22 UNC, Georgia fell behind 10 points in the 3rd quarter and trailed 24-23 going in to the final quarter. Tonight, Georgia faced a 10-point deficit and trailed 27-21 going to the fourth quarter. Georgia now leads the series with Mizzou 5-1.
Eason Airs It Out In 2nd Career Start:
Freshman QB Jacob Eason finished 29-for-55 for 308 yards, 3 TDs, all career-highs. It was the most pass attempts by a Bulldog since 2000 when Cory Phillips finished 36-for-62 against Ga. Tech. In fact in the first half, Eason had already established career highs, going 18-for-28, 219 yards and 2 TDs. He made his second career and consecutive start. Tonight, he completed passes to nine different Bulldogs. On Georgia’s first TD drive, he was 4-4 on 3rd down conversions as the Bulldogs found themselves down 10-0. Eason converted a 4th and 10 for a 20-yard TD to Isaiah McKenzie to tie it at 27-all with 1:29 left and William Ham’s PAT made it 28-27. It capped an 80-yard drive in 10 plays that took 2:03.
No Points Off 5 Turnovers:
Georgia got no points off five turnovers while the Tigers scored 7 points off one Bulldog interception. In the second quarter, Georgia’s Juwuan Briscoe recovered a fumble at the Tiger 31. Georgia was forced to punt. Then, Briscoe notched an interception with 8:47 left in the 3rd quarter to put Georgia at the Tiger 27. It led to a missed field goal from 23 yards. In the second half, Missouri had an INT off Jacob Eason that put them at 1st and Goal at the six, and it led to a TD and a 27-21 Tiger lead. Briscoe had his second fumble recovery with 1:07 left at the Bulldog 48 as Georgia ran out the clock.
For the year, opponents have scored 24 points off six Bulldog turnovers. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are +3 in Turnover Margin and have converted eight turnovers into only six points, and that was by the Georgia defense (OLB Lorenzo Carter fumble return for a TD against Nicholls). With 36 second left in the 3rd quarter, senior Quincy Mauger notched an Interception (6th of his career) and the Bulldogs had it at the Missouri 47. It led to another missed field goal, this one from 38 yards. Mauger grabbed his second INT in the endzone with 8:09 left in the contest. Georgia had to punt. He became the first Bulldogs with 2 INTs in a game since Dominick Sanders against Kentucky in 2015. Mauger has seven career picks, four of those coming against Missouri here in Columbia. He had two in the 2014 game.
Tough Yards For Chubb:
Junior tailback Nick Chubb provided 63 rushing yards on 19 carries as the Bulldogs went to the aerial attack tonight, passing it 55 times for 308 yards.
Freshman Elijah Holyfield (RB) made his Bulldog debut, playing on the opening kickoff coverage unit and later in the first quarter freshman Mecole Hardman (DB) also made his debut on kickoff coverage. In the second quarter, freshman Solomon Kindley (OL) saw action. Junior Christian Payne (FB) caught his first career TD pass, a two-yarder from freshman Jacob Eason to cap a 10 play, 61-yard drive, which made it 14-10 Bulldogs. In the first half, Payne had a career-high four catches for 34 yards, and he finished the game with five for 41 yards and 1 TD.
There were no first-time starters today. A couple of Bulldogs extended their team-leading starting streaks with center Brandon Kublanow at 28 consecutive games for the offense and cornerback Malkom Parrish at 16 in a row for the defense. In the first half, Georgia had already used 60 of the 70 players it brought to tonight’s game.
In the first half, Georgia was led in tackles by sophomore Natrez Patrick with five stops and he finished with a career-high nine. Overall, Georgia forced five turnovers but did not convert any of those into points. The Tigers took the opening kickoff, 72 yards in 10 plays in 2:07 for a TD, ending a TD drought against Georgia that spanned 124:25, dating back to 2013 meeting. Georgia won 34-0 in 2014 and 9-6 in 2015 as the Tigers failed to score a TD in the two previous contests. For the game, the Tigers ran 75 plays and gained 471 yards (376-pass, 95-rush).
Trailing By 10 Again:
For the second time this season, Georgia fell behind by 10 points in a game. In the season opener against #22 North Carolina, Georgia trailed 24-14 with 6:34 left in the 3rd quarter. Georgia eventually won 33-24. Tonight, Georgia trailed 10-0 at the 8:20 mark in the first quarter and later went ahead 14-10 in the second quarter. At halftime, Georgia led 21-20. At the start of the fourth quarter, Georgia trailed 27-21. Tonight, Georgia won 28-27.
The captains were junior Sony Michel (TB), senior Quincy Mauger (FS) and senior Greg Pyke (RT).
Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) has another SEC road game, heading to No. 19 Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1 SEC) next Saturday for a Noon ET kickoff on ESPN. The Rebels lost a shootout to #1 Alabama 48-43 earlier today in Oxford.