Four turnovers……..Bulldogs lose.
It’s not always easy to determine exactly how a team wins a game but it’s pretty easy to pinpoint the cause of a loss when a team commits four turnovers.
The Georgia Bulldogs lost control of the Eastern Division with a 41-26 home loss to the undefeated Missouri Tigers. Aaron Murray threw two interceptions and fumbled after being hit by Shane Ray, the loose ball was scooped up by Misso Michael Sam and he took it in for a 21 yard touchdown to put the Tigers up 28-10 at halftime.
The Dawgs made a run in the 3rd quarter with Marshall Morgan’s 28 yard field goal and a 7 yard touchdown pass to Rantavious Wooten that cut the lead to 8 points and set up what appeared to be another 4th quarter shootout. It was the first time this season that Missouri had failed to score in a quarter.
Ten seconds into the final stanza, Murray rolled to his right and hit Chris Conley for a 10 yard TD to close within two. The 2 point conversion failed when the receiver let the ball get into his pads and bounce out. Missouri answered with a trick play after starting quarterback James Franklin was injured and freshman Maty Mauk entered the game. Mauk threw to Bud Sasser near the right sideline and Sasser found L’Damian Washington in the endzone for a 40 yard touchdown. With 4:25 remaining in the game, Murray threw his first interception in 99 attempts and Missouri converted it into a quick 33 yard touchdown drive that put the Dawgs away. Murray’s second interception came with just 49 seconds remaining and finished the drill.
Georgia had more rushing yardage and Murray completed 25 of 45 pass attempts for 290 yards but Missouri didn’t make any mistakes and took advantage of the ones the Dawgs made. Although his receivers dropped several balls, this was easily Murray’s worst performance of the season, he was pressured most of the day and it appeared to affect his accuracy.
J.J. Green picked up 87 yards on 12 carries including a career best 57 yard scamper, Brendan Douglas played through a bloody nose and gained 70 yards on 14 carries, his fumble on the six yard line killed a drive late in the first half. Wooten had 83 yards on 4 catches and a touchdown, Conley and Douglas caught the other two TD’s.
Defensive end Ray Drew had two sacks and leads the team with five for the season, Leonard Floyd and Garrison Smith also recorded one each. Linebacker Ramik Wilson had a game high 9 tackles while Damian Swann and Amarlo Herrera each had 8.
The loss also snapped the Bulldogs 15 game home winning streak.
The Bulldogs will regroup and head to Nashville next Saturday to play Vanderbilt, the game will be shown on CBS with a noon kickoff.
Here’s what Coach Richt a some of the players had to say following the game:
Coach Mark Richt
On the turnovers…
“It was 4-0 on the turnovers. They did a really good job of securing the ball and we didn’t. You hear coaches say it over and over, but you can’t win a game turning it over like that.”
On the second-half comeback…
“We did a good job defensively and started scoring some points. It was impressive to get it back close early in the fourth quarter. Even near the end we were fortunate that they missed an extra point and we were within eight with a chance to tie it again. Being down as we were, we did a good job of making it interesting.”
On the preparation this week following all the injuries…
“Certainly when you have injuries or penalties or any setbacks in football, you’ve got to assess where you’re at and what you’ve got to do to succeed. We used a lot of energy this week looking at situations and personnel to get the best plan for who we had. We moved the ball good, but we turned it over too many times. We also had possessions in the red zone where we got field goals instead of touchdowns, and that was a big part of the game.”
On this week’s plan…
“We have to build on the positives, try to get a few guys healthy and get ready to go play Vanderbilt. … It’s important now to get ready for Monday’s practice. We’ll look at the film and make our corrections. We’ll get our plan for Vanderbilt. The guys will lift and run and go to school on Monday. We just can’t let the world stop. We’ve got to keep pressing forward. That’s what our plan is.”
Quarterback Aaron Murray
On the offense…
“We had plenty of chances to tie it up, but we just didn’t execute. We were within two and then the defense got us the ball back down a score and we couldn’t punch it in. It’s disappointing.”
On the turnovers…
“We missed too many opportunities and the turnovers killed us. We can’t give away the ball like we did and win a game like that. Both picks were forced throws trying to put the ball into tight spots where I probably should have checked down.”
On the second half…
“We knew that today was going to be a battle. We came [into the locker room] after the first half, and knew that we needed to go back out and keep grinding. We did a pretty good job of getting back in the game—we were within two points of tying it up—but just couldn’t quite get it done.”
Offensive Guard Chris Burnette
On the mood of the team…
“Well, the guys are obviously disappointed and that’s tough, but we also understand that we have to go back to work on Monday. Regardless of where the goals we set out for are, we can keep getting better. There’s a lot of football left.”
Tailback J.J. Green
On his and Brendan Douglas’ play today…
“I just wanted to go out and prove that I could play, and so did Brendan. We aren’t just freshman that can’t do anything. Todd and Keith are great, no doubt, and we saw it as an opportunity to help the team. I think we stepped up today, but we needed to do a little more. We’ll both learn from our mistakes that we made today and keep getting better.”
Defensive End Ray Drew
On the defense…
“We went out and didn’t take care of business when it counted. We had some trouble getting some stops. I think that we played well at times and so did the offense and special teams, but the next step is putting it all together.”
On what Missouri did well….
“James Franklin did a great job and so did his offensive line. [Franklin] is a good quarterback and he was keeping us guessing on the option.”
Cornerback Shaq Wiggins
On the defense…
“We’ve been talking a lot about finishing the drill and finishing the play. We need to execute better. We need to play better when it counts.”