As Georgia football prepares for their upcoming matchup against Missouri, let’s look back at the first SEC meeting between these two schools.
Before the 2010 season, Georgia football received the services of a young linebacker named Jarvis Jones, who announced he would be transferred to the team from USC. Jones, a native of Columbus, GA, showed promise during his freshman year with the Trojans, but a career-threatening neck injury ended his season early. Because of this, USC team doctors would not clear him to play for the team again due to fears of further injury.
After this diagnosis, Jones’s high school coach and current Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee began calling schools around the southeast to see if they would clear Jarvis to play. Luckily, Mark Richt was willing to take a chance on the Peach State native.
Two seasons later, Jones left Georgia as one of the best linebackers in program history. He finished with 28 career sacks, 44 tackles for loss and set the single-season sack record with 14.5 in 2012. He even finished in the top 10 in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting.
Georgia football saw one of its best moments against Missouri in 2012.
Jones had many legendary performances as a Bulldog, but the game that put him on many NFL Draft boards came against the Missouri Tigers in 2012. The Tigers were entering their first season as members of the SEC, and their first-ever conference game would come at home against the Dawgs.
Before the game, Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson commented that Georgia played “old man football.” This comment would end up being excellent bulletin board material for the Dawgs.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, but they would exchange touchdowns and field goals in the second. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray connected with wide receiver Marlon Brown with 30 seconds left in the first half for a touchdown, but kicker Marshall Morgan missed the extra point. The Dawgs went into halftime down 10-9.
Missouri would score a touchdown on their first drive in the third quarter thanks to a 69-yard James Franklin pass to L’Damian Washington to put the Tigers up 17-9. The Dawgs would counter it when Murray hit Tavarres King for a touchdown and then threw a strike to Michael Bennett for a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Following a Missouri field goal, Murray and the Georgia offense responded with some big plays, including a 40-yard strike to Marlon Brown on 3rd and 11 late in the third quarter. Brown would haul in his second touchdown of the game a few plays later to put Georgia up 24-20, their first lead of the night.
The Dawgs would extend their lead with another Marshall Morgan field goal in the fourth quarter, and then Jarvis Jones decided to get into “old man football” mode. On 1st and 10, with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Jones intercepted a James Franklin pass and took it all the way to the Missouri one-yard line. Todd Gurley followed that up with a rushing touchdown.
Jones forced another turnover on Missouri’s next possession, this time in the form of a strip-sack of Franklin. Running back Ken Malcome’s touchdown run put the Tigers away for good, as the Dawgs spoiled their SEC opener with a 41-20 victory.
Georgia outscored Missouri 32-10 in the second half and did not allow any points in the fourth quarter. Jarvis Jones finished with nine tackles, three sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles. On offense, Aaron Murray threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Murray’s biggest target was Marlon Brown, who had eight catches for 106 yards and two scores.
The Dawgs finished the season with a 12-2 record and won the SEC East division for the second year in a row. They battled Alabama in the SEC Championship game but came just short of winning the game and playing for the National Championship (sigh).
The Tigers finished their first season in the SEC with a 5-7 record and won only two conference games. They would repeat as SEC East champions in 2013 and 2014, however.
After his stellar junior season, Jarvis Jones would declare for the 2013 NFL Draft, where the Pittsburgh Steelers took him with the 17th overall pick. He only played in the league for five years before retiring in 2017. He returned to school and graduated from UGA in 2019, and he is currently serving as a defensive assistant on the Georgia staff today.