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Missouri hasn’t scored a TD on Georgia for 122 minutes. Probably time to change that.

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Missouri’s offense showed remarkable upside against EMU a week ago, but it’s been quite a while since the Tigers did any damage to the Georgia defense.

Nicholls v Georgia Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

On Wednesday, I said that the battle between Georgia’s offensive line and Mizzou’s defensive front could determine the outcome of Saturday evening’s game. I do believe that to a certain degree, but ... Mizzou’s still got to score. That’s been an issue against the Dawgs. The Tigers’ last touchdown against UGA was Henry Josey’s game-clincher in 2013. Their last touchdown pass came from Bud Sasser.

So yeah. Something to prove there.

Defensive line

DT

  • Trenton Thompson (6’4, 309, So.) — 8.5 tackles, 3.5 TFL (1 sack)
  • Justin Young (6’4, 278, RSFr.)
  • Michail Carter (6’3, 293, Fr.)

NT

  • John Atkins (6’4, 315, Jr.) — 1.0 tackles
  • Michael Barnett (6’4, 292, So.)
  • Tyler Clark (6’4, 305, Fr.) -- 1.5 tackles

END

  • DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle (6’4, 320, So.) -- 4.0 tackles
  • Julian Rochester (6’5, 316, Fr.) -- 2.0 tackles
  • David Marshall (6’3, 273, Fr.) — 4.0 tackles, 1 TFL (1 sack), 1 PBU

The Georgia defensive line was a question mark for me heading into the season, maybe the only one on the defense. There are blue-chippers abound, but the youth is pretty drastic and obvious. John Atkins is the only upperclassman listed above, and North Carolina was able to take advantage -- Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan rushed 16 times for 152 yards. Their opportunity rate (percentage of carries gaining at least five yards): 56%. National average: 38%.

When walking through the 2016 schedule in August, I noted that a good running game would benefit Mizzou significantly, as quite a few opponents — Georgia, LSU, maybe Florida, etc. -- were likely to be better against the pass than the run. That hasn’t really come to pass so far.

The Tigers are awesome in short-yardage, but Ish Witter, Alex Ross, and Damarea Crockett have combined for an opportunity rate of just 32%, and there haven’t been enough big plays to offset that inefficiency. We saw progress against EMU, but ... that’s EMU. This is Georgia. Trenton Thompson was dominant against Nicholls State, and Mizzou hasn’t given any indication that it will be able to move these boulders.

Nicholls v Georgia
DeQuan Hawkins-Muckle, Trenton Thompson, and other random bodies
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Linebacking Corps

SAM

  • Lorenzo Carter (6’6, 242, Jr.) — 4.5 tackles
  • D’Andre Walker (6’3, 223, So.) — 4.0 tackles

JACK

  • Davin Bellamy (6’5, 240, Jr.) — 4.5 tackles
  • Chuks Amaechi (6’3, 250, Sr.) — 1.5 tackles, 1 PBU

MIKE

  • Reggie Carter (6’1, 230, Jr.) — 5.5 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Natrez Patrick (6’3, 238, So.) — 8.0 tackles, 0.5 TFL

WILL

  • Roquan Smith (6’1, 225, So.) — 8.0 tackles, 2 TFL

I expected a bit more havoc from Georgia linebackers, but it hasn’t really come to pass yet. Freshman David Marshall is the only LB with a sack, and he’s not listed on the two-deep. That’s not to say things won’t change, of course, or that Mizzou will be able to take advantage of a more-passive-than-expected unit.

NCAA Football: North Carolina vs Georgia
Davin Bellamy
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Secondary

LC

  • Malkom Parrish (5’10, 185, Jr.) -- 6.0 tackles, 2 PBU
  • Deandre Baker (5’11, 180, So.)

LS

  • Dominick Sanders (6’0, 193, Jr.) — 3.5 tackles, 1 INT
  • Kirby Choates (6’0, 194, So.)

RS

  • Aaron Davis (6’1, 189, Jr.) — 6.0 tackles, 1 TFL (1 sack), 1 FF
  • Quincy Mauger (6’0, 206, Sr.) — 2.0 tackles

RC

  • Juwuan Briscoe (5’11, 192, So.) — 3.0 tackles, 1 INT

STAR

  • Maurice Smith (6’0, 195, Sr.) — 7.5 tackles, 2 PBU
  • Rico McGraw (6’0, 194, So.)

Mizzou would be well-advised to avoid passing downs. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky averaged just 3.2 yards per pass attempt on PDs (11-for-17 for just 55 yards), and Nicholls’ Chase Fourcade averaged just 3.6. Dawg corners have gotten hands on some passes so far, and Alabama graduate transfer Maurice Smith has shored up the secondary nicely.

Nobody’s really attempted to go deep on Georgia much, though. Trubisky was throwing mostly short, conservative passes, and if Mizzou’s line can protect Drew Lock as it has thus far, I assume he’ll be looking to go deep a good amount. It didn’t work all that well against WVU; it worked really well against EMU. We’ll see how much of that difference had to do with WVU’s secondary being much better than EMU’s, and how much had to do with Lock leaning far too heavily on J’Mon Moore in Morgantown.

NCAA Football: Nicholls State at Georgia
Aaron Davis
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams

K

  • William Ham (6’3, 180, So.) — 6-6 PAT, 3-3 FG under 40, 0-2 FG over 40
  • Rodrigo Blankenship (6’1, 191, RSFr.) — 9 kickoffs, 4 touchbacks

P

  • Marshall Long (6’2, 217, Fr.) — 7 punts, 42.2 average, 2 fair caught, 2 inside 20

KR

  • Reggie Davis (6’0, 170, Sr.) -- 3 KR, 19.3 average
  • Isaiah McKenzie (5’8, 175, Jr.) — 2 KR, 12.0 average

PR

  • Isaiah McKenzie (5’8, 175, Jr.) — 5 PR, 9.2 average
  • Terry Godwin (5’11, 185, So.)

Georgia’s return game is terrifying, even if it hasn’t had much of a chance to get rolling yet. Meanwhile, Marshall Long has been solid for a freshman punter.

Special teams could be an interesting battle to watch, actually. Both teams have upside and youth; one team or the other could generate an advantage here, and it’s not immediately clear which it will be.

NCAA Football: Nicholls State at Georgia
Isaiah McKenzie
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports