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Missouri shows fight but falls to No. 4 Georgia

The explosive Tiger offense landed some shots. Georgia landed a lot more.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri (1-5, 0-4 SEC) looked competitive against No. 4 Georgia (7-0, 4-0). Really. Behind the arm of Drew Lock and speed of Emanuel Hall, the Tigers legitimately tested the Bulldogs for a little while.

Putting forth a valiant effort gave Mizzou a second straight moral victory, but it was Georgia that came away with the actual win by a score of 53-28. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm passed for a season-high 326 yards while the Bulldogs amassed 372 yards on the ground.

Barry Odom praised Georgia immediately after the game, “I think they’re as complete of a team as I’ve seen in a really long time,” Odom said. He has set reaching that level as a goal for his team, “That’s what I’m striving to get to.”

Lock led Missouri with 253 passing yards and four touchdowns while Hall caught four passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think collectively as a offense we're coming together real well,” Hall said. “I think we've really been clicking these last two weeks, but we just haven't done enough.”

Lock shared the latter half of Hall’s sentiment. “I’m not happy with how we performed,” Lock said. “That's just not good enough for us. We're not satisfied with scoring 28 points, even on that team with who they are.”

Fromm was perfect on the Bulldogs' first drive of the game, going 4-for-4 for 58 yards. Georgia moved the ball with ease on third down and scored when wideout Mercole Hardman took a 35-yard reverse for a touchdown.

Missouri had a great chance to answer on its following possession when Hall broke away from two Bulldogs in the secondary, but Lock just missed him on the deep ball. Following a spectacular one-handed interception and and 21-yard return by Cale Garrett, the Tigers had another chance.

This time Lock delivered on a four-yard shovel pass to Albert Okwuegbunam to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the opening period. Georgia wasted no time answering with an acrobatic 19-yard touchdown catch by Riley Ridley.

Then the Lock and Hall show commenced. Lock found Hall streaking down the right side of the field for a 63-yard touchdown. “I saw the safety wasn't playing me that hard so I knew that the deep ball would be there,” Hall said. “I think we did a really good job of exposing their DB’s a little bit tonight.”

After Georgia took the lead on a 36-yard Sony Michel run, the duo struck again.

Hall absolutely burned his defender for the third time in the game, and Lock hit him perfectly for yet another 63-yard touchdown. With 270 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games, it's safe to say the Tigers have found something special in this connection.

“We're making progress in a lot of areas that I was waiting to see,” Odom said. “First and second down defense was better at times, our ability to stretch the field vertically was better at times. Competitiveness, execution, and in the locker room we're where we need to be.”

NCAA Football: Missouri at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri's vertical offense was working wonders at this point — Lock had 170 yards and three touchdowns on only 10 passing attempts. Following a Georgia field goal, however, the chuck-it-and-hope strategy came back to bite the Tigers.

A head-scratching throw by Lock into double coverage was made worse when Jonathon Johnson didn't even turn around for the ball. The miscommunication resulted in a Dominick Sanders interception and 18-yard return.

Georgia capitalized on the field position with a Fromm keeper for four yards to take a 31-21 advantage. It took the Bulldogs just over 26 minutes of play to secure their first double-digit lead of the game, which is longer than many expected for the 28-point favorites. A field goal as the clock expired extended that lead to 13 points going into halftime.

As the game waned, Missouri's offense just couldn't make enough plays to counter the struggles of its defense. The secondary was picked apart by a Georgia passing attack that had averaged a mere 145.7 yards per game on the season. The front seven was decent early on, but broke down and gave up several long runs.

Missouri linebacker and Georgia-native Terez Hall stressed the importance of following defensive assignments. “You've got to stick to the scheme, you've got to do your job, you can't do extra,” Hall said. “When you do extra, you give up big plays.”

By the end of the first half, the Mizzou defense had already allowed 407 of the 698 total yards it would surrender thanks to several of those big plays.

For the first time in its 127-year history, Mizzou has allowed 30 or more points in six consecutive games. Until the defense actually starts defending, it'll be hard for the Tigers to break their losing streak.

Missouri will have another chance to do so when it hosts Idaho (2-4) at 11 a.m. on Oct. 21 in its homecoming game.

Check out Tramel Raggs’ thoughts after the game:

Missouri's offense exploited cracks in Georgia's armor but the Bulldogs created holes in the Tigers as they won 53-28. Let the discussion begin

Posted by Rock M Nation on Saturday, October 14, 2017