This Is Our Year – Missouri
Good morning, y’all. Well early morning games are always a test for everybody. Back in the “good old days” a noon kickoff would spark an internal debate as to whether to try to get a couple of hours of sleep or just stay up and nap after the game. Fortunately this year’s noon start with the Tigers from Missouri posed no such problems, other than my normal game day jitters.
I will say that it didn’t help my nervous condition any that we’ve actually got two sets of Missouri supporters here at TackyToo. I guess I can’t fault them for trying to improve their lot by becoming Georgians, but they should change their team loyalty when they get their Georgia driver’s license, IMHO.
The game started out innocent enough. Georgia won the toss and deferred. Missouri promptly took the ball and drove to the Missouri 45 and then punted. Georgia reciprocated by driving to the Georgia 34 before punting. Not the most auspicious of starts. Ratcheting it up a notch, Missouri took our punt and drove to our 34 before launching a field goal. Nine minutes left in the first quarter and Missouri is in the lead 3 to 0. The Missouri transplants are grinning like a mule eating briars. I am not amused.
It was either a struggle by two teams that hadn’t gotten the cobwebs out of their eyes yet, or Georgia was poised to have one of our classic letdowns to a lesser opponent. Fortunately the offense picked up a little spark on the ensuing kickoff and drove systematically to the Missouri 35. Showing the beast was now very much awake, Stetson Bennett took a 4th and 6 situation to hit Arian Smith in the endzone for a touchdown. Georgia up 7 to 3 at the end of the quarter.
We begin the 2nd quarter by blocking a Missouri punt that ended in a safety. Should have been a defensive touchdown but our guy couldn’t quite get the handle on the ball. We come back with another quick strike touchdown and before you know it we’re up 26 to 3 at the half. The cobwebs appeared to have cleared and the defense is getting it dialed in. I’m feeling pretty good and our Missouri transplants are talking about going to Walmart before all of the blue light specials have been picked over.
The unresolved questions now appear to be will Georgia cover the 38 point spread the gamblers have calculated, and will we see JT Daniels? The answers are “no” and “yes”.
The 2nd half opens with a little onside kick trickeration that backfires and before you know it we’re back in their endzone again. Georgia 33, Missouri 3. The offense is starting to play like they’re tired about hearing how good the defense is. Well, they’ve still got a ways to go in my opinion, but they’re getting there. The mercy police come out and we just score ten more to make the final Georgia 43 to 6, one point less than the spread.
Stetson Bennett was rocking. He was 13 of 19 for 255 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Fun fact, with 19 attempts Stetson was able to meet the criteria to be ranked as the 3rd best quarterback in college football. Cool beans. JT did get to play and added 7 of 11 for 82 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. It appears that we have two credible quarterbacks.
Running Back U. combined for 168 yards on 33 attempts. James Cook led the day with 41 yards followed closely by Kearis Jackson who gained 37 yards on a jet sweep. The 8 rushers combined for 2 touchdowns which was more than enough to stymie the Tigers.
Not to be outdone, the Georgia receiving corps posted a whopping 337 yards on 20 receptions. The 16.9 yard average catch was shared by 11 different receivers and accounted for 3 touchdowns. This game plan may be a subtle message to teams attempting to stop Georgia’s runners by loading the box. An offshoot of that warning has to be watching for runners coming out of the backfield. Kenny McIntosh’s one handed catch on the wheel route was a thing of beauty and responsible for a 31 yard gain. Future opponents, be careful what you wish for.
I will admit to a little bit of trepidation on Missouri’s first couple of series. Going down 3 to 0 in the first quarter is not something we Georgia fans are used to. Gratefully the boys got a chance for their second cup of coffee to take hold while the offense was mounting their drive. I was wondering if the loss of Adam Anderson might pose a problem for the boys, even if it was only psychological, but after the first quarter, it was all “Junkyard Dawgs”. The defense held the Tigers to 273 yards of total offense, which is very commendable when you consider how deep in the roster we were by the end of the game. The goal line stand at the end of the game by the 4th string was a thing of beauty. We are going to test the adage, offense wins games but defense wins championships.