The Georgia Bulldogs, still having depth issues after last week’s overtime win over Tennessee, had some major issues in its game on Saturday against the #25 Missouri Tigers, as the defense gave up 375 yards and six touchdowns in a fifteen-point conference loss, shifting the hold in the SEC East from Athens, Georgia to Columbia, Missouri.
Missouri came into the game with a high-flying offense and did not disappoint in this contest. Led by quarterback James Franklin (who may now be out for the year due to a shoulder injury), the Tigers jumped on the Bulldogs early, overcoming a slow start in the first quarter to outscore Georgia 21-3 to take a 28-10 halftime lead. Another advantage the Tigers had in this victory was winning the turnover margin, as Missouri did not turn the ball over at all and intercepted Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray twice in the fourth quarter.
Frankly, there was a lot of concern going into this game for Georgia due to the loss of so many offensive weapons, and these fears were realized on Saturday. Although Murray played fairly well on Saturday (290 passing yards and 3 TDs), the passing game was definitely a lot weaker without the likes of Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley, leaving the Bulldogs trying to make the most out of a bad situation. Georgia did what they could and even rallied to get within two points with 12:15 left in the game, but eventually Missouri just overpowered the Bulldogs.
Although the offense’s inconsistencies definitely did not help matters in this loss, the real issue that led to their second loss of the season was the defense’s inability to stop the Tigers. Georgia has been playing a bend-but-don’t-break style this season, and the Tigers exposed that style and promptly broke it in two. The way the Bulldogs’ offense has been banged up, the team truly needs the defense to stand tall and give Murray and Co. a little bit of breathing room, thereby helping the offense avoid forcing passes. Unfortunately, this did not happen on Saturday, as the defense could not contain Missouri and left Murray desperately trying to create big plays late.
While this loss definitely hurts Georgia’s chances in the SEC East and pretty much eliminates the team’s chances at playing for the national title, the Bulldogs must respond and simply show up ready to play the remaining six teams left on their schedule. Next up for the team is a matchup with the 3-3 Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville. The Dores are coming off of a bye week and will undoubtedly be looking to defeat Georgia for the first time since 2006, so it is important that the Bulldogs just dust themselves off and show up ready to play. Otherwise, a bad showing and a loss to Vandy could completely derail what was an otherwise promising 2013 season?