Bulldogs hold off Missouri, 30-21
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Bulldogs hold off Missouri, 30-21

Georgia-Missouri
Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATHENS, Ga. — It was a grind from start to finish Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, a white-knuckle ride for Georgia and Missouri with the top spot in the SEC East on the line. In the final eight minutes, the Bulldogs got an interception from a 320-pound senior defensive lineman and a career-long 48-yard field goal by a 175-pound freshman to help Georgia pull out 30-21 win.

The Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0 SEC), ranked No. 1 in the polls all season but No. 2 in this week’s first College Football Playoff rankings, had to battle against the Tigers (7-2, 3-2), ranked No. 12 by the CFP, to stay undefeated. The win was Georgia’s 26th in a row, the 24th straight on Dooley Field, and the program’s 25th consecutive SEC regular-season win.

It was a one-score game, 27-21, when big Nazir Stackhouse got the pivotal interception with 7:46 remaining. A few minutes later, Woodring, the freshman kicker, made it a two-score game with the 48-yarder with 3:57 to go in the game. Safety Javon Bullard sealed the win with an interception with 1:36 remaining.

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck completed 21 of 32 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, including connecting with Ladd McConkey seven times for 95 yards. The Bulldog rushing attack was slowed down for much of the game, but the backs got meaningful yards late to close it out and finish with 131 yards on 33 carries. Georgia finished with 385 yards of offense, while Missouri had 363.

The Bulldogs got the ball first and took a 3-0 lead on Woodring’s 33-yard field goal. Georgia converted a fourth-and-5 near midfield, Beck hit wideout Rara Thomas for a 26-yard gain, before having to settle for the short kick with 10:17 remaining in the first. Missouri drove for a touchdown on its first drive, taking a 7-3 lead with 5:45 left in the quarter on Brady Cook’s 39-yard TD pass to Luther Burden.

After a very quick opening quarter, Georgia started the second with a first down at the Mizzou 8-yard line after a 12-yard run by Daijun Edwards and a 13-yarder by Kendall Milton. On third-and-goal from the 6-, Beck fired a quick screen left to Dominic Lovett who scampered into the end zone for a 10-7 UGA lead with 13:38 on the clock.

Missouri tied the game 10-10 with 4:14 remaining in the half on Harrison Mevis’ 38-yard field goal. Tigers quarterback Brady Cook took off for a pair of 17-yard runs on the drive, but the Bulldog defense was able to get three straight stops once Mizzou reached the 19-yard line.

The teams then traded punts after short drives for the rest of the half. At the break, Missouri had 174 yards of offense to Georgia’s 165. The Tigers were averaging 5.8 yards per play to the Bulldogs’ 5.0. It was about as close as a game can get.

Mizzou got the ball to start the second half and converted a couple of big plays to get down to the Bulldog 15. There, Georgia was able to get a couple of stops — including a 9-yard sack by defensive back Tykee Smith on third down — and hold the Tigers to a 42-yard Mevis field goal, putting Missouri ahead 13-10 with 11:42 remaining in the third quarter.

Georgia responded on its next drive, getting a 23-yard kickoff return from Dillon Bell to start things, a key pass-interference penalty on Missouri on third-and-17 at the UGA 39, followed by a 16-yard catch and run by McConkey down to the Tiger 15. Two plays later, Milton ran around the right side for a 15-yard touchdown and a 17-13 lead with 8:10 left in the third.

The Bulldogs got a deep stop on the ensuing kickoff and followed that by forcing the Tigers to punt after cornerback Julian Humphrey’s breakup on third down. Georgia’s offense took over at its 33 and drove all the way for a touchdown to push its lead to 24-13 with 38 seconds left in the third.

Beck converted one third down on the drive with a 4-yard run. He hit Lovett for a 13-yard gain to the Mizzou 13. Two plays later, he fired a dart down the middle to McConkey for a 33-yard gain to the 9. Three plays later, Beck hit tight end Oscar Delp in the middle of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and an 11-point lead.

After three quarters, Georgia led 24-13 but the game was still very even, with both teams averaging 5.8 yards per play. The Tigers began the quarter facing a third-and-10 from their 42. Missouri converted the third down and went on to score a touchdown on a 12-yard Cody Schrader run to the left side. The Tigers converted a 2-point attempt to make it 24-21 with 12:50 remaining in the game.

Mews set Georgia up well with a 31-yard kickoff return, to the 35. Three plays later, Beck found Delp down the left hash for a 23-yard gain. Two plays after that, a flea flicker and then deep pass down the right side to Delp produced a pass-interference penalty. Georgia was called for offensive pass interference on the next play, only for that called to be overturned after a video review.

After all that, Georgia faced a second-and-10 at the 17. The drive ended with a Woodring 30-yard field goal that pushed the Bulldogs further in front, 27-21, with 8:59 to go.

