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Cassie Florido/SEC
Georgia beat Missouri 49-14 on Sunday.

Georgia football winners and losers following big win over Missouri

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Georgia football winners and losers following season-best win against Missouri

Winner: The 2021 Georgia football offense

The Georgia football offense put it all together on Saturday. JT Daniels threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to George Pickens, who had his best game of the season. Freshman tight end Darnell Washington made an appearance as he had a career-best 61 receiving yards.

In addition to the passing offense, Georgia was able to shine in the run game as well. The Bulldogs ran for 316 yards, with four different running backs finding the endzone. Zamir White topped 100-yards once again, finishing with 126 yards on just 12 carries.

It all added up to a season-best 615 yards and 49 points for Georgia in a win over No. 25 Missouri.

“It was George 1-on-1. That’s what it looks like with George 1-on-1,” Daniels said. “I’ll never overthrow George. A 50-50 ball with George is really an 80-20 ball.”

This Georgia offense has gotten better every week since Daniels entered the starting line-up. And Georgia coach Kirby Smart knows that this group still has room to grow.

“What matters is we’re playing better, and we still haven’t reached our peak,” Georgia coach Smart said. “I really feel offensively we haven’t been stopped, it’s just that we stop ourselves.”

Much of what Georgia’s offense looks like in 2021 will depend on what Daniels does regarding the NFL draft. He said after the game he hasn’t given much thought to it. White and James Cook also have decisions to make regarding their NFL futures as well.

But if Daniels and some combination of White and/or Cook return, Georgia has the weapons to be an elite offense. It took some time for it to come together in 2020, too long perhaps given the loss to Florida, but Georgia’s offense really seems to have turned the corner and looks like an offense that can compete against Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

Loser: Florida

As good of a day as Georgia had on Saturday, it got even better when Florida’s College Football Playoff chances were de-cleated by LSU.

By now you know about Marco Wilson tossing a shoe to extend LSU’s final drive. And that Florida coach Dan Mullen was once again trying to move the goalposts after a loss, suggesting Florida should’ve played fewer games to help its playoff positioning.

Either way you look at it, Saturday was a brutal day for the Gators. All they had to do was keep their eye on the ball and beat an under-manned LSU team that had just 54 scholarship players to keep alive their playoff hopes.

Related: Social media thrilled with Georgia’s big win, Florida’s stunning loss

Now they’ll head to Atlanta to take on an Alabama team that is destroying everything in its path. The loss for Florida is just another example that the Gators and Mullen aren’t quite there yet with the national elite. Should the Gators lose, they’d finish the 2020 season with more losses than Georgia in what was a down year for the Georgia program.

No doubt Mullen and the Gators will be kicking themselves for what happened on Saturday all offseason.

Winner: Georgia defense

The performances against Alabama and Florida will stick with Georgia’s defense for a while. Neither performance was all that good and they’d say as much.

That being said, the Georgia defense stepped up and delivered on Saturday. The Bulldogs held Missouri to 200 yards of offense, its lowest output of the season. Running back Larry Rountree had just 16 yards on 14 carries, his worst game of the season.

The Tigers scored 91 points in their previous two games. The Tigers had just one scoring drive longer than 10-yards against the Georgia defense. Eric Stokes recorded an interception, his fourth of the season for the Bulldogs.

“It was big. It started it off right,” Smart said of the play. “I thought that was probably one of the keys to the game, to get the juice flowing a fit and come out offensively and punch them right there early.”

Related: WATCH: Georgia’s Eric Stokes sparked hot start in cold-weather win at Missouri

With Georgia holding a 21-14 lead coming out of halftime, the defense cranked it up even more. Missouri’s first four drives of the half went punt, punt, punt and punt. On those drives, Missouri had just a single first down.

It should not be lost that the Bulldogs had Jordan Davis back from injury against the Tigers. There’s also the chance Georgia gets back Richard LeCounte in some form this week against Vanderbilt.

Loser: Auburn’s next head coach

Gus Malzahn got paid $21 million on Sunday to not coach Auburn anymore. Nice gig if you can get it for Malzahn.

This was not a great season for the Tigers, as they finished 6-4 following a win over Mississippi State on Saturday. In Malzahn’s eight years at Auburn, he went 68-35. He never had a losing season and won 66 percent of his games as the head coach.

Evidently, that wasn’t good enough for Auburn. Malzahn did have his warts — he was 0-12 in road games against Georgia, LSU and Alabama — but he also had three wins over Nick Saban. The rest of the conference right now has just one.

Auburn is one of the most difficult jobs in the country and it just gave a ton of money to Malzahn in hopes of building something better.

The candidates to know for the opening are Liberty’s Hugh Freeze, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Billy Napier and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Freeze no doubt figures to be the favorite given his past success in the SEC at Ole Miss.

But when a school like Auburn pays that kind of money to not have Malzahn coach anymore, it expects the next guy to do even better. Whoever that it is going to have a tough task given what Auburn’s schedule looks like every year.

Winner: Brock Vandagriff

Lost in Georgia’s big weekend was what one future Bulldog did on Friday night. Quarterback commit Brock Vandagriff led his team to a resounding 38-0 win to advance in the GHSA state playoffs.

Vandagriff was excellent on the night, tossing for 296 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Two of those came on the ground. His final completion of the night was his best throw, a 43-yard completion on a perfectly placed dime.

The win avenges a 62-57 loss to the very same team, Eagles Landing Chrisitan Academy, from a season ago. Eagles Landing Chrisitan Academy had also won the previous five state titles at the classification, making Vandagriff and Prince Avenue Christian Academy’s win all the better.

“This is for sure the biggest win of my Prince career and football career,” Vandagriff said. “Someone here he always keeps our records at Prince and he said this is the biggest game in school history, and we just got after them so everyone is just hyped up, but we know our main focus is the state championship. This is just another stop on the revenge tour I guess.

A few of Vandagriff’s future Georgia teammates were on hand to take in parts of the game and they no doubt had to be encouraged by what they saw.

Vandagriff will be signing with Georgia next week and bringing some of that playmaking ability to the Georgia quarterback room. The Bogart, Ga., native is the No. 14 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting cycle and a 5-star quarterback.

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