By Jordan Milewczik
The No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs came into Faurot Field Saturday looking to gain their fourth-straight victory in Columbia. They achieved that feat by delivering the newly No. 25-ranked Tigers a 49-14 loss in their last home game of the season.
The Tigers struggled early as Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak threw his third interception of the season on just the second play of the game. The Bulldogs put it in shortly after and capitalized on their next drive to get an early 14-0 lead on Missouri by the end of the first quarter.
Missouri would fire back in the second as the defense began putting some momentum together against the Georgia offense. Missouri would rally back to tie it late in the quarter after a blocked punt that put the ball on the Bulldog one yard line. Georgia would be able to pick up another 7 points before the half though to put them up 21-14 heading to the locker room.
“The defense was starting to play well and stop the run and pass,” Bazelak said. “They gave us a chance to move the ball down the field and put points on the board. But we didn’t have that enough”
After the half though, the game was all Georgia. JT Daniels and the Georgia receiving core took advantage of a battered Missouri secondary who were starting three Freshman cornerbacks.
“We gave up 316 yards rushing, so we were trying to load the box,” Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “If you load the box, then you leave the wideouts 1-on-1. It’s a pick your poison kind of deal.”
They were no match as the Georgia passing game boomed to over 300 passing yards on the day. This coupled with over 300 rushing yards as well. The Missouri defense was greatly outmatched, as they missed Tre Williams, Kobie Whiteside, and Jarvis Ware in this contest.
JT Daniels continued his recent dominance by going 16-27 for 299 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His wide receiver George Pickens had a big day as he reeled in 5 passes for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Missouri offense was no match for the Georgia defense. Eliah Drinkwitz highlighted Georgia’s defense as an obstacle that would be tough to overcome earlier this week.
“They are a clone of the Alabama defense,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ve had problems with Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Georgia’s got the same defensive philosophy as those guys, and I’m sure they’re going to copy a lot of those things that gave us problems.”
The offense was only able to muster 22 rushing yards and 178 passing yards in an uncharacteristic performance. The team seemed to be routinely beaten in the trenches as Bazelak was routinely hurried to throw, causing several poor throws.
Georgia will finish their regular season next week at home against Vanderbilt. This will be the first season that they will not make the SEC Championship game since 2016.
Missouri will have to respond positively to this loss as the Tigers will be traveling to Starkville, Mississippi this Saturday to take on the (2-6) Mississippi State Bulldogs, before playing Auburn today.
“We have a long way to go,” Drinkwitz said. “Our goal is to be competitive in the SEC East. Right now the two teams at the top of the SEC East, we weren’t competitive with. So we have our work cut out for us, and that starts with me in recruiting and player development.”
Edited by Emma Moloney