Tigers not thinking about last Georgia game

No. 25 Missouri beat No. 7 Georgia in Athens to burst onto the national scene last season.

When a game is over, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel doesn’t like to revisit it.

He’ll look at film of a game for scouting purposes, sure. But he won’t watch it just to relive it.

“I don’t look back a lot,” Pinkel said. “I just don’t. I don’t watch the game on TV. I never go back and look at any game on TV that we played — never. The season’s over. I just don’t do it.”

He said Monday that he didn’t want to talk about the Tigers’ most recent game, against South Carolina — a Mizzou comeback that featured mostly ugly offensive play. But Pinkel holds the same principle when it comes to Missouri’s game last year against Georgia, which saw a trick play converted for a 40-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Bud Sasser as then-No. 25 Mizzou beat then-No. 7 Georgia in Athens, 41-26.

Pinkel and his players said they aren’t thinking about the game that brought them into last year’s national conversation as they prepare to play the No. 13 Bulldogs this Saturday at Memorial Stadium, 364 days since the teams last squared off.

“You got two different teams,” he said. “We got a bunch of guys that left. They got a bunch of guys that left. You got two different football teams.”

Perhaps the biggest difference from last year’s matchup isn’t who Georgia lost, but who the Bulldogs return: junior running back Todd Gurley.

Gurley missed three games last season with injuries, including the Bulldogs’ matchup with Mizzou. That won’t be the case Saturday.

Gurley leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards (773) and rushing touchdowns (8) for a Georgia offense that’s second in rushing yards in the conference behind Arkansas.

The first question the media asked Pinkel on Monday was regarding Missouri's plan to stop the running back.

“You made that a very depressing-type question,” Pinkel said. “You’re not going to stop him. What you’re going to do is you’re going to try and contain him.”

With four-year starter Aaron Murray gone at quarterback, the Tigers won’t have to worry as much about Georgia’s passing game as they did last season. Murray’s replacement, senior Hutson Mason is fourth in the SEC in completion percentage (68.3) but is 12th in the conference in passing yards per game (137.4).

“Murray — you can tell he just ran the whole offense,” senior defensive end Markus Golden said. “Mason, he (is) a good player, but I don’t think he (is) the same as Murray.”

On the other side of the ball, junior center Evan Boehm said the Bulldogs’ defense looks “just as good if not better” than it did last season.

Georgia was supposed to return all 11 of its defensive starters from last year, but dismissed five defensive players from the team during the offseason, including starting safeties Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons. Still, the Bulldogs have managed to be fourth in the conference in yards allowed per game and are giving up fewer yards in their first five games so far this season than they did last year during the same stretch.

“With everything going on in the SEC — all the teams taking losses — we gotta focus up on just winning one game in a week, just trying to reach our ultimate goal, which is the SEC East,” senior running back Marcus Murphy said. “Georgia’s just another team in our way this week.”

Still, while the Tigers don’t want to give extra weight to their upcoming opponent despite last year’s game, they said Georgia might not have the same fresh mindset.

“Of course, anytime that you have a tough loss at home you gotta look for revenge,” Boehm said. “That’s college football.”

Having spent the past weekend on a bye, Missouri had a extra week to prepare to stifle Georgia’s vengeful effort. As for whether Mizzou offensive coordinator Josh Henson and the Tigers worked on another trick play during that time, Murphy was mum.

“Coach Henson might have a couple of tricks up his sleeve,” Murphy said. “If (he) does, I’m pretty sure it’ll work.”

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