Georgia football fans showed up for homecoming Saturday and a soccer match broke out.
This game was all about throwback. The score, my location… I thought it fitting that I spent two hours at Arlington Cemetery pregame.
I found myself back in Washington DC where I lived right after I graduated from UGA. Four months after I moved here, Mark Richt came to Athens from Tallahassee.
Gary Pinkel is the only coach in the SEC that has been at his school as long (2001) as Richt, though he and Missouri joined the SEC in 2012. He also has the most wins of any Missouri coach (116); Richt, of course, is number two after Vince Dooley. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing during this trip.
I was very sad to miss Homecoming in Athens, but a couple of days of sightseeing after a work trip in one of my favorite cities, Washington D.C., was too hard to pass up. I found a barstool at Crystal City Pub, one of the UGA game-watching hangouts in the area. I didn’t have enough money to hang out here to watch games 15 years ago. I knew I wasn’t in the South anymore because they served Pepsi products and everyone was watching Michigan-Michigan St game when I walked in. My rule of thumb is if the tea is served sweet without asking, you’re in the South. I did find a Pitt fan, so I congratulated him on the victory over Tech. He had to bring up Marino to Brown. Grrrr…
Like last year, the Dawgs went into the game with uncertainty about running back. Last year, it was due to Todd Gurley’s suspension. This year, a season-ending injury for Nick Chubb. Gurley came back to Athens for Homecoming and show his support for Chubb.
Like last week, the game started off disastrous for the Dawgs as Greyson Lambert’s tipped pass was intercepted and almost ran back for a touchdown.
After seeing Jake Ganus stop Missouri at the 1-yard line, you have to wonder how rough our defense would look if UAB hadn’t gotten rid of their football program for six months. Ganus had really saved our whatchamacallits (thanks Larry) a few times this year. The defense is what kept us in this game though. It could have easily have been 14-0 after the interception and a stuffed run on 4th-and-1 to give Missouri the ball in great field position at their own 45. Missouri ended up with just one field goal despite the Dawgs gift-wrapping those two possessions for the Tigers in the first quarter.
John Atkins sat out the game with an injury, so true freshman Trenton Thompson started at defensive tackle, and he absolutely leveled Missouri’s Drew Lock in the first quarter. Lock, a true freshman made his third start of the year at quarterback, but his first on the road, at a (sometimes) daunting SEC venue. His only win was against the despondent Gamecocks. As a matter of fact, Missouri’s only offense in the first quarter was the passing game, 50 yards on 3 passes. They had -7 yards rushing thanks to a couple of sacks.
By the end of the first quarter, Missouri also had just one first down, but they had already scored more than they had all game last year, thanks to the field goal off Lambert’s interception.
We always have a couple of head scratchers once a game or so, and the failed onside kick in the second quarter was definitely one of them. My fellow Dawg fans at Crystal City Sports Pub and I agreed: only Georgia would get the ball to go nine and a half yards on an onside kick.
Greyson Lambert looked off yet again – holding on to the ball too long, and narrowly missing several interceptions because Missouri’s defenders aren’t good receivers. The first half stats didn’t show it -13/19 for 132 yards, but the completions were mostly short passes with YAC, and the incompletions were the near interceptions.
On Missouri’s field goal drive to end the first half, Lock looked all-world as he threw five passes for 80 yards, reminding us just how young the Georgia secondary is, as we saw the last two weeks against Tennessee and Alabama.
The second half didn’t start much better. Lambert continued to look lost while passing, or trying to pass, then got sacked on a 3rd-and-long. Domenick Sanders got called for targeting and will have to sit out the first half of the Cocktail Party. Trent Thompson got rolled up by one of our own.
The tables finally turned when Barber had a beautiful punt, and Malcolm Mitchell had enough time to get downfield and cover it, and forced the fumble. We still couldn’t get a vertical passing game going, and had to rely on a mix of Brendan Douglas, Sony Michel and Keith Marshall. For some reason, we got the ball to the five-yard line for 1st and goal, and completely abandon the pass, and of course, Lambert threw one of his perfectly timed almost interceptions. Thank goodness for the review.
The defense, the beautiful defense, kept the game close for Georgia. Lock showed his freshman status when he was called for intentional grounding late in the 4th quarter.
Players out: John Atkins, though Thompson did a stand-up job, Jordan Jenkins, Isaiah McKenzie, and of course, Nick Chubb. We also missed Domenick Sanders for most of the second half for a targeting call, because it wouldn’t be a UGA game without a targeting call.
Terry Godwin had a great game, as did Malcom Mitchell. Mitchell saved what should have been a touchdown for Missouri on the first play from the line of scrimmage. He also forced the fumble after Barber’s fantastic punt.
We have scored three offensive touchdowns all month. We had the ball for 38:55 of the game, Lambert went 23/32 for 178 yards and somehow, just one turnover, and we still didn’t score a touchdown the entire game. That was as anti-climactic as you can get – winning on a field goal, and then an intentional grounding. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed with a win. Kudos to anyone that watched any of that game, and apologies at the same time. It was horrible.
Original post on Fansided