COLUMBIA, MO. — Well, the Jacob Eason Era is off to a good start for Georgia.
In his second start as the Bulldogs’ quarterback, the true freshman from Lake Stevens, Wash., led his team on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive and hit Isaiah McKenzie with a 20-yard, game-winning touchdown pass for 28-27 victory over Missouri. Eason finished the night 29-of-55 passing for 308 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
Kirby Smart becomes the first Georgia coach since Joel Hunt in 1938 to start his career 3-0. The No. 16 Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) travel to Ole Miss next Saturday.
Dominick Sanders forced a fumble and Juwuan Briscoe recovered the loose ball on Missouri’s final possession to ensure a UGA victory.
- Stars of game: McKenzie caught 10 passes for 122 yards and scored two touchdowns, including the game winner with 1:29 to play. He also had 19 yards on two rushes and 25 yards on two punt returns. … Senior safety had two interceptions.
- Turning point: Georgia’s Quincy Mauger was awarded an interception in the Missouri end zone after instant replay review to keep the Tigers’ from extending their lead midway through the fourth quarter. It was the senior safety’s second interception of the game. He also had two interceptions the last time UGA visited Missouri.
- Questions answered: The mystery is over. Eason is Georgia’s quarterback now. And the true freshman from Lake Stevens, Wash., looks like a very promising one. Despite a costly interception early in the third quarter, he played well most of the night, in the first half in particular. He had 265 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-47 passing heading into the game-winning drive. But he had only 46 yards in the second half before then.
- Questions looming: Georgia’s defense has a lot of issues to solve with the hurry-up spread before heading to Oxford to face Ole Miss next Saturday. The Rebels throw it around even better and move even quicker behind quarterback Chad Kelly. Missouri’s Drew Lock had 358 yards passing and the Tigers had 453 yards overall.
- Statistically speaking: Well, Nick Chubb is human, and Georgia’s offensive line is unable to do much to help him. The Bulldogs’ star tailback was held under 100 yards for the second consecutive game and to less than 4 yards per carry for only the second time in his career (3.3). He had 63 yards on 19 carries and Georgia had just 101 as a team.
- What it means: Georgia still has a shot at making this a special season. This was the first in a four-game SEC gauntlet which will take the Bulldogs to Ole Miss next week, home versus Tennessee and back out on the road to South Carolina. To have lost this one could’ve spelled trouble.