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  • Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs maintained their SEC dominance Saturday at Missouri, but a tough road game that the Dawgs couldn’t put away until late in the fourth quarter also revealed some concerns that need fixing if UGA is to live up to expectations. Georgia came into the game knowing that defending against quarterback Drew Lock and his high-powered passing game would be a challenge. Lock completed a lot of passes Saturday, but none of them was for a touchdown, so mark that down as mission accomplished for the Dawgs’ D. Tyson Campbell returns a Missouri fumble for a touchdown during the first half Saturday in Columbia, Mo. (Curtis Compton/AJC) That’s particularly impressive considering that starting cornerback Tyson Campbell, who scooped up a fumble in the first quarter and returned it 64 yards for a score, had to leave the game with a hurt shoulder and dehydration, and was replaced by backup Eric Stokes, who wound up with 3 pass breakups and 4 tackles. (Stokes also was one of the game’s heroes, blocking a second-quarter punt and returning it 8 yards for a touchdown.) However, Mizzou’s resurgent rushing attack proved surprisingly tough to stop (the Tigers scored all four of their touchdowns on runs), with the middle of the Georgia defense looking soft against the ground game, and the continual shuffling of players on the D-line seeming to indicate the coaching staff hasn’t yet solved that puzzle. Mizzou ended up averaging 4.6 yards per run, exactly the same as the acclaimed Georgia rushing attack. The defensive front still doesn’t appear to have gelled; it’s notable that the Dawgs’ leading tacklers on this day were all defensive backs: J.R. Reed (8), Deandre Baker (7) and Richard LeCounte (7). On the other side of the ball, a better-than-expected Tigers defense and an unfocused performance by Jake Fromm and his troops combined to keep the Georgia offense off the scoreboard in the first half. Georgia’s 20-7 halftime lead came courtesy of the defense and special teams. The Dawgs’ explosive offense responded positively to Smart’s “wake up” call at halftime and got back on track. But, even then, Mizzou’s ability to keep chipping away at Georgia’s defense allowed them to hang around as a threat until well into the fourth quarter. As usual with these Dawgs, big plays were the key to the win. Besides the fumble return and the blocked punt that both turned into TDs, Fromm bounced back from going 3-for-9 with an interception in the first half by turning in a second-half performance that included TD passes of 33, 61 and 54 yards. The 61-yarder to J.J. Holloman was a perfect back-shoulder throw by Fromm. On the day, he was 13-of-23 passing for 260 yards, with 3 touchdowns and an interception (which wasn’t his fault; a defender grabbed the ball out of receiver Mecole Hardman’s hands). Eric Stokes celebrates after returning a blocked a punt for a touchdown. (Curtis Compton/AJC) Still, in the end, it was those nonoffensive scores that made the difference for UGA in the 43-29 win. No wonder that Smart sounded as much relieved as he did elated when he spoke with the Bulldogs radio network’s Chuck Dowdle after the game. “We struggled to stop the run and struggled to run the ball,” the Georgia head coach noted. He cited a lack of composure and discipline, adding: “I’m disappointed. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up.” Speaking of things that need cleaning up, besides the troubles stopping the run and too many penalties (7 for 66 yards), Georgia’s offense was poor at third-down conversions, making only 3 of 12. Particularly in need of improvement is the short-yardage game, with the Dawgs having trouble sometimes converting third-and-short and fourth-and-1. Jim Chaney’s play-calling on some drives was ultra conservative, with too many runs up the middle that didn’t get much. Georgia seemed to have more success on the outside, where they could capitalize on their superior team speed. Other times, it wasn’t so much the play-calling as it was Fromm seeming to opt into the wrong play. On one drive in the second quarter, it was third-and-6 and Fromm gave it to Swift, who got very little. With the Tigers in man coverage and the safeties cheating up, a pass likely would have been more successful. Another time, later in the quarter, it was third-and-10, and a run by Swift got about 4 yards. One thing we did find out Saturday was that Georgia does indeed have a red-zone package for Justin Fields. The freshman dual-threat backup QB came in for just one play in the red zone in the second quarter, a short gain on a keeper. The verdict is still out on the effectiveness of that strategy. Otherwise, Fields didn’t play against Mizzou. Besides Fromm in the second half, who looked good for the Dawgs? Riley Ridley, who made 5 catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. One of those catches was a crucial 27-yarder in the fourth quarter that allowed the Dawgs to kill a bunch of clock. Also on offense, the running game may not have been as imposing as most folks expected, but Elijah Holyfield racked up 90 yards on 14 carries while starter D’Andre Swift had 71 yards on 16 runs. It looks like these two really are sort of 1A and 1B (like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were last year), and, based on the past couple of games, I’d say Holyfield deserves to be considered 1A. As for Swift, who was barely used against Middle Tennessee the previous week amid reports he was having some groin trouble, the Philly flash showed no obvious limitations, but didn’t seem to have quite the burst he had last year, either. D’Andre Swift runs against a better-than-expected Missouri defense. (Curtis Compton/AJC) The offensive line had a rough day, with Andrew Thomas, who had just returned to the starting lineup after missing the MTSU game, apparently reinjuring himself, and right guard  Ben Cleveland also leaving the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury. Still, Georgia ended the day with 445 yards of total offense to Missouri’s 393. On defense, cornerback Deandre Baker smothered highly touted Mizzou receiver Emanuel Hall, who didn’t catch a ball all day (but who just had returned from his own groin injury, and didn’t appear to be at full speed). Also impressive was outside linebacker D’Andre Walker, who was a constant presence in the Tigers’ backfield, forcing fumbles on two sacks of Lock. Georgia scored 10 points off three Missouri turnovers, all in the first half, while the Tigers got no points off their one interception. Special teams play was a mixed bag. The blocked punt was big, Hardman had some nice return yards, and Rodrigo Blankenship made three field goals, but he missed another and had one attempt blocked when someone on the line missed an assignment. A stiff wind also put an end to Blankenship’s nation-leading string of touchbacks on kickoffs. The officiating was inconsistent. Georgia benefited from one video review (after Holloman became the latest Bulldog to drop the ball as he was crossing the goal line!) and lost out on another when a fumble recovery was ruled an incomplete pass. The officials hit Georgia with a couple of ticky-tacky calls on plays that didn’t really merit a flag, but completely missed a cheap-shot roughing of Fromm. Overall, any SEC road win is to be savored, and Georgia showed a resilience and ability to answer scores against Mizzou that was encouraging. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that there were signs aplenty in Saturday’s game that this banged-up Bulldogs team has a way to go before fans can start thinking about a return to the College Football Playoff. The post Tough win shows Georgia’s battered Bulldogs need to improve in key areas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs head to Missouri  intent on making quarterback Drew Lock uncomfortable, whether that means recording a sack or not. Bulldogs linebacker Monty Rice made that clear in his media session this week at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall when asked about the Bulldogs generating just one sack through three games. ADVERTISING “It’s not about getting sacks — sacks don’t win games,” Rice said. “It’s about getting pressure on the quarterback, making sure he’s not comfortable, getting him moving his feet.” The No. 2-ranked Georgia football program (3-0) will be facing arguably the best quarterback in the nation in Lock, who has led the Tigers to a 3-0 start and wins in nine of their past 10 games. “I’ve enjoyed my time so far these first three weeks,” Lock said on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday. “Getting UGA in here, being a big-time SEC game, it’s something Columbia needs.” The Bulldogs’ defense certainly won’t have stars in its eyes, having seen top quarterbacks the past two seasons. “Last year Baker Mayfield was an NFL quarterback,” Rice said, “so [Lock] is a person just like we are, he makes mistakes just like I do, so it’s not that big of a deal.” The Bulldogs are a two-touchdown favorite in what many believe could turn into a shootout. