GRADING THE GAME
OFFENSE – B-. Had Georgia had its full, healthy starting lineup and played the way it did against Missouri, this grade would be way lower. But the Bulldogs had to use walk-ons, backups and freshmen to fill the holes left by injuries. Quarterback Aaron Murray, who threw two horrible interceptions late in the game, didn’t have his usual weapons. It was a sour outing that included four total turnovers – Murray’s two picks, a Brendan Douglas fumble and a costly fumble that turned into a Missouri touchdown after Murray was sacked from behind. But the Bulldogs still managed to produce 454 yards of total offense. The red zones issues, settling for two field goals and Douglas’s fumble, and the turnovers, however, did the Bulldogs in.
DEFENSE – C+. The defense had all of its starters sans safety Tray Matthews and still gave up 372 yards to Missouri. The Bulldogs allowed the Tigers to convert 5 of 12 on third down and played inconsistently throughout the game. Although the Bulldogs sacked James Franklin four times and had seven tackles for loss, they gave up 41 points. Defensive end Ray Drew had a standout day with two sacks and freshman Shaq Wiggins held his own at cornerback, but the Bulldogs, outside of the third quarter, couldn’t get stops when they needed them the most. And the offense wasn’t healthy enough to bail them out.
SPECIAL TEAMS – A-. The Bulldogs didn’t give up any huge plays, except for a 42-yard kickoff return by Marcus Murphy, and kicker Marshall Morgan made both of his field goal attempts (29- and 28-yard kicks). Punter Collin Barber, who was recuperating from a concussion, punted it twice before Adam Erickson took over, finishing out the game with two punts of his own. Murphy totaled 58 yards on two returns and the Tigers didn’t record any punt return yards. A season in which special teams has been examined closely, it wasn’t that unit that struggled in Georgia’s loss to Missouri.
COACHING – C+. Todd Grantham’s defense will probably be the talk of Georgia’s fans this week before heading to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. The storyline has been explained – it’s a young secondary with freshman and first-year starters scattered throughout the lineup. But fans’ patience might start wearing thin and fast, especially when Grantham’s defense has allowed at least 20 points in five of its six games, including 41 points to both LSU and Missouri. Despite the potent offenses Georgia has faced, the defense has struggled making crucial stops to get off the field. As was the case against Missouri. Coach Mark Richt and Mike Bobo saved this grade despite having to field an offense of unfamiliar faces. The offense looked a lot like it did during Murray’s first year as the starter – flashes of brilliance just before big letdowns (see Rantavious Wooten’s 48-yard reception that set up a field goal or Brendan Douglas’ red zone fumble). Georgia’s string of luck was bound to break at some point and with a lineup decimated by injuries, Missouri took full advantage.