ATHENS — The Georgia Bulldogs can play a little offense, too.
Actually, a lot of offense, 696 yards worth.
Riding on the strength of one of the nation’s top defenses this season, the No. 4-ranked and undefeated Bulldogs showed Saturday they could score a little as well. And they needed to. They found themselves in a track meet against pass-happy Missouri, but managed to outrun their resilient visitors, 53-28, before a sellout crowd of 92,746 at Sanford Stadium.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 7-0 for the first time since the 2005 season. They’ll have next weekend off before traveling to Jacksonville to take on Florida on Oct. 28. With No. 4 Clemson’s loss to Syracuse on Friday, UGA will likely move up in the polls before then.
Even Georgia’s offense looked a little different Saturday. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was throwing the ball all over the field in this one. He had the best passing night of his short career by the second quarter as Georgia rolled up 407 yards in the first half alone and rallied to pull ahead 34-21 by halftime. Fromm had 250 yards passing at that point. Georgia would have finished with 700 yards of total offense had Fromm not taken a knee on the game’s final snap.
The downside on Saturday was Missouri was able to exploit Georgia’s secondary, too, especially in the first half. Twice wide receiver Emanuel Hall got open on deep sideline routes, each of which resulted in 63-yard touchdowns. Tigers’ quarterback Drew Lock passed for 173 yards in the first two quarters and their 21 points was more than Georgia had allowed in a whole game all season.
But this was game was all about the offensive fireworks, and the Bulldogs provided most of those. In fact, three different UGA players managed to hurdle Missouri defenders on long gains — Nick Chubb, Charlie Woerner and D’Andre Swift. Unfortunately, Swift’s highlight-reel run was wiped out by an illegal motion penalty.
Speaking of highlights, Georgia’s tailbacks were getting in the act, too. Entering the fourth quarter, Chubb (70), Swift (96) and Sony Michel (86) were all closing in 100 yards rushing each, at which time the Bulldogs had 298 as a team. They had almost a perfect balance of 311 yards rushing and 326 passing midway through the fourth quarter when it moved toward running out the clock.