You know expectations are high at Georgia when the Bulldogs win a conference game on the road by more than two touchdowns but aren’t overly pleased with the victory.
No. 2 Georgia moved to 4-0 (2-0) after beating previously undefeated Missouri 43-29 on a sun-splashed day in Columbia. The Dawgs had a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde day….at times looking like a potential playoff team and then playing sloppily on both sides of the ball.
On defense, the Bulldogs blanketed Missouri’s wide receivers and forced three turnovers in the first half against the nation’s seventh-best offense. They held NFL prospect Drew Lock to a pedestrian day of 23 of 48 for 221 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. However, the rush defense did give up four touchdowns and 172 rushing yards.
The Dawgs got off to a sluggish start but managed a 20-7 halftime lead without an offensive touchdown. Georgia started the scoring when freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell stripped Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam of the ball and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, cornerback Eric Stokes had a spectacular blocked punt, picked it up in stride and returned it 8 yards for the Dawgs’ second touchdown.
Rodrigo Blankenship had a 44-yard field goal to cap a seven-play, 48-yard drive and nailed another from 21-yards out after linebacker Tae Crowder’s 43-yard interception return. Blankenship He missed his first field goal attempt of the season from 49 yards out in the first half and had a 38-yard attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Jake Fromm played into the fourth quarter for the first time this season and threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to Riley Ridley, 61 yards to Jeremiah Holloman and 54 yards to Mecole Hardman in the second half. After a slow first half, Fromm completed 13 of 23 passes for 260 yards and had an interception on the Dawgs’ opening drive. Junior running back Elijah Holyfield led the Dawgs on the ground with 90 yards on 14 carries. D’Andre Swift added 71 yards on 16 carries.
Linebacker D’Andre Walker led the defense with two sacks and two forced fumbles, four tackles and a pass defended. Safety J. R. Reed recorded 8 tackles and cornerback Deandre Baker shut down Mizzou’s star wide receiver Emanuel Hall.
Missouri stayed within striking distance for most of the second half but Fromm and company always had an answer. The Tigers could never get closer than 11 points after halftime as Georgia beat the Tigers for the fifth consecutive year.
The Bulldogs return to SEC action next Saturday in Athens against Tennessee. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.