Georgia Bulldogs Top Missouri Tigers In Defensive Slugfest

Georgia Bulldogs Top Missouri Tigers In Defensive Slugfest

Neither team was able to score a touchdown as the Dawgs and Tigers played an old-fashioned smashmouth game in Athens on Saturday night.

Josh McSwain

Games without touchdowns are rare, but we saw one Saturday night as the Georgia Bulldogs won their homecoming game against the Missouri Tigers 9-6. Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks, and both of them looked like they were completely out of sync on Saturday night as they both were held to under 200 yards passing and neither found the end zone.

Missouri was close to scoring six on the first play from scrimmage as Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert threw a pass that was deflected and intercepted by Ian Simon, who returned it all the way to the Georgia one yard line. It looked like he had a score, but a great effort by a Georgia lineman stopped the Tiger defensive back just short of the goal line.

On their first offensive play, Tigers quarterback Drew Lock fumbled the snap but was able to get back on the ball. The Tigers couldn't punch it in on the next two plays and settled for a field goal.

Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett and Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan were the stars of the night, and each missed a field goal in this game. Baggett was 2/3 and Morgan 3/4. Baggett's longest field goal was 24 yards. The Tigers were able to move the ball, but could not punch it in deep in Georgia territory. Morgan's long was 34 yards.

Both running games were almost entirely held in check in this game. The Tigers ran for 21 yards on 22 carries (yes, they averaged just under a yard per carry in this game), and the Bulldogs did not fare much better, running for 120 yards but needing 45 carries to get those yards, good for a 2.7 average per carry. Sony Michel, the starter following the injury to Nick Chubb, ran for 87 yards on 26 attempts.

Baggett knocked in the first field goal from 20 yards after the Tigers lost a yard on their first possession. Later in the first, Georgia turned it over on downs and Missouri started on their own 45. They drove it down into the red zone but Baggett missed a 38-yarder.

Georgia got on the board in the second quarter as Morgan hit a 29-yarder to tie the game. On their last drive of the half, the Tigers drove 84 yards down to the Bulldogs six yard line, but the drive bogged down and they settled for a 24-yard field goal to take a 6-3 lead into intermission. The lead should have been more than just three, as the Tigers dropped three interceptions in the first half.

In the second half, after having bad field position seemingly the entire game, the Tigers looked like they had their break. Georgia was pinned deep and had to punt. But Cam Hilton, who should have called for a fair catch, muffed the punt. Georgia recovered at the Missouri 43. The Bulldogs got the ball in as far as the five but could not punch it in and settled for a 24-yard field goal.

Georgia had seized all the momentum in the second half and with 5:40 to go in the game looked determined to take their first lead, but Morgan missed a 26-yarder that hooked to the left. But on the ensuing possession, the Tigers couldn't do anything and punted the ball back to the Bulldogs at midfield. Georgia then drove down for the game-winning 34-yard field goal with under two minutes to go.

There are real questions for both teams after a game like this. Many in the Georgia faithful are left to wonder what it might take for Brice Ramsey to be inserted into the starting lineup after another subpar showing from Lambert. Also, Missouri starting quarterback Maty Mauk, who has been suspended for three games and counting for an unknown reason, would probably be welcomed back with open arms after another atrocious showing by the Tigers offense. A playmaker needs to step up for the Tigers because Russell Hansbrough is clearly not 100 percent.

Next up for the Tigers will be a trip to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. Georgia will take on arch rival Florida on Halloween in the World's Biggest Cocktail Party, which after Florida's loss to LSU on Saturday night, will be a crucial game in determining the champion of the SEC East.