Depleted Georgia offense comes undone

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ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray looked exhausted following Georgia’s 41-26 loss to Missouri.

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Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray looks for an opening receiver.  AJ REYNOLDS/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
AJ REYNOLDS/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray looks for an opening receiver.

A cut on the bridge of his nose and his deflated posture in post-game interviews were physical manifestations of a quarterback tasked with guiding an offense decimated by injuries. 

He looked like he had thrown two interceptions and been hit so hard that he fumbled the ball, leading to a Missouri touchdown.

“It stinks,” he said of his turnovers. “I think that was the big difference in this game.”

He was right. Murray and the Bulldogs put up 454 yards of offense, about 70 yards less than their season average, but settled for field goals twice near the red zone and turned the ball over four times.

With a laundry list of starters and key role players sidelined with injuries — Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, to name a few — the Bulldogs offense plugged in backups, walk-ons and freshmen. It showed most in the red zone and in the turnover margin.

“Not capitalizing and not being efficient,” said receiver Rantavious Wooten, who had four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. “We had some young guys playing, some young guys might have made some mistakes. I don’t know what the deal was.”

Murray didn’t pawn off the unsteady and inconsistent offensive performance on personnel.

“I’m not going to throw that out there,” Murray said.

Two consecutive second-quarter possessions ended in fumbles, the first of which tight end Arthur Lynch addressed directly after the game.

It was a hit on Murray at Georgia’s 21-yard line that was scooped up by Missouri’s Michael Sam and taken to the end zone.

“[It] was completely my fault … that’s unacceptable on my part,” Lynch said. “That’s the most disappointing thing.”

The second came at the end of a 69-yard drive to the Missouri 6-yard line. Freshman tailback Brendan Douglas let the ball loose when Georgia was down 28-10. 

“There was a chance we could’ve scored a touchdown while we were down close,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “That would’ve been nice.”

Several players tossed around the word execution in post-game interviews. The consensus was that the Bulldogs simply didn’t execute the game plan, regardless of the less-experienced personnel on the field.

“We have to execute on those drives and finish,” said receiver Chris Conley, who caught five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. “We can’t turn the ball over at any part of the field, especially in the red zone. We have to come out with some form of points and when you turn the ball over that’s the result. You give the ball back to the other team and give them opportunity to score and go up even more.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Missouri’s defensive line didn’t throw anything unexpected at the Bulldogs, using a four-man rush the majority of the game. 

“We just weren’t able to finish the game. … There is no excuse,” Bobo said. “We know who we had coming into this week. We knew who was going to be healthy.”


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