Missouri was moving the ball on its next drive when Stackhouse stepped in front of a Cook pass for an interception. It was the first turnover of the game, and it came at a pivotal moment, with 7:46 remaining. Stackhouse’s long return was negated by a penalty, but Georgia kept possession.

The Bulldogs’ drive stalled at the Tiger 30, but Woodring booted through a 48-yard field goal to push the Georgia lead to 30-21, making it, crucially, a two-score game with 3:57 left on the clock. Bullard’s interception ended Missouri’s final drive, allowing the Bulldogs to hold on for the close win.

Georgia wraps up its home schedule next Saturday against Ole Miss, which was ranked No. 10 in the first CFP rankings. The Rebels edged Texas A&M, 38-35, on Saturday.

POST-GAME NOTES

*Extending The Streaks: With today’s 30-21 win, Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC) has extended its school record for consecutive victories now to 26. The streak began during the 2021 season (Dec. 31) when the Bulldogs beat #2 Michigan 34-11 in a CFP semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl.
This streak ranks tied for the third longest in SEC history (Alabama won 26 in a row from 2015-16).

Georgia extended its school record with its 25th consecutive regular season SEC victory dating to a 31-24 win over Miss. State on Nov. 21, 2020. This streak ranks second in SEC history.

The Bulldogs extended their school record for consecutive regular season wins to 36, which leads all of FBS. This streak began during the 2020 season with a 31-24 win over Miss. State. on Nov. 21.

The Bulldogs are now 42-1 in their last 43 games.

The Bulldogs are now 43-4 at home in the Smart era including 12-1 against ranked opponents.

Georgia improves to 9-0 for the fourth time in the Kirby Smart era (now 90-15 overall), joining the 2017, 2021 and 2022 clubs. With the latest victory over UM, Georgia now holds a 12-1 edge in the series history.

*Summary Of The Offense: Georgia finished with 385 yards of total offense on 65 plays in a 30-21 win over No. 12 Mizzou.

Junior QB Carson Beck went 21-for-32 for 254 yards and 2 TDs. In the first half, Beck was 10-for-17 for 115 yards and 1 TD. Down 7-3, Beck directed a 12 play, 70-yard TD drive in a season-long 7:07 to put the Bulldogs in front 10-7 with 13:38 left in the first half.

Trailing 13-10 in the 3rd, Georgia went 65 yards on six plays in 3:26, capped by a 15-yard run by Kendall Milton, for a 17-13 edge. On their next possession, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 24-13, going 67 yards on 10 plays in 5:23. It was capped by a 5-yard pass from Beck to sophomore Oscar Delp, his third TD of the year.

In the Red Zone, the Bulldogs finished (5-for-5) with 3 TDs and 2 FGs.

Junior WR Ladd McConkey had a team-high 95 yards on seven catches.

Junior Dominic Lovett (4 rec.for 33 yards, 1 TD) had a six-yard TD catch for his second score of the season in the first half.

The Bulldogs had 131 rushing yards on 33 attempts for a 4.0 average. Senior Kendall Milton had 44 yards on nine carries and one TD, his fifth score of the year, while senior Daijun Edwards had a team-high 77 yards on 16 attempts.

In the first half, the Bulldogs had 165 yards of total offense on 33 plays, and the game was tied at 10. This marked the 2nd time this year that the Bulldogs were tied at 10 at the half, also at Auburn (Georgia would win 27-20). The Bulldogs are 3-1 now after being tied at the half under Smart.

*Going For It: On the opening possession of the game, Georgia converted a 4th-and-5 from the Mizzou 49 as Beck hit RaRa Thomas for a 26-yard gain. MIzzou was flagged for offsides on the play and that penalty was declined The drive ended with a 33-yard field goal and a 3-0 edge. The Bulldogs came in ranked fourth nationally in 4th Down Conversions (83%) and now are 6-for-7 (86%).

*Defensive Review: UM posted 363 yards of total offense on 64 plays. The Tigers finished 5-for-13 on 3rd down and 1-for-1 on 4th down.

UM scored a TD on its first drive, going 75 yards on nine plays in 4:32 to take a 7-3 lead, going 2-for-2 on 3rd down conversions. After that, the Tigers were forced to punt on their 2nd possession and then tied the game with a field goal on their third possession (10-all with 4:14 left).

Missouri became the third straight team to score a TD on its opening drive versus Georgia as Vanderbilt and Florida did it recently while USC found the endzone earlier this season too.

The Tigers began the second half with a field goal for a 13-10 edge. It was a 59-yard drive that stalled in the Red Zone thanks in part to a 3rd down sack by senior Tykee Smith for a loss of nine yards. It was Smith’s second sack this year.

