Let’s jump back to the Kentucky post in this series real quick:
It's kind of funny to step back and take a look at Missouri's current series records with its SEC East rivals.
* Tennessee (3-2 overall, 3-2 since the SEC move)
* South Carolina (4-3, 2-3)
* Vanderbilt (3-3-1, 3-2)
* Florida (3-3, 2-3)
* Kentucky (3-4, 3-2)
* Georgia (1-5, 1-4)
Mizzou is at or very close to .500 against five of six foes.
One of these things, not like the other ones. And if the purpose of this series is to relive old wins in each series, well, there’s only one to choose from as we move to the Georgia portion of the schedule. At least it’s a pretty incredible win to relive, huh?
Missouri and Georgia have played six times, and honestly, all six have been memorable for one reason or another.
- You have the 1960 Orange Bowl, a game in which Missouri outgained Fran Tarkenton and the Dawgs, 260-216. Tarkenton was unfortunately the difference; he threw two scrambling touchdown passes, while Mizzou threw three picks to end scoring drives. UGA won, 14-0.
- The 2012 game was Missouri's first official SEC contest. It was fun as hell, at least for a while. L'Damian Washington caught a 69-yard bomb to give Mizzou a 17-9 lead in the third quarter, but UGA charged back thanks to a superhuman effort from defender Jarvis Jones (7.5 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception, and a breakup, and it felt like way more than that) and pulled away for a 41-20 win, allowing Dawg fans to chant “old man football” as the players left the field. (I was in Athens for work the next week, and a gas station was selling Old Man Football T-shirts.)
- We'll come back to the 2013 game, but 2014 was memorable for what happened afterward. Georgia won big in Columbia, 34-0, forcing Mizzou to reassess its offensive strategies. The result: heavier reliance on the run game and a six-game win streak that won the Tigers their second straight SEC East title.
- 2015 was ... well ... close ... and besides, games don't have to be good to be memorable.
- The 2016 game saw Mizzou bolt out to a 10-0 lead and cling to a 27-21 lead deep into the fourth quarter before a fourth-down touchdown and a late fumble gave the Dawgs a one-point advantage at the buzzer.
This has been a strangely road team-friendly series thus far. Georgia’s won all three games in Columbia, and Mizzou is one score from being 2-0 in Athens. There are some rivalry-worthy moments in those games, at least, but Mizzou will always have 2013.
Let’s count the plot points from the 2013 Mizzou-Georgia game, one I called Mizzou’s No. 4 SEC moment so far.
- After trading early punts, Georgia drives 86 yards and scores on a seven-yard pass from Aaron Murray to Brendan Douglas to take a 7-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
- Mizzou responds with an explosive 79-yard drive, capped by a five-yard James Franklin run, to tie the game before the end of the quarter.
- Mizzou forces a three-and-out, and one pass to Washington sets up a scoring pass to Washington. 14-7, MU.
- Tiger cornerback E.J. Gaines gets hurt. He will miss the next week’s battle with South Carolina (one in which Mizzou could have really used someone to cover Bruce Ellington).
- Georgia kicks a field goal, but a 36-yard Marcus Murphy run on third-and-5 gives Mizzou a 21-10 lead with six minutes left in the half.
- Shane Ray sacks Murray, and the ball bounces into Michael Sam’s hands. He returns it 21 yards for a score. 28-10. Georgia drives to the Mizzou 10 with 90 seconds left in the half, but Douglas fumbles, and Markus Golden recovers. Mizzou’s up 18 at half. The lead doesn’t feel even slightly safe.
- A 57-yard J.J. Green run sets up a Dawg field goal to start the second half, and Mizzou’s offense has gone into a shell. The Tigers move the chains once in two drives, and Murray finds Rontavious Wooten for a seven-yard score to make it 28-20 to end the third quarter.
- After another Mizzou punt, Georgia proceeds to drive 58 yards and scores on Murray-to-Chris Conley pass. The 2-point conversion is no good, but Mizzou’s lead is down to 28-26.
- James Franklin gets hurt. He separates his shoulder and will miss the next month. Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk enters the game and runs for six yards on third-and-six. One play later, he fires a backwards pass to Bud Sasser, who lobs the ball deep to a pretty well-covered Washington. Washington hauls in the 40-yard bomb despite defensive pass interference.
- Andrew Baggett misses the PAT. Mizzou is up only 34-26. Still a one-possession game with 9:22 left. Gulp.
- Mizzou’s defense stiffens. Golden sacks Murray to end one drive, and after Mizzou punts, Randy Ponder picks off a Murray pass at the UGA 39.
- Mauk connects on a 20-yard pass to Dorial Green-Beckham, and one play later, Henry Josey dives into the end zone to ice a 41-26 win. Kentrell Brothers picks off a pass, and Mizzou finishes the game in victory formation.
The entire game:
There was a lot going on in this game, from the injures to the momentum shifts to the sheer number of big-time plays, from a high volume of players, it took to put this game away. (I didn’t even mention, for instance, Andrew Wilson’s ridiculous linebacker play or Braylon Webb’s three pass breakups.)
The 51-28 victory over a nine-win Vanderbilt the week before had led Mizzou fans to believe their team was pretty good. But this took everything to a different level of expectation.