Two UGA rookies showed Missouri something – Eason and Smart

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Isaiah McKenzie clutches the winner. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

COLUMBIA, MO. – These observations are presented as an adjunct to the Georgia-Missouri game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 28-27.

1. Say what you will about Georgia’s rookie quarterback, but Georgia’s rookie coach acquitted himself nobly. Kirby Smart took a game going wrong and made it go right. After Missouri took a 27-21 lead on a post-turnover touchdown 66 seconds into the third quarter, the Tigers didn’t score again. They went 0-for-their-final-seven-possessions. They turned the ball over four times, the most egregious being Quincy Mauger’s end-zone interception of Drew Lock’s pass when Mizzou would have had a 35-yard field-goal try to make it 30-21 inside the final eight minutes. Surely there were some Smart defensive tweaks involved after a first half that saw Georgia yield 20 points and 343 yards. (Second-half totals: Seven points and 128 yards.) Had Jacob Eason’s pass on fourth-and-10 sailed over Isaiah McKenzie’s head, Smart’s team would have lost. But he’d still have outcoached Barry Odom, who twice declined to go for two after go-ahead touchdowns and would lose by one.

2. The good part for Georgia: Eason was mostly terrific. The not-so-good: The running game was not. Nick Chubb rushed for 143 yards in Todd Gurley’s stead when the Bulldogs played here in 2014. Chubb and Sony Michel together mustered an even 100 this night. (Chubb had 63 on 19 carries, Michel 37 on nine.) Once again, Georgia’s offensive line generated no real push, and the pass-blocking wasn’t stellar, either. Eason was sacked four times. Even if we give Missouri’s defense credit for being the best the Bulldogs have played to date, it won’t be the best for much longer. And they can’t rely on their rookie quarterback to save every day. (Well, can they?)

3. As nice as this victory feels, Georgia cannot see it as a confirmation of anything except that Eason isn’t apt to be rattled on the road. Missouri has won one SEC game since 2014, when it astonished us all by winning the East for a second consecutive season. It’s hard to imagine the Tigers, who’ve already lost twice, breaking .500. That they pushed the Bulldogs to the limit tells us that Georgia has issues. That Georgia won anyway suggests that it’s resourceful enough to overcome those issues, and how long has it been since the Bulldogs could be deemed resourceful? On the contrary, they were the team that kept finding ways to lose the inexplicable game. That could have happened here. It didn’t.

Reader Comments 0

94 comments
aocrain
aocrain

Agreed, Eason played his heart out. Definitely nervous about next week's game though.

Doc Dawg
Doc Dawg

A W is a W but the O line for all Pittman`s accolades are worse than I remember in a long while. Maybe they`re still "gellin" but they better make it quick! No back can run with people in his backfield before he gets the handoff, and Missouri has plenty of guys in that front 7 who will play on sunday. They`re not the best Ga will face, but they`re good. Missouri`s O line is marginally competent, but again Ga had no pressure on the QB,  a serious cause for unrest. Eason is learning, and the last drive is what champions and high draft picks dial up on the road. By the season`s sen, he`ll be good, by next fall, he`ll be a force if he can stand in the pocket and not get sacked. He better release the ball quickly this week, Chubb is a better pass blocker than most of the Oline! Sonie flattened a LB with a block, great backs if they can get a seam. Tenn looks pedestrian, another word for crappy. Miami on the other hand looks real good on both sides of the ball. They may have a nice year going, and FSU and the self proclaimed best back in CFB were exposed in a huge way, among other people by JH Clemons. ACC looks pretty solid so far.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Any Dawgs fans out there that're unhappy with a 1 point win and a 3-0 start...........yeah! There sure are! The ones that took the Dawgs and gave the points.

MikeS777
MikeS777

It's pretty bad when Dawg fans are trying to paint up this Missouri team as actually good or a team with anything but a low probability of being ranked at all at the end of the season.

I guess the water cooler is still full of Kirby Smart Kool Aid.   I'm seeing some vintage 1990's UGA football so far just like the 2009 and 2010 variety that got Mark Richt squarely on the hot seat.   But then Nick Saban went 6-6 his first year at Bama right?  So next year...yeah that's it.   You just wait...next year UGA will run the table and start an 8 year championship run of their own!!!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Chill a little. We all like Richt and wish him well. Deal with the cards you got and remember we "won".

Always happy to win.

FlatTire
FlatTire

Who is painting a picture that Missouri is good?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@MikeS777 It would appear that you know a lot about football.  But you might be mistaken about the Missouri talent. To me, that defensive line looked very quick and practically destroyed the Dawgs running game. Their QB can play on anybody's team and their receivers go up and get the ball as good as any I've witnessed. I'm not trying to paint the Dawgs "Great"....they are not! They just refused to lose and got a few breaks. They had a lot of chances to lose, they could have quit and rolled over, but they didn't. Sometimes that's better than being great. Trying to win with someone else's talent is not easy. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@FlatTire 

Nobody.

