Football is a long game.
It’s easy to get caught up in a play by play, but over the course of four quarters and 60 minutes, the cream usually rises to the top.
Yesterday, Missouri led the number one team in the country 3-0 after a couple decent opening drives offensively, a 5 play stop on defense, and a Harrison Mevis Field Goal. 10 minutes had elapsed in the 1st quarter and it felt like Missouri got the very start it needed. Not to win the game. They were never going to win (a 2.4% win probability before the kick seemed generous). But just to make it competitive. The problem is there were still 50 minutes of football to play, and on the next possession Georgia marched down the field for a touchdown.
That drive and the ensuing Missouri drive were indicative of the difference between the two teams at this point in the season. Missouri’s defense was playing perhaps its best football of the season, forcing Georgia to make every play. Then the Bulldogs did. Georgia needed a 3rd and 10 conversion to prolong the drive, and a 4th and 6th conversion to score the touchdown. The touchdown was a perfectly thrown ball into pretty good coverage.
Then the Tigers took over on offense, after gaining 8 yards on the first two plays. They were doing enough to stay ahead of the sticks, until a false start penalty sent them from 3rd & 2 to 3rd & 7. The failed third down conversion resulted in a punt, which was blocked, and resulted in a safety. The free kick gave the ball back to the Bulldogs and they followed up with another touchdown. It went from 3-0 to 16 to 3 in a hurry. From there it was a matter of just playing out the string.
From the start, this game was about making progress. Seeing the barometer for what you want to be as a program. Missouri is a ways off from being able to compete with Georgia for SEC East Championships. But you can still make progress this season towards that goal.
Connor Bazelak being hurt, you were going to get a good, hard look at your backup quarterbacks yesterday. Both Tyler Macon and Brady Cook came into the program with good reputations, recruiting numbers and the like. But aside from a handful of passes against SEMO for both, and a few throws in garbage time for Cook last year, we haven’t really seen whether or not either player is capable of leading a team. And to be completely fair, sending any quarterback in to face the Georgia defense is a difficult task. So we still may not know much.
Macon missed a few throws, but he also dealt with a few early drops. He ran the ball for 42 yards, while Cook ran for 32 yards and hit on a higher completion percentage. Neither was perfect, but as BK pointed out yesterday, perfect was never going to happen against Georgia. Both showed a willingness to run the ball, which has been a missing component of the Mizzou offense this year. Both freshmen combined for 21 rushes against Georgia. For reference, Bazelak has rushed just 22 times all year.
Against Georgia, it didn’t matter. But against South Carolina? Or Florida or Arkansas? The final three games of the season are there to provide more context and outlook for the future. What more could you ask for with the outlook side of things than getting a bit more of an extended look at Macon and Cook?
Stats from Statbroadcast:
Here are your other SEC scores:
- 2. Alabama 20, LSU 14
- 14. Texas A&M 20, Auburn 3
- 16. Ole Miss 27, Liberty 14
- Arkansas 31, 17. Mississippi State 28
- Tennessee 45, 18. Kentucky 42
- South Carolina 40, Florida 17
Yesterday at Rock M
- Missouri vs Georgia football GameDay: info, where to watch, predictions, odds
- Bottoms Up! The Athens Edition
- Game Thread: Mizzou vs. Georgia
- Bulldogs Prove Too Much for Tigers
- Five takeaways from Mizzou’s 43-6 loss at Georgia