[youtube]Insert video URL or ID here[/youtube]peIt wasn’t a pretty win for the Georgia Bulldogs as they rallied for their first SEC win of the season against Missouri. The Bulldogs squeaked by at the last minute to win 28-27. It was a match up between two first-year head coaches and it was a battle. Coach Kirby Smart got the upper hand after turnovers and penalties cost Barry Odom’s team.
The game was an improvement for Georgia in some areas. It was a tough road game for them and it was a another test for the young team.
Georgia Game Grades:
Overall Offense: B
The overall offense played well. Jacob Eason and Isaiah Mckenzie lead the way for the Bulldogs to seal the deal and win. Without those two, the game would have not ended with the same result.
— GATA Dawgs (@BassinDawg) September 18, 2016
However, there are still some weak areas for Georgia on offense.The unit must come together and find a rhythm if they want to continue on the winning streak they have.
Offensive Stat of the Game: 18 First Downs Passing. This offense is used to getting their first downs running the ball. However, it was the opposite against the Tigers. Georgia established the passing game and leveraged it to keep drives alive.
Eason stepped up in this ball game and proved his value to the team. Eason completed 29 of 55 passes (52.7%). He threw for three touchdown passes and one interception. There were some mistakes early with a intentional grounding penalty and the interception. But those should be expected with starting a true freshmen quarterback.
Jacob. Eason. Grown man throw. pic.twitter.com/HUIQz5qfBC
— Jake Reuse (@ReuseRecruiting) September 18, 2016
Overall he looked very poised and put together. He seemed comfortable in the pocket even though he was sacked four times. He made smart decisions through out the game. The only thing that he struggled with was getting the long pass to fall just right for him. He was inconsistent — both long and short — on his deep passes.
That will come with experience, but it’s nice to see that Georgia is finally able to utilize the pass.
Running Backs: C+
The running backs could not get anything going against the tough Missouri defensive line. Both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel struggled to get the run game going. The Bulldogs had 101 yards rushing overall. It was the second game in a row where Chubb did not get at least 100 yards after having a 15 game streak (not counting the game he was injured last season). He rushed for 64 yards and no touchdowns. Michel rushed for 46 yards. Both backs blocked well when needed, but when there is that much talent in the running back sector, they need to run the ball better.
The receivers still had some issues this week. However they looked improved from last week. There were nine different receivers targerted. However, Mckenzie had the biggest night and was Eason’s primary target. He had 10 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Christian Payne also caught a touchdown pass. He had five receptions for 41 yards.
Offensive Line: D+
The offensive line struggled again for the second week in a row. They allowed four sacks. This is one of the biggest weaknesses for the Bulldogs. They cannot seem to get together as a unit to protect Eason. Tyler Catalina was one of the biggest problems on the line. He missed his block multiple times, resulting in two of the sacks. There were some improvements, but not enough.
However, it is still an extremely weak area for the Bulldogs. The deeper that Georgia gets into conference play, this is a must fix, because the defensive lines in the next few weeks will be some of the toughest Georgia faces.
The defense overall didn’t play horrible, but they were not perfect by no means. They allowed 471 yards of offense. Granted the rush defense showed up, they only allowed 95 yards. Yet the pass defense is what really struggled. Granted they were playing against a very good quarterback and group of receivers but it is no excuse.
Defensive Stat of the Game: Causing 5 turnovers. The defense made three interception and recovered two fumbles for the game.
Defensive Line: B+
The Defensive line played a very good game. They held the rush to under a 100 yards. Yet they are still having a hard time putting pressure on quarterbacks. However, Trent Thompson and John Atkins both played well. The line wasn’t outstanding or horrible, it is just another area for Georgia to tweak with and perfect.
The linebackers had another non memorable week. However, Natrez Patrick led the team in tackles. He recorded nine tackles for the game. The linebackers need to become more aggressive in the next few weeks in the want to continue competing for contention.
The defensive backs struggled against this strong pass focused team. They gave up 376 passing yards. Yet they did redeem themselves by picking off Drew Lock three times. They forced turnovers when they mattered. Quincy Mauger recorded two of the three interceptions. Juwan Brisco had an interception, his second of the season, that he returned 18 yards. Brisco also forced a fumble and recovered two others.
The defensive backs may have given up a lot of yards and allowed touchdowns, yet they played well enough to help win the game.
Special Teams: C-
The special teams is one of Georgia’s biggest weaknesses.
The special team struggled the entire game. Kicker William Ham missed two field goals, one from 23 yards and the other from 38. This is something that Georgia isn’t use to having occur, especially in years past.
The special teams only kicked it in the end zone once on kickoffs. This is something else that needs work. Georgia averaged 57.4 yards a kickoff while Missouri averaged 65 yards a kickoff.
It is time to try a new kicker out for field goals, Ham is a weakness. When the time to kick a field goal comes there has to be a guy out there that can make it. The kickers have to be able to keep composure and Ham looked nervous.
The special teams for Georgia has to improve. They need less mistakes and better kicks. The only upside to the special teams this week was Mckenzie being smart with the ball and the fact that we didn’t miss a PAT.
The Bulldogs rallied together to win against Missouri. However, there is still a lot of work to do. Smart must improve his overall team and continue to improve his young quarterback. Eason did a great job managing the clock in this game and mentally was able to win a game where they were down until the last minute and thirty seconds.
Georgia has to keep improving him and helping improve the wide receivers. Along with getting the offensive line blocking and improving. They came together and won the game, they did everything they could.
They continue their road game trek with a trip to Oxford, Mississippi next Saturday to take on an Ole Miss team for a 12pm kickoff on ESPN.