Missouri falls 27-0 to No. 6 Georgia for third straight loss

The Tigers forced the Bulldogs into four field goals and only allowed two touchdowns.
Georgia freshman linebacker Nolan Smith celebrates a sack in the Bulldogs' 27-0 win over Missouri. Photo by Andrew Moore

ATHENS, Ga. — One of Missouri’s strongest offensive drives ended with its worst play: a red zone interception early in the second quarter.

After picking off Taylor Powell at the 11 yard line, defensive back Richard LeCounte ran the ball all the way back to Missouri’s 18 before being stopped by Jonathan Nance.

It was the perfect opportunity for Georgia to score its second touchdown of the night, but — as it would for a large chunk of the game — Missouri’s defense bailed out its counterpart.

An incomplete pass and a 12-yard rushing loss caused by a fumble by quarterback Jake Fromm, plus a delay of game penalty pushed the Bulldogs back to Missouri’s 35 yard line. Following a short 4-yard completion to Lawrence Cager, Georgia was forced to settle for its second field goal of the night.

“If we would have given up touchdowns instead of field goals in those situations, it never would have been a game,” coach Barry Odom said. “Defensively, they hung in there and they fought and they competed.”

Missouri (5-4, 2-3 SEC) lost 27-0 against No. 6 Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC) on Saturday night inside Sanford Stadium, its third consecutive loss and first time being shutout this season. Despite the score, Missouri’s defense was its saving grace.

Sophomore linebacker Nick Bolton had his second career sack, just the fifth Georgia’s offensive line has allowed all season. The 9-yard loss was part of a drive on which the Bulldogs went three-and-out and put up negative 4 yards.

“That’s my first sack of the season, so that was important to me,” Bolton said. “I wanted to get a sack this game and I got one, so I was pretty happy about that.”

Even with the few high notes, the Tiger defense made mistakes of its own as well.

Early in the fourth quarter, Jarvis Ware was called for pass interference on George Pickens at the goal line, moving Georgia from Missouri’s 33 yard line to its 18. On the following play, Fromm found Pickens in the same corner of the end zone for the Bulldogs’ second touchdown of the night. A successful 2-point conversion pushed them to a 27-0 lead.

While Missouri’s penalty total was low compared to other games this season — just five for 47 yards — the PI call and an earlier roughing the passer call on Markell Utsey both occurred on drives that Georgia concluded with a touchdown.

As much as penalties have been a problem for the Tigers overall this season, one did save Missouri from seeing a third Georgia touchdown.

Pickens had a clear field ahead of him and ran 68 yards to the end zone on a completion from Fromm in the fourth quarter, a play that would have put the Bulldogs up by 34 points. Instead, thanks to an illegal formation call and an incomplete pass on third down, the drive ended with a punt.

Missouri’s offense did little worth noting throughout the game, failing to even get close to the end zone except for on a small handful of occasions.

One of those was near the end of the game when freshman Connor Bazelak subbed in at quarterback for Powell, leading the Tigers on a 17-play, 76-yard drive that ended in the redzone on a turnover on downs.

“Offensively, we got to get some things figured out because we’re gonna need to score some points in the last three weeks to have a chance in each one of the games,” Odom said. “We got enough playmakers to go do that and we got to find answers and get it fixed.”

Of those final three games, two take place at home and one in a neutral location. Next week’s game will end a 35-day stretch where the Tigers have not played at home. The matchup against No. 10 Florida is set for an 11 a.m. CST kickoff.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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