It took No. 9 Georgia a half to get going on Saturday against Missouri. But once the Bulldogs did, they dominated the No. 25 Missouri Tigers.
The Bulldogs used a strong second-half performance to coast to an easy 49-14 victory. The win moves Georgia to 7-2 on the season while pushing Missouri to 5-4.
The 49 points were the most that Georgia has scored in a game this season. The Bulldogs finished with 615 yards of offense while limiting Missouri to only 200 yards. This was a Missouri team that had scored 41 and 50 points in its last two games, making it an impressive showing from the Georgia defense as well.
This was Georgia’s first game in two weeks after the Bulldogs had their game against Vanderbilt postponed. That game is set to be played next week, as the Bulldogs will wrap up the season at home.
Below are our observations on the game and win for the Bulldogs.
George Pickens delivers the goods
George Pickens had his breakout game last year in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor. So the big question this offseason would be how would he follow it up?
It had been a pretty down season relative to expectations for Pickens this year, as he also missed multiple games due to injury. But his performance against Missouri reminded everyone just how devasting Pickens can be when he’s on the field.
He had his first 100-yard game of the season, as the sophomore finished with 126 yards on five catches. He made his usual acrobatic catches that dazzled, including a toe-tapper that very few receivers could make.
Das a catch. Heck of a good one by George Pickens. pic.twitter.com/Fsgg0hEw1P
— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) December 12, 2020
Then he found the endzone just before halftime while somehow being interfered with. The 33-yard touchdown gave Georgia a 21-14 lead going into halftime.
George Pickens is a man amongst boys pic.twitter.com/y5SfHDxDnC
— Barstool UGA (@ugabarstool) December 12, 2020
Since Pickens looked so good in the first half, Georgia went right back to him to open the second half. And this time, Pickens ripped off a 31-yard touchdown to give him a second on the day.
When Pickens is playing as he did against Missouri, it gives Georgia that elite receiver that it seems like Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State always have. If he’s able to play as he did on Saturday on a consistent basis he will accomplish two things — he’ll help give the Bulldogs an offense that looks more like those teams mentioned above, and he’ll set himself up to make a lot of money in the NFL.
JT Daniels makes a sandwich
On Missouri’s final drive of consequence in the first half, the Tigers tied the game at 14. When they got the ball back to start the second half, Missouri found itself in a 28-14 hole.
The work of JT Daniels in the final drive of the first half and the opening drive of the second half was a big reason the Bulldogs were able to sandwich halftime with touchdowns and really take control of the game.
As covered above, the connection with Pickens was on-point, as he caught both touchdown passes. But he also had connections with Jermaine Burton and Kearis Jackson on those drives as well.
Daniels finished the game with 299 yards on 16 of 27 attempts, making it another strong and efficient game from the Georgia quarterback. Missouri made it a point to try and rough up Daniels, but he held up well against the Tigers, especially on the first touchdown pass to Pickens.
With Daniels cooking, it opened things up on the ground for Georgia so that it was able to play complementary football. With the defense having to adjust to the pass, Zamir White and the Georgia rushing attack began to go to work. White finished the game with 126 yards on 12 carries. He also had multiple explosive runs, as he ripped off runs of 36 and 43 yards.
The latter of those went for a touchdown for White.
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) December 12, 2020
When Daniels is protected and playing well, it makes everything else run smoothly. This performance only further creates wonders of what could’ve been against Florida had he played in the game.
Second half destruction of Missouri
Coming out of an uneven first half, Georgia held a 21-14 lead. On the first four possessions, Georgia went touchdown, touchdown, touchdown and touchdown.
Missouri went punt, punt, punt and punt.
By the time the Missouri offense touched the ball in the fourth quarter, the score ballooned to a 49-14 deficit. The game was over.
The Missouri offense had just 13 plays for 45 yards on those first four drives. Conversely, Georgia tight end Darnell Washington had two catches for 61 yards in the quarter. That equaled the number of catches he had and exceeded the yards he had accumulated on the season.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 12, 2020
Georgia also got its ground game going once again, as White, James Cook and Daijun Edwards all had touchdowns in the quarter. It was complete domination on the road against a top-25 team.
This was a Georgia team that didn’t have much to play for in terms of championship aspirations. And it came out and delivered its best performance of the season.
Special teams blunders hurt Georgia in opening half
Georgia’s special teams have been very good for much of the year. That was not the case in the first half.
Jake Camarda’s first two punts went for touchbacks, when the first punt had a chance of being downed at the one-yard line by Tyson Campbell.
Then Kearis Jackson muffed a punt that the Bulldogs were very lucky to recover. But Georgia’s luck ran out the next time the Bulldogs sent a special teams unit out, as Camarda had his punt blocked.
The blocked punt was recovered at the 1-yard line, and Missouri used it for an easy score to tie the game.
During the halftime interview, Kirby Smart added that the Bulldogs had two punt returns set up to get big yardage, but the Bulldogs were unable to field the punt cleanly.
The Georgia offense and defense played well enough to offset the special teams errors on Saturday, but it was an uncharacteristically bad day from the Bulldogs on that front.
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