The Missouri defense collapses on Georgia tight end/running back Quayvon Hicks (48). Georgia had 58 carries for 210 yards and three touchdowns against the Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2014 at Faurot Field.
Story by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports
Photos by Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports
A Missouri offense that had been up-and-down through the first five games of the season finally exhibited some consistency Saturday. Unfortunately for the No. 23 Tigers (4-2, 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play), it was not the type of consistency head coach Gary Pinkel sought from the group.
Quarterback Maty Mauk committed five turnovers — including four interceptions —and the Missouri offense managed just 147 total yards and 10 first downs in a 34-0 loss to No. 13 Georgia (5-1, 3-1) at Faurot Field.
“If you have that stat that extreme on one side, it’s very difficult to win any any game,” Pinkel said after the game. “Five-to-nothing on turnovers — most likely you don’t have a chance to beat anybody.”
Mauk’s first miscue of the day came midway through the first quarter
when he failed to identify double-coverage. Safety Quincy Mauger grabbed the errant pass out of the air to set the Bulldogs up at the Missouri 47.
Georgia failed to capitalize on the play thanks to a Harold Brantley sack on third down, but would pick Mauk off again on Missouri’s very next possession.
A screen pass intended for Marcus Murphy bounced off the running back’s hands and into the clutches of Georgia defender Damian Swann. Seven plays later, Marshall Morgan made a 29-yard field goal to make it 6-0.
Georgia, playing without running back Todd Gurley — who was suspended Thursday for allegedly violating NCAA rules — began to find success without its star in the second quarter. Quarterback Hutson Mason scampered into the end zone on an 11-yard run and later found wide receiver Michael Bennett from nine yards out to account for the only touchdowns in the quarter.
Behind a steady diet of runs from Gurley’s replacement, Nick Chubb, and short passes from Mason, the Bulldogs took a 20-0 lead into the break. Mason finished the half 18 of 23 for 128 yards and a touchdown, while Chubb had 21 carries for 66 yards.
They was really effective,” Missouri defensive end Markus Golden said of Georgia’s dink-and-dunk passing approach. “Any time you’ve got the best pass rushing team coming at you, you’ve got to get the ball out and they did their job. They did what they were supposed to do. I guess that was part of their game plan.”
The second half wasn’t all the different than the first for Missouri.
Wide receiver Jimmie Hunt bobbled a well-thrown ball on one of Missouri’s few ventures into Georgia territory, and Mauger made his second interception of the day with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter.
A possession later, Missouri made it 45 yards — its longest drive of the day — to the Georgia 39-yard line before Mauk fired his fourth and final interception. Brendan Douglas’ 15-yard run capped off the Bulldogs’ ensuing touchdown drive.
The five turnovers were the most Missouri has committed in Pinkel’s 13-plus years with the program. Georgia possessed the ball for more than two-thirds of the game (42:23), and ran twice as many plays (87) as Missouri (43).
Mauk finished the day 9-21 for 97 passing yards, while no Tiger receiver recorded more than two receptions.
“It was a pathetic job as on offense period,” senior wide receiver Bud Sasser said. “We should never pay that bad, ever. We just didn’t come out ready to go.”
The Tigers will look to rebound on the road next week at Florida in Gainesville, Florida.