Had Missouri held on to defeat Georgia, it not only would have been among the most glorious triumphs in program history, it would have meant every team in the SEC East except Tennessee would have at least one loss after two league games.
But the Bulldogs rallied for a 26-22 victory, sending Mizzou to an 0-2 league start. The effort by Missouri was superb, but finishing games remains a work in progress for the team that lost a heartbreaker last week at Auburn.
Here are Missouri grades and highlights from Saturday’s game at Faurot Field.
Play of the game
Missouri running back Cody Schrader found an opening, cut back and motored 63 yards for the longest run by a Tigers running back (and longest run against the Georgia Bulldogs) this season. The run took Schrader to the 1. But a false start penalty pushed Mizzou back and the Tigers couldn’t get it in the end zone.
Player of the game
Linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper once against was a beast. He led a Missouri defense that kept Georgia from scoring on its first five possessions. Hopper finsihed with seven tackles, one for loss. He forced a fumble and was credited with a pass defended.
“That’s a dog, man,” defensive end Isaiah McGuire said. “He makes my job way more easier. He’s one heck of a player.”
Stat of the game
Missouri never trailed the team that entered the game ranked No. 1 until four minutes remained. The Tigers were bidding for the program’s first victory over a top-ranked team. Instead, they fell to 0-16 in such games.
Offense: C. There were costly penalties and the final possession, when Mizzou looked to overcome a deficit, wasn’t well executed. But the Tigers put up nearly 300 yards and scored on six possessions against one of the nation’s top defenses. Also, no turnovers.
Defense: A. Georgia didn’t get into the end zone until the fourth quarter. The Tigers attacked early and got contributions from several. Ennis Rakestraw and Daylan Carnell recovered fumbles and the TIgers came up with nine tackles for loss, including two by Jaylan Carlies.
Special Teams: A. Harrison Mevis should be considered for national weekly honors for a game in which he made five field goals, including two from over 50 yards. There were no gaffes in kick and punt returns and coverage. The only bust was Georgia executing a fake field goal. But the MU defense held and the Bulldogs eventually settled for a field goal.
Coaching: B. Eli Drinkwitz and staff got Missouri ready to play after such a crushing loss last week. His message to the Tigers after the Auburn game: “Press on.” The Tigers did just that. But Mizzou has to work on finishing games and drives. It didn’t help that, after Schrader’s 63-yard run to the 1, Missouri called for tempo. The Tigers weren’t ready and couldn’t overcome a false start penalty.
Mizzou visits Florida for an 11 a.m. kick Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Gators defeated Eastern Washington 52-17 on Sunday in a game that was moved from its original Saturday kickoff because of Hurricane Ian. Florida rolled up 666 yards of total offense.
Florida stands 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the SEC having lost to a pair of teams currently in the Top 25, Kentucky and Tennessee. The Gators opened the season with an impressive victory over Utah, an outcome that pushed Florida into the Top 25 before last week’s games.