Missouri upsets Georgia, likely ending Bulldogs' national title hopes

Missouri 41, Georgia 26

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ATHENS, Ga. — The magic that Georgia produced with equal parts guts and guile ran out Saturday.

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Missouri's Marcus Murphy (front left) sprints past Georgia players on a punt return.  The Tigers' defense and special teams put the team in good field position all game.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Missouri's Marcus Murphy (front left) sprints past Georgia players on a punt return. The Tigers' defense and special teams put the team in good field position all game.

Four backbreaking turnovers and a defense that couldn’t make needed stops late contributed as No. 25 Missouri pulled away with a 41-26 upset over No. 7 Georgia in Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs rallied from down 18 at the half to pull within two, but Missouri responded with a trick play touchdown and Aaron Murray couldn’t carry Georgia to another win this time.

“Just a tough, tough day for Georgia,” coach Mark Richt said.

With top tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and receivers Justin Scott-Wesley, Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell also missing, the Bulldogs saw their national titles hopes all but extinguished.

“That’s not in my mind at all,” Richt said. “What’s in my mind is making corrections and getting ready for Vanderbilt (Saturday). … In the really big picture, the national picture, I’d be foolish to sit here and think of trying to think of a scenario where we can get there.”

The main focus for Georgia (4-2, 3-1) since the off-season was to get to Pasadena for the BCS Championship Game.

Now it will need to focus on simply reaching the Southeastern Conference Championship Game for the third season in a row.

“It’s got to be about Atlanta,” tight end Arthur Lynch said.

Only one team – Louisiana State in 2007– has reached the BCS title game with two losses.

“If we keep banging away and playing good football, good things will happen for us,” Richt said.

The Bulldogs’ 15-game home winning streak was snapped.

Missouri (6-0, 2-0 SEC) is alone for now atop the SEC East after winning its first true road game against a top-10 team since beating Mississippi State in 1981.

A depleted offense and a defense that can’t seem to force turnovers couldn’t pull out the win this time.

An opposing team left Athens after scoring 41 points on Georgia for the second consecutive game.

“I thought we did some good things all day, but they created the turnovers,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.

Murray threw two interceptions, including when the Bulldogs were needing another late-game drive to score.

Trailing 34-26 with 4:25 to play, Georgia needed 76 yards to get a chance to tie the game.

The Bulldogs had rallied to beat LSU and Tennessee the past two weeks.

“We were absolutely thinking, here we go again,” Richt said

Georgia never got the drive started.

Murray’s pass intended for Chris Conley was picked off by cornerback Randy Ponder on the first play.

“That was just me being greedy and making a bad decision,” said Murray, 25 of 45 for 290 yards with three touchdowns.

Henry Josey leaped into end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to seal it.

Missouri ran out to a 28-10 halftime lead, scoring on drives of 79, 52 and 75 yards and then added insult to Georgia’s injuries when Murray was sacked and fumbled.

Michael Sam scooped and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown.

Looking close to buried, Georgia found new life in the second half.

Georgia’s offense found its groove, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal.

Georgia pulled within two when Murrray hit Conley for a 13-yard touchdown with 12:15 to play.

The Bulldogs two-point conversion try was incomplete when Murray’s pass to Conley hit off him and the Tigers clung to a 28-26 lead.

“We couldn’t quite finish,” Richt said.

Missouri backup quarterback Maty Mauk, playing after James Franklin went to the locker room with a separated shoulder, helped put a dagger in Georgia.

Mauk threw a pass behind the line to receiver Bud Sasser, who lofted a 40-yard scoring strike to 6-4 L’Damian Washington, who made the catch over 5-10 freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins with 9:22 left. The extra point was wide.

“I should have just played the ball better, but we were looking for the trick play,” Wiggins said.

Georgia didn’t use the injuries as a crutch, but have a “realistic shot,” Richt said of getting Gurley back from his sprained ankle for Vanderbilt.

“There’s a lot more season to play,” Richt said.

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Jake 10/12/13 - 05:12 pm
Lousy defense....

.....will catch up with you every time. They have not played well on defense at all this year.

LeConteSkier 10/13/13 - 01:00 am
Georgia football is cursed

Georgia football is cursed this year! I'm a DAWG fan but May USC win the SEC East! Much better alternative than the Gators!

KSL 10/13/13 - 01:37 am
Have been in Athens when the

Have been in Athens when the dogs lost. You could hear a pin drop.

justthefacts 10/13/13 - 06:51 am
Still hope

Young players will fumble and drop passes. Too bad, because this was a special team. The national picture is closed but if they can somehow get some of their skilled players back, they can still win the SEC. They beat the cocks of course and Florida looked bad yesterday. Auburn is improving, but they should beat them. This is all contingent on Gurley coming back. We need Bennett as well.I sure hope they are not hurt worse than they are saying. Go Dawgs!

Bodhisattva 10/13/13 - 08:33 am
I sort of had a feeling UGA

I sort of had a feeling UGA was overrated when they had a hard time pulling away from North Texas when they weren't that banged up. I was worried about Clemson when I saw the score, then saw they couldn't hold on to the ball either. But, like all of the SEC teams, they'll be ranked because: Big conference, big schools, big fan base (most of whom never set foot on a college campus), so big money. Unfortunately, that's what's become the main focus of college football. Money. The schools, ESPN, the BCS, all in cahoots. I told my wife yesterday, if Clemson lost, Georgia would jump them in the rankings even though they had lost to Clemson. Money, money, money. 32 team, 5 week playoff. That gets past the big conference bias where an 8-3 SEC team can be in the top 15 while a 10-1 team isn't in the top 25.

justthefacts 10/13/13 - 02:38 pm

When envy is in your blood, you can't help yourself. People who have more success, more money, ha, even football teams. You envy them all.

dpadams30 10/13/13 - 02:47 pm

How about those Tigers opening up a nice lead the first half and closing it out in the fourth quarter. Great game and a great win for Mizzou! Let's keep those SEC wins coming!!


justthefacts 10/13/13 - 04:35 pm

They played great. But, I think with the loss of Franklin, it might not happen this year. Injuries play such a large role in the outcome now. Just look at UGA. Never know though. It might. Injuries play such a large role in the outcome now.

kiwiinamerica 10/13/13 - 07:37 pm

This has been coming. They barely got out of jail last week against a lousy Tennessee team, so this doesn't surprise me.

See you at the Outback Bowl.

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