Senior DL Nazir Stackhouse notched his first career interception. It led to a 48-yard FG and a 30-21 lead with 3:57 left in the contest. Junior Javon Bullard got his first INT of the year to seal the win, the 11th by the team this year. Georgia is now +3 in Turnover Margin this year. Mizzou QB Brady Cook had thrown jsut 3 INTs in 242 attempts this season until today.

Junior Smael Mondon, senior Tykee Smith, and junior Jamon Dumas-Johnson tied for the team-high tackles with seven stops each. The Bulldogs had three sacks, 1.5 by sophomore Jalon Walker one by Smith and 0.5 by senior Zion Logue.

*A Look At The Special Teams: Freshman PK Peyton Woodring hit field goals of 30, 33 and caerer-long 48 yards plus was 3-for-3 on PATs for 12 points. He is now 17-for-20 in FG on the year. He leads the team with 94 points.

Redshirt sophomore Mekhi Mews had two KOR for 54 yards while sophomore Dillon Bell had two for 51 yards including a 32-yarder.

Sophomore P Brett Thorson had three punts for a 43.3 average. Sophomore Jared Zirkel handled all the kickoffs.

*Captains, Coin Toss and For Starters: Juniors Carson Beck (QB, Ladd McConkey WR) and Smael Mondon (ILB) plus senior Nazir Stackhouse (DL) served as the game captains. UM won the toss and elected to defer the ball until the second half. Van Pran made his team-leading 39th career start. Junior WR Ladd McConkey made his first start this year and 21st of his career.

*Honoring #77 Devin Willock: RS-sophomore Tate Ratledge (RG), normally #69, wore #77 today in honor of his late teammate Devin Willock. A different Bulldog offensive lineman will be wearing #77 each game this season.

*Homecoming King & Queen: This year’s honorees were Zac Aaron of McDonough, who is a fourth year Social Work major, along with Ella Avery of Woodstock, who is a fourth year Marketing major.

With the 30-21 victory, Georgia improves to 82-18-2 on Homecoming including 3-0 against Missouri on this day.

*Up Next: Top-ranked Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC) plays host to No. 11 Ole Miss Saturday, Nov. 11 with the time and network TBA. The Rebels beat Texas A&M earlier today 38-35 in Oxford to improve to 8-1 overall, 5-1 in the SEC.

POST-GAME QUOTES

Head Coach Kirby Smart

On the environment inside Sanford Stadium and being back home…
“It was an incredible atmosphere. Our fans were awesome and they had a major impact on the game. They actually hurt us two times because they made the guy snap the ball early and he threw fades on fourth down when they didn’t snap the ball. I think we would have covered him better if they didn’t snap the ball early, but the center couldn’t hear the clap, so he just snapped the ball early and we gave up back center fades. But the crowd was incredible, had a lot of false starts on them. I thought we played really hard as a team. I thought we did not start the second half well on defense, luckily, we held them to a field goal.”

On the offensive efficiency in the second half…
“That was huge. They have a really good defense. They have big defensive guys up front. They played really hard and
physical. They do a great job with their defensive packages. I thought they controlled our run game more than anybody has in the last couple of weeks and that frustrated us. Luckily, we have a good enough passing arsenal where we can throw it around some.”

On his assessment of the defense…
“I thought (Glenn) Schumann did a good job pitching to them. They’re hard to defend, they do some different run game things that frustrated us. I don’t think we played really well. We got tired at times and they took advantage of that. We played well when we had to, we had some big stops. The red area probably won this game for us. Those stops are big.”

#15 Carson Beck | Jr. | QB

On how important the ‘next play mentality’ was in the second half…
“I mean, it’s a next play mentality always, next drive mentality, however you want to put it. When we went into halftime, we knew that we were going to be good when we came out and we ended up executing.”

On the ability for this team to play from behind and win…
“We are a very composed team, and we are resilient. And I think we’ve shown that at this point in the season. We stand on that. Those are some of our four pillars, and we have resiliency, toughness, connection — you’ve heard them all — but those are things that we stand on. When you practice those type of things, they end up showing up in games.”

#84 Ladd McConkey | Jr. | WR

On tying the school record for wins at home…
“I was sitting there before the game and after the game just thinking about how special it is. I mean, we have one more home game for the rest of the year, so we’re just trying to cherish it.”

On taking the lead again in the third quarter…
“That was huge. I think the defense came out and kicked a field goal. It’s bend don’t break. I feel like that’s their motto. Then we came out and got the points, and that was huge trying to bend that middle eight.”

On finding space in the middle of the field…
“It was huge. I feel like at times we got a little bit behind the chains, so it was good to get our rhythm going and get
things moving.”

#78 Nazir Stackhouse | Sr. | DL

On getting the interception…
“All I could think about was trying to get to the endzone, it’s so unreal right now and hard to explain with words, but this is so exciting. Throughout my whole career, ever playing football, and playing football since I was six years old, I’ve never had an interception.”

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