The weather conditions in Columbia, Mo., were not optimal. Quarterback JT Daniels recognized that Missouri had a good pass rush, while Kirby Smart was aware of Missouri’s top-ranked third-down defense.
And none of that seemed to matter for the Georgia offense as it rolled up a season-best 615 yards to go along with 49 points.
JT Daniels threw for 299 yards. The Bulldogs saw four different running backs scored touchdowns. George Pickens had his best game of the season.
Tight end Darnell Washington even made an appearance in the passing game. Smart called it the most-balanced performance of the season for Georgia.
Daniels noted that everything seemed to come together for the first time since he took over as the starting quarterback.
“I said that was our first real complete game. Mississippi State throwing, didn’t run it like we wanted to,” Daniels said. “South Carolina, more of a statement game, we came out and tried to run it. Today, we threw when the look said to throw and ran when the look said to run.”
Smart loved the way his team practiced earlier in the week, saying the Monday and Tuesday practices were the best of the season for the Bulldogs.
It was the third straight win for Georgia. It was also the third consecutive game the Bulldogs topped 30 points. Daniels has been under center for all three of those games for the Bulldogs.
Smart made sure to credit Daniels after the win and praised his accuracy. The Georgia quarterback went 16 of 27 for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
But the Georgia head coach also gave another reason as to why Georgia’s offense seems to have turned a corner.
“Everyone is playing in Coach Monken’s system for the ninth game,” Smart said. “The freshmen are growing up. I’m also going to recognize George Pickens being healthy. Warren McClendon being an older tackle. Jermaine Burton growing up. Darnell Washington growing up.”
Smart wasn’t worried about who gets the credit when it comes to Georgia’s improving offense. He’s mostly glad the unit is improving, especially after the three-game stretch against Alabama, Kentucky and Florida.
And he thinks that this group has room to get much better as well.
“They’re hearing plays and concepts for the 50th time instead of the fifth time,” Smart said. “What matters is we’re playing better and we still haven’t reached our potential. I feel like offensively we haven’t been stopped unless we stop ourselves.”
Following the loss to Florida, Georgia was pretty much out of the national title and SEC championship discussion. Many wondered where Georgia’s motivation would be, given this is a school that is accustomed to competing for those titles.
The Bulldogs have responded by winning three straight games, with the offense improving in each one. Should Daniels come back — something he said he hasn’t put much thought into after the win over Missouri — the offense figures to be in a really good spot in 2021.
The offense that was so heavily scrutinized for much of Smart’s tenure is looking more and more like what Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson have. Those questions will still exist until Georgia does what it did against Missouri against one of those aforementioned teams.
But the Bulldogs pretty clearly have the confidence now to possibly do that with Daniels under center.
“At the end of the day,” Smart said. “Those kids showed up to play and play physical and play fast, and they practiced hard all week when, across the country, that’s not happening in every place. I’m proud of the way those guys handled it.”
Kirby Smart recaps win over Missouri
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