Mike just gets his jollies by taking potshots at UGA now--while snuggling up to Richt.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Eason needs to change his throwing angle. While sidearms may come in handy at times, that's his go-to motion. 


His 6'5'' becomes 6'2" with that arm angle, 


I believe has developed bad habits against high school (lack of) size and competition.


 I see a lot of blocked passes and Tip 6's in his future. 


Good to know you have a consistent FG threat with a 10 yard range when you need it, however. 

rtpiv
rtpiv

@OH:IO For once, I agree with you. Even the snide comment about the kicker.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Dr Pepper Larry folks. You heard it here first from him.

You are so desperate dude. The RAGE!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@rtpiv @OH:IO 

He seldom, if ever, makes a comment that's not snide. 

It's the lying hypocrite in him.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO When you're 6'5" and throwing downhill to 5'10" receivers.....you better be able to throw it sidearm when there's a 6'5" lineman between you and your receiver. No comment on the kicker if you saw the game. However, I did notice that when he kicked the game winning extra point he kicked the ground behind the football that probably kept him from hooking it left.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Is the brunch buffet still up at butts smear. 


OC wants to know. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Let's discuss the dogs place-kicking unit, shall we?

MikeS777
MikeS777

@OH:IO What kicking game?  haha.   And congrats btw on being the latest team to beat down OU haha

MikeS777
MikeS777

@OH:IO @MikeS777 An Auburn buddy of mine used to call him "Beat Down" Bob haha   Always getting beat down in the big games.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO I'd rather talk about OSU's 2 game schedule with 10 patsies.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO @MikeS777 You can certainly say that about Stoops this year. I guess the Texas Tech Reject QB (Mayfield) was not the answer at Oklahoma.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Buschleaguer 

Always amusing to see ex-gator Stoops lose again. Just wish it had been to anyone other than the smarmy Urban.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Eason looks like the real deal, but the defense and running game have got to wake up and give Eason some help.   That's the most surprising part to me.   The last thing you'd expect is for a Kirby Smart coached team to struggle to get off the field on defense, especially since he's inheriting a unit that was one of the best in the SEC under Pruitt.   SC certainly isn't struggling on defense under Muschamp so far.

The very reason people thought Eason might start is they expected the running game and defense to take the heat off him, with Chubb's return and Smart being a defensive specialist.   That's not happening, and Eason had to throw over 50 times Saturday.   That's not a good sign going into a 3 week stretch of @Ole Miss, UT, and @SC with UF not long after.   Those teams aren't going to turn the ball over 5 times.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

The UGA-Mizzou game, dimbulb. Yes, that result certainly makes things better.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MikeS777  umm those so called stats were padded against teams that couldn't throw the ball.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@FlatTire @MikeS777 You mean like Missouri?  haha   WVU held this Missouri team to 3 points until the final 2 minutes in week 1.   WVU...the team that never plays any defense.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MikeS777  does West Virginia have a new coaching staff?


How did Richt do his first season again?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Again, since when did points scored in the final two minutes stop counting?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Yep, it's what got you to 20 yesterday in the 63-20.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777 @FlatTire

WVU "never plays any defense"???

Well, they clearly did against Mizzou, as even you pointed out.

Confused again?

MikeS777
MikeS777

@DawgNole @MikeS777 Funny how that result feels so good this year, but it never did before.   I guarantee that Richt would be taking heat for a win like this with Nick Chubb and Eason on the field, especially a week after the performance against Nichols.   But I guess the Kool Aid hasn't run out yet on Smart.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Any W "feels so good" after a 15-year run of losing many games like that.

Kool Aid??? So you've seen NO criticism of Smart on these boards? Please.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@DawgNole @OH:IO It's not FSU's nature to quit but the Louisville game looked like they were ill prepared for what they faced.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TideDawg @DawgNole 

Couldn't agree more, TD.

:-(

That was a supremely uninspiring performance, and one that likely won't be forgotten when it comes time to pick playoff slots--IF FSU and any other one-loss teams are in the picture.

noname
noname

Eason needs to change speed on some of his passes. Many of those drops were just too hard to handle, especially when the receiver is just turning around toward the QB.. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

He can smear some mustard on that thing.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@noname


NEW DOG EXCUSE ALERT!


