Though Tigers stop Chubb, Georgia finds a way to win

The Tigers held running back Nick Chubb, a likely Heisman trophy candidate, to 64 yards on 19 carries with no touchdowns.

Missouri knew it would need to limit big play threat, Nick Chubb, to have a shot at upsetting Georgia.

The Tigers accomplished that part. Missouri held Chubb, a Heisman trophy candidate running back, to 64 yards on 19 carries and no touchdowns. The Tigers kept him from having any significant impact on the game.

“That’s what we were focusing on all week,” defensive tackle Rickey Hatley said.

The only problem: The Tigers failed to stop the Bulldogs’ other big play threat, Isaiah McKenzie, when it mattered most.

McKenzie caught 10 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came with 1:29 left and gave No. 16 Georgia (3-0, 1-0) a 28-27 victory over the Tigers (1-2, 0-1) at Faurot Field on Saturday.

McKenzie also rushed for a 6-yard touchdown on a reverse in the first quarter.

As the Bulldogs drove down the field in the final minutes, they tried to target Aarion Penton, Missouri’s top cornerback, multiple times in the end zone. They found no success, though.

That is until Penton gave up the touchdown to McKenzie as Penton faced him one-on-one with no safety help.

“I really think I should have played off,” Penton said. “It was my mistake. I told everybody that is my fault.”

Even if Penton played off, defending McKenzie is still no easy task.

“He’s fast,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “They can do a lot of things with him — run the ball, reverse. He is a dynamic player.”

Although McKenzie showed he can run the ball, the Georgia coaching staff wanted to see their other running backs be more productive, specifically Chubb.

“We have to find other ways to run the ball, because right now we can’t run the ball the style of run we want to do,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said.

Georgia’s offense is built to run the ball, especially with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Jacob Eason impressed at times, throwing for 308 yards and three touchdowns. But he still showed signs of being a freshman quarterback, often underthrowing receivers and missing on deep ball opportunities.

Smart knows he’ll need more out of Chubb than his performance against Missouri if the Bulldogs are to find success in the tumultuous Southeastern Conference.

“It’s frustrating … because that’s what we want our identity to be, and if you can’t do that, you struggle,” Smart said. “It’s real simple in football.”

Although Georgia left frustrated with its running game, Missouri walked away the most frustrated, having stopped Chubb and still losing the game by turning the ball over five times.

"I'm hurt for our team,” Odom said. “I'm hurt we couldn't pull that one off. It would have been a great win for where we are at in our program.”

Edited by Peter Baugh | pbaugh@themaneater.com

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