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Georgia vs. Missouri score, takeaways: Concerns arise as No. 1 Dawgs escapes upset bid with late touchdowns

No. 1 Georgia got an unexpected scare on Saturday before working its way back for a 26-22 Missouri win. The Bulldogs came in as four touchdown favorites but trailed 13-0 in the second quarter after a slow offensive start marked by two fumbles. The Dawgs didn’t find the end zone until 9.39 remained and took the lead with 4:03 left.

Nevertheless, Georgia improved to 5-0 behind quarterback Stetson Bennett IV’s resilience and kicker Jack Podlesny’s accuracy.

SEC East’s showdown turned into a field goal contest in the second and third quarters as both defenses stiffened repeatedly in the red zone. Podlesny and Harrison Mevis of Missouri each hit 4 for 4 on field goals in the game.

With pressure from the Dawgs mounting late in the game, the Tigers finally broke in the fourth quarter when Georgia completed two long scoring drives with 1-yard touchdown runs. It was UGA’s first comeback from a double-digit deficit since the 2018 Rose Bowl, which ended in double overtime.

Bennett started 10 of 25 through the air, but hit 14 of his next 19 passes. He finished with 312 yards as running backs Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards did much of the heavy lifting to help move the Dawgs to the ground.

Georgia defeated Mizzou 299-100 in the second half with a score of 23-6 to end the game starting with the last game of the first half.

Missouri fell to all-time 0-17 against #1-ranked opponents. This was only the third game that the Tigers lost by single figures. Georgia improved to 15-1 all-time as a No. 1 ranked team against an unranked opponent.

Dawgs come flat…again

A week after some unusually sloppy play in a 39-22 win against surpassed Kent State, Georgia looked like the same flat version of itself in the first half. The Bulldogs got the opening kickoff and promptly went three-and-out when Missouri’s Trajan sacked Jeffcoat Bennett in third and 14th place.

The Tigers found success rushing Bennett throughout the first half as the Bulldogs failed to score on their first five possessions. Included in that piece were a few fumbles that gave Missouri good fielding position. Georgia was particularly ineffective at playing football in the first half, going into halftime with just 33 yards rushing. That mark was also blown up by a 35-meter run from Kendall Milton that ended with a fumble.

Capitalization failed

Missouri’s failure to capitalize on more than just three points on those two Georgia turnovers could haunt the Tigers as they watch the loss. Another example of Missouri missing out on a golden opportunity came when the Tigers settled for a field goal after a 63-yard run by Cody Schrader set up the Tigers with a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line on their last possession of the first half.

A false start penalty pushed Mizzou back and gave the Georgia defense some life, resulting in a 22-yard field goal from Mevis. While Mevis’s 5-for-5 night included four marks from 40 yards or more, the Tigers needed a better finish on their offense to beat the nation’s highest-ranking team.

Big loss for the defense of Georgia

Georgia star defensive lineman Jalen Carter left the game in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. Ranked #6 in CBS Sports’ 2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, Carter is an interior force for the Bulldogs. If he is out for an extended period of time, it could take a toll on the Georgia defense who already replaced nine players from last season’s national championship squad. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound junior was considered doubtful of getting into the game and has been restricted throughout the beginning of the season.

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