The hard passes


Curious though, isn't "those drops" and "just to hard to handle" one in the same?

patriotdog
patriotdog

Lots of dropped passes. On the other hand, lots of nice catches of under thrown or thrown behind the receiver balls. He'll improve the outside route throws. He'll have to, or defenses will pack the middle and watch him overthrow the outside routes.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Resourceful?   Really?  haha  It's amusing how the narrative changes this year haha  I'm so glad Kirby Smart could is "resourceful" enough to shut Missouri out in the 4th.   Course they already had over 400 yards of offense and 27 pts in 3 quarters, and had another TD intercepted in the end zone.   In fact, UGA had to secure the win by stripping a Missouri WR as he was crossing the 50 on the way to a game winning FG.   5 turnovers by Missouri, and they still had a shot to win.

To put it in perspective, this Missouri team scored a grand total of 6 points on Jeremy Pruitt's defense the past two seasons combined.   They didn't score more than 24 points on anyone in the SEC last year.   WVU manhandled them 24-11 in week 1.   Missouri didn't score a TD until the final 2 minutes in the game when WVU was up 24-3.

patriotdog
patriotdog

'This Missouri team scored six points on Jeremy Pruitt's defense'.

No. This Missouti team has a new Head coach, a new OC and a new more potent offense with a new qb. This Mo team didn't exist last year.

It was a good win for a team finding it's way. Richt's team would've lost this game

without a doubt.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@FlatTire Oh you mean when he was handing off to Green and Douglas and throwing to walkons?   Gurley, Marshall, Mitchell, Scott-Wesley, and Michael Bennett were all out for that game.

And that was a loaded Missouri team that finished the year in the top 10.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Your credibility is less than zero--given your well-documented affection for Richt and your thinly veiled scorn of Smart.

Oh, you forgot to mention who won last night's game.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@FlatTire

He appears to be hiding those Miami shirts in the closet--pretending mightily that he's not praying for Hurricane success and BullDawg failure.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777: "Did you miss the part where they scored just 3 points total on WVU in week 1 until the final 2 minutes of the game?"

__________________

Oh, so points scored in the final two minutes don't count?

Who knew?

MikeS777
MikeS777

@DawgNole @MikeS777 I think I was more looking at the fact a No defense WVU team held Missouri to 11 points while a Kirby Smart led SEC defense struggled to keep them under 30.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@TOJacket No I'm actually having fun ragging out UGA right now.   Richt sounds like he's having a lot more fun in Miami than he was here getting hammered by the rabid delusions of Dawg fandom.   Bottom line is, the only way to get better than Richt is winning championships.   So far I think it's clear this new staff is somewhere far south of that haha.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Did I say you were worried about it?

Nope.

Smug narcissists don't think they have any flaws to worry about.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@FlatTire @MikeS777 UGA didn't have Nick Chubb in the backfield or Eason at QB either for that game.   But they found a way to win because the defense stepped up and did it's job.   But then I guess that doesn't count as resourceful.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MikeS777  yea those stellar mid-tier bowl games like in Charolette were something to talk about 

MikeS777
MikeS777

@patriotdog Did you miss the part where they scored just 3 points total on WVU in week 1 until the final 2 minutes of the game?   Also, Missouri was actually good in 2014, won the East, and finished ranked in the top 15.  UGA beat them 34-0, and that was while Pruitt was still trying to turn around Grantham's mess.

Richt didn't lose this game last year either even without Nick Chubb and with Lambert at QB, so there's no sense in pretending otherwise.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Not difficult to have fun when two of your three opponents are Fla A&M and App St.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Got any predictions for us on the UT game?

Or just more bloviating?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Yet again, you keep forgetting to mention who won the UGA game last night.

Hidden agenda much?

FlatTire
FlatTire

Remind us again about uga losing to Missouri with Murray at qb or the 2 times uga couldn't get it done in sec East when it was down allowing Missouri to win the East twice

What color are those Miami t- shirts you bought?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MikeS777 here's some perspective; UGA didn't score a TD last year against Missouri 


hows your new Miami t-shirts fitting

FlatTire
FlatTire

I guess you forgot that Missouri game we lost was by the back up qb who came in after their qb was injured during the game and still made us look bad

Oh and Murray wasn't a true freshman and richt had over 10 years head coaching experience

What did you say those Miami t- shirt colors were?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MikeS777  please tell us about the facts.


Facts like losing to Vandy twice and KY twice or the embarrassment against UCF



DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

What facts?

The fact that UGA won last night, which you keep omitting?

That fact?

Or the fact that the team of your loverboy Richt has played a shamefully soft schedule so far this season? Which you also failed to mention when you said he was "having fun" down there.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Mike you really miss Uncle Mark huh?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@MikeS777 @TOJacket

I think Richt has realized winning the ACC Coastal would be much easier for him than winning the SEC East. I never disliked Richt ,but I thought he grew complacent in Athens, and it was time for him to move on. He seems to have put himself in a much better position at Miami to at least win a Division championship in the ACC.,