UGA-Mizzou: A wild series should yield a predictable result

Michael Sam rushes Aaron Murray. (Jason Getz/AJC)

From 2013: Michael Sam rushes Aaron Murray. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Georgia and Missouri have met four times since the Tigers entered the SEC. Georgia has won three of the four. Each has been weird. The briefest of recaps:

2012: Georgia wins 41-20 in Columbia. This will be remembered as the “Old Man Football” game — that was Mizzou defender Sheldon Richardson’s description of the visitor’s style — but mostly as the Jarvis Jones game. The Bulldogs trailed 17-9 in the third quarter and won by three touchdowns. Jones intercepted a James Franklin pass and then forced a fumble to set up the two scores that broke it open. Georgia won the SEC East.

2013: Missouri wins 41-26 in Athens. This was an early kickoff, and the Bulldogs played as if asleep. They trailed 28-10 at the half. They closed within 28-26 with 12 1/2 minutes to play, at which point you’d have sworn they’d win. (Especially since Franklin had been lost to injury.) But Missouri scored off wide receiver Bud Sasser’s pass to La’Damian Washington, and then Henry Josey scored on a 33-yard run after Aaron Murray had thrown an interception. Missouri won the SEC East.

2014: Georgia wins 34-0 in Columbia. This was the Free Gurley game. The great Georgia tailback had been suspended “indefinitely” by the school after it was learned he’d traded autographs for money. (The suspension would last three games. He returned against Auburn, tore his ACL and left for the NFL.) In one of its finest performances under Mark Richt, Georgia rode Nick Chubb’s 143 yards rushing to a comprehensive victory that was, alas, undone by the unaccountable loss to Florida. Missouri won the SEC East.

2015: Georgia wins 9-6 in Athens. This might have been the worst-looking win in Georgia annals. (Perhaps supplanted by Nicholls State.) Greyson Lambert’s first pass was intercepted and returned to the Georgia 1. From there, Missouri couldn’t score a touchdown. Indeed, nobody scored a touchdown. Missouri led 6-3 late in the third quarter, but two Marshall Morgan field goals — the second coming with 1:44 remaining after a shortish drive that saw the Bulldogs mostly run Sony Michel — carried the numbing night. Lambert was so unimpressive that Richt turned to Faton Bauta in the next game. Neither Georgia nor Missouri won the SEC East.

Totals: The winner of this game has won the East twice, the loser once. The visiting team has won three times, the home team once. I’d expect the visitor to win again Saturday night. As seen in the Nicholls game, Georgia has flaws. Missouri, however, is coming off a season that saw it go 1-7 in SEC play, the victory coming against South Carolina, which was likewise 1-7.

Gary Pinkel, the coach who did more with less, is gone. Barry Odom, his replacement, has a reputation as fine defensive man, but West Virginia amassed 494 yards in the season opener, a 26-11 Mizzou loss. The Tigers’ offense is better than it was last season — it couldn’t possibly be worse — but it remains to be seen how much better.

Drew Lock passed for 450 yards against Eastern Michigan last week; in no SEC game last year did he throw for more than 150. Odom hired Josh Heupel as his offensive coordinator, the same Josh Heupel who was pushed aside at Oklahoma, his alma mater, to make room for Lincoln Riley. Heupel’s last game as Sooners OC was a 40-6 bowl loss to Clemson that capped Oklahoma’s five-loss 2014 season.

Under Kirby Smart, Georgia is nowhere near a finished product. It trailed North Carolina by 10 points in its opener. It trailed Nicholls in the second half and needed a third-down conversion by Chubb with a minute remaining to prevail. This will be the first road test for Jacob Eason, assuming he starts, which he should, but playing in this Columbia isn’t quite like playing in Columbia, S.C. (At least it wasn’t when South Carolina was actually good.) Georgia 24, Missouri 16.

Super fun reading:

Is Georgia’s issue a lack of … talent?

UGA and Smart pass the stress test.

For UGA and Smart, it was the best of openers.

Was that Lambert’s last start for Georgia?

UGA holds its nerve and wins No. 1 for Smart.

A Big Orange scare again makes us wonder about Tennessee.

With Lambert, Georgia is banking on no surprises.

A big game in Week 1: That’s why Smart’s here.

The smart money is on Smart and UGA.

Kirby Smart says little, reveals less.

Predicting Georgia’s season game by game.

Preseason Top 25: Clemson at the top, UGA No. 13.

Why Smart’s Year 1 has breakthrough potential.

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
Superhound
Superhound

I never know who to root for when these two play - I'm an alumni of both colleges.  I guess it doesn't matter?

Stinger2
Stinger2

UGA should roll.....30-10. You fans should not worry so much.

A bounty of talent with the new coach you wanted is a recipe

for a great year. 11-1 then vs. Alabama for SEC title.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Stinger2

Yeah, and UGA should have rolled Nicholls--by far more than 30-10.

Big Wally
Big Wally

On Saturday I wrote several comments about how bad Richt left the offensive line.  Look no further than we have a Rhode Island transfer starting at tackle.  Then this week, Dawgnation has a couple of articles saying the exact same thing. 


Get your own material there Dawgnation, or start cutting me some checks.    LOL.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Oh Wally........has Ward been abusing you and Eddie.

SaulGoodwin
SaulGoodwin

Missouri's not that good---the dogs should win this game by 10+

dawg fan
dawg fan

The 2013 Mizzou loss was the precise moment that I decided it was time for Richt to go.  After being "5 yards away" the previous year I expected to see a hungry Georgia team in 2013, especially after Mark Richt's little hissy fit in the new conference after the the SECCG.  I thought Richt was tired of losing the big ones and we'd see a change.  Boy was I wrong.  To come out that flat and lifeless in a divisional game at home was just inexcusable.  I realized then that Mark Richt just didn't have what it takes to get us to the top.  His fan club cannot make excuses for him about injuries in that game either because there were none.  Mizzou was the only team that had to deal with injuries. 

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Not defending Richt at all on that loss. Defending the team though. We were depleted on offense with Gurley, Marshall, Scott Wesley and Bennet all out. Douglas was our starting tailback that day and he fumbled at a critical time per his norm. We don't and won't win many games then or now depending on Douglas.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@twelveofthirteen  I don't buy it.  This was the problem with Richt.  We were too dependent on these flashy skill guys to make plays.  If you're winning the line of scrimmage it doesn't matter who you've got at those positions. We should have been able to beat Mizzou with the skill guys we had on the field.  Injuries also do not explain our poor defense performance and they do nothing to explain the blasé attitude of our team that day.  That comes from the top.  Injuries, injuries, injuries.  I'm getting nauseous thinking about all the excuses.  I just refuse to believe we had any more injuries than anyone else.  I hate to bring all this up again but Bradley's article made me think about it.  It makes me sick.     

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Defense was a major issue with that team. No doubt there. They were bad.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You still buzzing around here, fly--lighting on one blog after another?

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

He can't help it. Misery over 13 of 15 is just too much.

Hey TO; We run this state and your limp wiener division.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Vag-boy and his sidekick 6 or 7.