At no point was I overly concerned that we would lose on Saturday as the Dawgs prevailed, 30-21, but any illusions of a blowout victory pretty much ended by the end of the 1st quarter.
1. Mizzou came to town with a very good plan. They had 2 weeks to focus on our tendencies as they had the luxury of a bye week. Extra game prep, and our annual post-Cocktail Party “potential let down” is a recipe for some strange brew. I’m not suggesting we were “flat” by any stretch, but we didn’t match the Tigers energy for much of the first half in my opinion. The crowd, from the perspective from TV, seemed to be very much involved.
2. I generally talk about the offense first during these “15 Thoughts,” but wanted to address the defensive effort. In going back and looking at some numbers do you realize that we held Mizzou to 13 points under their season average (34 per game)?
Despite their excellent bowling-ball running back Cody Schrader running for 112 yards on the day, our defense kept their offensive output roughly 100 yards below what they normally gain. The defense, ultimately, did all right. We won the total yardage battle (385 to 363), had equal first downs (21 apiece) and possessed the ball nearly a full 10 minutes longer than they did. To their credit, Mizzou held us below our offensive averages, too.
3. Are there things to clean up? Always. The “stretch” play - Mizzou consistently ran wide to our edges gave us fits all day - continues to be an issue. They didn’t run in the middle of our line so much, but Brady Cook gashed us early and often on some runs that were by design, or by reaction to a collapsing pocket. Cook is a big, fast and physical dual-threat QB with speed. Cook’s numbers weren’t gaudy (14/30, 212 yards and a touchdown). He had 39 “sack adjusted” rush yards. Two 4th quarter interceptions on the road was his demise.
4. I was shocked to see that Mizzou was “only” 5 of 13 on 3rd down (1-1 on 4th down). Their late 4th down conversion on their last possession prior to the Javon Bullard interception -when their center hiked the ball prematurely for about the 3rd or 4th time in the game - was a bit maddening. Every time their center snapped the ball early, it hit Brady Cook right in his mid-section or his hands. If any one of those are just a bit low, or a bit high, it’s probably a fumble, or forces them into a long yardage/punt situation. I’ve never seen anything like it.
5. Conversely, we were 6-13 on 3rd down - below our average of nearly 60%.
6. Nazir Stackhouse’s interception will go down in Sanford Stadium lore. There’s some debate if Smael Mondon really should have been flagged for a blindside hit, but to me he made a legal block on what became an eligible defender in that instant. I had been pretty stoic for most of the game and just watched as calmly as I could from the luxury of my big old beat-up Lay-Z-Boy. When Nazir made the pick and began rumbling down the Georgia sideline, I scared my cat to death. I think she’s still on top of the entertainment stand as I type. I need to check on her.
‘Ol Sanford rocked a bit on this one. The crowd and Nazir’s big ‘ol feet probably registered on a Richter scale somewhere on campus.
7. Mizzou picked on Daylen Everett a bunch on Saturday by design. I don’t think he played all that poorly as he was tasked to defend on an island until we changed some things on the back-end by moving some secondary guys around a bit. The touchdown pass to Luther Burden was well defended.
After today’s game Luther Burden has tied— UGA Spike Squad (@UGASPIKESQUAD) November 5, 2023
- Eugene Wilson
- Hayden Hansen
- London Humphries
- Re’Mahn Davis
- Josh Kattus
- Juice Wells
- Trevonte Rocker
For most TD receptions against UGA this year (1) https://t.co/Uj4l4bk1oq
It was a perfect thrown and a better catch by a legit 5-star receiver. Ultimately, Burden really didn’t factor into their offense much after that. His touchdown covered 39 yards. He caught only 2 more passes for 14 yards. He did ding his ankle and briefly left. Senior wide-out Theo Wease was more effective, with 5 receptions for 90 yards.
8. Julian Humphrey played a fantastic game is is becoming a very good stick-to-’em corner. The pass interference call was just one of many craptacular officiating gaffes in this game. Kamari Lassiter played very well. These guys are going to face a challenge next Saturday against Ole Miss’ big receivers.
9. Jamon Dumas-Johnson has a broken forearm and this is a big blow. He’s the captain in the middle. I read much about how he has “underperformed” this season from various other Georgia-centric sites. This is unfair and he will be missed. As Kirby says, “next man up,” so more snaps for Jalen Walker, with CJ Allen and Damon Wilson having to step up as well. Walker had great game and recorded 1 1⁄2 sacks. Zion Logue shared in the 1⁄2 sack; and Tykee Smith had a well-called blitz that forced Mizzou to kick a field goal when they were driving.
This was a big play in a big moment as Mizzou took the 2nd half kickoff and was efficiently driving deep inside our territory.
9a. What is a hold in college football anymore? Why is the facemask penalty in the rule book when it isn’t called for the 2nd week in a row? Oscar Delp had a blatant face mask that went uncalled on an excellent run and catch in front of the Mizzou bench. How does the ref miss this?
10. Carson Beck was “off” a bit, but still had another +250 yard passing game and made some key plays with his legs when he had to. His numbers weren’t especially eye-popping, but he out-performed his QB counterpart in a most critical category: No interceptions. Beck was under duress a ton in the first half and did not make any poor decisions with the ball. When he had to eat it, he did as our offensive line gave up 3 sacks. As I indicated earlier, Mizzou had a plan and it worked until it didn’t.
Through 9 games, Beck has 2716 yards and a 72.2 completion percentage with 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He remains supremely poised and confident.
