Georgia walked onto Faurot Field on Saturday ranked No. 2 in the country, and for good reason.
The Bulldogs excel on both sides of the ball, and their run-defense is a huge part of that. Through the first three games of the season, their front seven allowed an average of just 101 yards on the ground and had yet to give up a rushing touchdown.
Missouri made sure they wouldn’t walk away saying the same thing.
The running back trio combined with Drew Lock for 172 rushing yards and all four of the Tigers’ touchdowns, and the unit kept Missouri in this one offensively on a day when the passing game was inconsistent at best.
Damarea Crockett’s play against Georgia was the most encouraging of all. Sure, his 67 yards were six less than his season high, but he did it on six less attempts against a defense many expected to dominate the run.
The ground game was never going to come easy for the Tigers. The longest run of the game was a 16-yarder from Crockett while Lock had the only touchdown run of more than ten yards, but the backs ground out the yards when it counted.
Crockett led the unit with a season-high 5.2 yards per carry, the first time that number sat above 4.0 this season for the junior. Add in another 83 yards and two touchdowns from Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie, and the rushing unit left Saturday with a reassuring performance against the Bulldogs.
Lock drops another game to a top team
That number represents Lock’s current record against ranked teams in his career at Missouri. Taking it a step further, Lock is now 2-19 against teams with winning records.
Now, a lot of variables play into that record, and Lock has definitely done enough throughout his time in Columbia for the Tigers to have had more success against winning teams. But it’s very interesting (and honestly surprising) to see that record sit so low.
Lock statistically had his worst game of the season against Georgia, but he really didn’t have a bad performance in the context of the game. He recorded season-lows in passing yards (221), completion percentage (47.92) and passer rating (82.4), but again, it came against the second-best team in the country.
He also threw his second interception of the season — an interception that undoubtedly wasn’t his fault — and was held without a passing touchdown in a game for the first time since a 35-3 loss to Purdue in 2017. As had been expected, Lock had some struggles against one of the top defenses in college football.
This isn’t a knock on Lock’s ability as a quarterback. He is still one of the nation’s best and a possible Heisman candidate. Head coach Barry Odom said — as he should have — that he wouldn’t take any other quarterback over Lock.
Moving forward, it’s up to Lock to silence any doubters about his ability to perform against top teams.
Other notable Week 4 stats
- Emanuel Hall, the SEC’s leader in receiving yards heading into Saturday, was held to a goose egg against Georgia. In fact, only seven completions found the hands of a player listed as a receiver, with just one coming in the first half. The Bulldogs’ secondary is the only one to hold Missouri’s receiving corps to less than 100 yards in the air this season, locking down what had looked to be the Tigers’ strength on offense.
- To replace the receivers’ lack of yardage, Albert Okwuegbunam put together his best performance of the season. The sophomore pulled in nine receptions for 81 yards, and he somehow hauled in a highlight reel two-point conversion to cut Missouri’s deficit to 11 in the third quarter.
- Let’s forget about the blocked punt that led to a Georgia scoop-and-score for a second and think about the fact that Missouri punter Corey Fatony had a 60-yard punt in the third quarter...A 60-yard punt. Texas A&M’s Braden Mann leads the FBS in yards-per-punt at 54.9...Fatony’s was five yards further than that. This is more of an outlier of course, as Fatony’s career average is 43.7, but man it takes a pretty impressive boot to punt a ball 60 yards.