ATHENS — From Greyson Lambert’s early throws into double coverage to crucial penalties, numerous mistakes contributed to UGA’s problems throughout its 9-6 victory over Missouri on Saturday night.
The errors started early when Lambert was picked off by Ian Simon on the first play from scrimmage. He returned it to 1, but UGA’s defense forced a field goal in what became a defensive grind.
That set the tone for the game.
“Every game, we feel like we need to make any score hold up,” linebacker Jake Ganus said. “We need to hold them when the offense struggles. This is a team game. This is a team sport. The offense faced some adversity and the defense answered.”
Lambert struggled with his accuracy, even though he was 23-of-32 for 178 yards.
He appeared to throw another interception near Missouri’s goal line in the third quarter, but replays showed the ball hit the ground.
Still, the Bulldogs couldn’t reach the end zone and settled for Marshall Morgan’s game-tying 24-yard field.
“I felt like we were able to move the ball here and there,” Lambert said. “We had some drives that did not end the way we wanted them to. We just were not able to keep them alive. We had a first down there, a first down there, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Plenty of other mistakes contributed to UGA’s problems, even in the kicking game.
The Bulldogs attempted an onside kick after Morgan’s 29-yard field goal in the second quarter, but his roller went only nine yards, one short of the necessary 10 for kickoffs. Missouri took possession at Georgia’s 44, but was forced to punt.
Morgan’s most critical error, however, came with 5:40 left in the game, when he missed a 26-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Bulldogs a 9-6 lead.
“We’re going to focus on the kick he made, not on the one he missed,” running back Sony Michel said. “The one he made won the game.”
Left tackle John Theus had a particularly tough game against Missouri’s defense, which entered 11th in the FBS in total defense (275.8 yards a game), 18th in sacks (3.0) and 24th against the rush (112.7).
His woes began in the second quarter, when he was called for a false start on third-and-1 at Missouri’s 43. That pushed UGA into a third-and-6 and Lambert was sacked for a 2-yard loss on the next play, which forced a punt.
On UGA’s first possession of the second half, Theus was called for holding that wiped out Michel’s 8-yard run and a first down at the UGA 47. Two plays later, the Bulldogs had to punt.
Theus then allowed Missouri defensive end Charles Harris to blow past him and sack Lambert for a 10-yard loss with about five minutes left in the third quarter.
“It’s not going to be pretty all the time, but the victory is pretty,” coach Mark Richt said. “Sometimes the toughest ones are the best ones.”