11. Running the ball was tough all day, but somehow Daijun Edwards gained 77 yards on 22 carries and became better as the day wore on. Kendall Milton’s 15 yard touchdown put us ahead on our opening drive after the half and we never looked back. Mizzou had the lead twice in the game: Early in the 1st quarter and briefly at the beginning of the 3rd. We answered when we had to.
12. I thought Oscar Delp played his best overall game of the season. He drew some key penalties (should’ve been a facemask in there as well), blocked effectively and caught a low 5-yard score from Beck. Ladd McConkey led all receivers in yardage, with 7 catches for 95 yards - none bigger than Ladd’s catch for 33 yards inside the Mizzou 10 to set up Delp’s score. These guys have provided Beck an alternative to the injured Brock Bowers.
13. I thought special teams were special yesterday. The opening kickoff was mis-handled by Dillon Bell, but Brett Thorson punted very well, and Cole Speer on kick coverage made the Mizzou returner pay for a bad decision, pinning the Tigers deep. Mekhi Mews had a few nice returns and is this close to popping a long one. The special teams player of the game was Peyton Woodring. The kid is automatic since his shaky South Carolina game and his career long 48 yard kick effectively sealed the deal after the Stackhouse interception.
14. This was a gut-check win against a tough Missouri squad that scouted us well. The Dawgs didn’t play their best game of the season by far, but as was the case against every team they have trailed, never panicked. I thought we were conservative at times, playing to not make any mistakes - particularly at the end of the first half when we had the ball with time and timeouts left to burn. That was probably the prudent move considering the Tigers would receive the 2nd half kick.
A hot Ole Miss team comes to town on Saturday with a very capable offense, some huge receives and another top running back. The Rebels defense is a bit suspect. Texas A&M is offensively challenged this season, yet they racked up 457 totals yards in Oxford on Saturday in their 38-35 loss.
15. As bad as the officiating was, CBS’ coverage was worse. Rich Waltz for years was the Florida Marlins play-by-play man and I’m still trying to figure out who Clay Vandagriff is. He did, however, nail Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint’s name, so there’s that. Aaron Taylor is just plain bad. Constant babble. I actually watched this game with the volume way, way down. Also, CBS chose to cover kickoffs from near ground-level which is a really stupid production decision. I guess they’re experimenting a bit as they are about to pack up and leave for the Big 10. The entire production was 3rd class. I miss Gary. At least I did yesterday.
As for Mizzou’s Eli Drinkwitz: I admire his passion and he certainly had a few issues with the refs. On Mizzou’s last possession of the half when Cody Shrader clearly went out of bounds, the clock kept running and absolutely sent Drink into aneurism territory. But instead of bitching, why not call a time out there if you are really trying to get points late. I believe he had all 3 in his pocket. But the Mizzou coach was like a yippy dog the entire afternoon and the officials probably had enough of his yapper by the game’s end. Seems to me he should use a bit more decorum if he wants to curry favor with the refs. Anyway, he and Kirby seem to be pretty cool with each other as they embraced and talked a while after the game concluded.
This team is easy to pull for. They aren’t as talented as the the 2-time National Champions at the moment, but my goodness they are a resilient bunch of scrappers who rally around each other. I don’t know how far they’ll go, but it’s a ride worth riding until we know.
- Game Day is coming to town next week. I will “sample” a bit of it, I’m sure. But that entire production has increasingly become difficult to watch. Some of it is Pat McAfee, although he doesn’t really bother me. A lot of it is Desmond Howard. A lot of it is still their decision to axe David Pollack. The show misses him, although the ESPN suits will never admit it. Dawgs and Rebels at 7 P.M. next Saturday on ESPN. Day drinkers unite!
- I really dislike ESPN. Brett McMurphy does, too. This is quality and truth:
It’s ironic @ESPN is hammering Michigan & Jim Harbaugh for sign-stealing when ESPN continually steals & fails to credit reporters & news organizations for news ESPN didn’t break— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 4, 2023
- I bet Florida never wears black uniforms again. I’m very happy for Sam Pittman. He’s had a tough year and Arkansas’ first win ever in The Swamp is the salve that’ll soothe some tough wounds.
- In the next 3 weeks, the Gators travel to LSU, Missouri and then conclude at home vs. Florida State. They may not go bowling. In fact, I’d bet on it.
- Perhaps Texas A&M’s best defender got ejected for a crotch punch. This is a poorly coached team. Lane Kiffin continues to twist the knife into Jimbo Fisher.
- I watched Alabama go up 42-28 last night, then crashed. Bama seems to be getting their offensive mojo together, but LSU’s defense is really, really bad and from what I witnessed have a real aversion for physical football. In short, they don’t like to tackle. The hit on Jayden Daniels wasn’t so much targeting to me, but Dallas Turner looked like he intended to knock Daniels out of the game. Kid is in concussion protocol now. SEC refs: It Just Means Ignore.
"The quarterback in that position is defenseless by definition. So forceable contact initiated to the head and neck area could potentially lead to targeting."— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 5, 2023
Alabama LB Dallas Turner was penalized for this hit on LSU QB Jayden Daniels but targeting wasn't called or reviewed. pic.twitter.com/LGDr6nWQlV
- Bedlam is now a casualty of re-alignment and greed. I am very happy that Oklahoma State went out as winners.
- Could it be possible that there will be a Georgia-Oregon rematch in the CFP and we’ll have to face Bo Nix for the 9th time in his career? Hmmm....
That’s all I’ve got. As Always...