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is completing 80 percent of his passes this season with six touchdowns and one interception. The Bulldogs have been so dominant that Fromm has not played in a fourth quarter in the 2018 season. Lock and the Tigers could change that with their potent offense. While Georgia has allowed just two passes of 20 yards or more this season, Missouri has seven receivers who have caught passes of 20 yards or more in the first three games. Rice, who has played both of the inside linebacker positions in the Bulldogs’ 3-4, said taking away the Tigers’ run game is ultimately the key to getting to Lock. “It’s big because we’ve got some good stuff on third down that we can go to, that people won’t be able to block,” Rice said. “But if it’s third-and-2, we can’t run that.” Smart alluded to the same thing, pointing out that Missouri’s commitment to the run under first-year offensive coordinator Derek Dooley has led to favorable matchups for the receivers. “To have the commitment and play in the SEC, you’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Smart said, “and the last three games, their [Missouri’s] commitment to that has allowed them to get one on one matchups outside.” Smart pointed out that Middle Tennessee geared its scheme to get rid of the ball quickly, erasing opportunities for quarterback sacks. South Carolina and Austin Peay were similar, Jonathan Ledbetter said. “The teams that we’ve been playing, we haven’t been able to get a lot of pass rush, that is true, but we’ve been playing teams that have been doing a lot of quick game, the ball is out of the quarterbacks hands in under two seconds, so it’s hard to get to the quarterback,” Ledbetter said. “You have to find other ways to affect them, like batted balls and trying to break up passes with D-Linemen, just to help out the secondary in coverage.” Ledbetter said the Georgia defensive line will be intent on getting to Lock, but like Rice, he said the ultimate objective is to make Lock uncomfortable. “That’s really you can do, you try to get back there as fast as you can, have good pocket push, and the really the way to affect him is to make him step up and get uncomfortable in the pocket,” Ledbetter said, “that just comes with pass rush and everyone working together.”
  • Officials in Winterville say they are looking for people to serve on the Board of Directors for the Winterville Marigold Festival. Applications are on the Marigold Festival website; the deadline to apply is October 1. From the City of Winterville… The Winterville Marigold Festival, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, is seeking applications for new Board of Directors members. Board members will actively participate in planning for the annual Marigold Festival and will be an integral part in the decisions surrounding annual funding of projects in the City. You do not have to reside in Winterville city limits to serve on this board. Applications are available on our website at: http://marigoldfestival.com/files/documents/BoardApplication_2018.pdf and are due by October 1, 2018. For more information about the Winterville Marigold Festival or this Board opportunity, email admin@marigoldfestival.com, visit our website at www.MarigoldFestival.com, or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarigoldFestival/
  • A man accused of shooting his friend in a Lake Oconee mansion said he was protecting himself at the time. In an exclusive interview at the jail with Channel 2's Mark Winne, Chad Haufler, 45, said he remembers the two had been drinking and had gotten into a fight but doesn't remember pulling the trigger. He called the shooting self-defense. 'I'm not denying that I did not do it,' Haufler told Winne.  Channel 2 Action News first told you about this story when the shooting happened on Aug. 29. NewsChopper 2 was above the scene of the mansion that day as officers scoured the yard of the large home for evidence. Crime scene tape roped off a large part of the home. Police said Haufler called 911 around 6:30 a.m. to report the shooting at his home on Jones Bluff Court in Reynolds at Lake Oconee. In the 911 call, Haufler said he had shot an intruder in his home. When deputies arrived, Marc Dimos, 51, was found dead in the basement. Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison Jr. said investigators didn't believe the invasion story and hours later, they charged Haufler with murder. In his interview with Winne, Haufler said Dimos was a friend of his that he met last year in Colorado during a hunting trip. 'We became close. We just clicked together. We became hunting buddies,' Haufler said. Haufler, a retired firefighter from Florida, said he has benefited from good family investments and was recently able to buy the large home on Lake Oconee. Haufler indicated he'd invited Dimos to his family's $1.9 million-plus vacation home. He said they spent time riding in the boat, eating at the Ritz-Carlton and hanging out in the pool, shooting the breeze, until things took a turn. Haufler suggests there is much he does not remember from the night of Aug. 26. Haufler: 'We were drinking.' Winne: 'Were you drunk?' Haufler: 'Yes.' Winne: 'Was Marc Dimos drunk also?' Haufler: 'I would assume so, yes. He was doing shots of tequila. I remember waking up on the floor and Marc has me in a chokehold and I can't breathe. And I remember struggling on the floor with him, fighting and wrestling. I had bruises all over my body and stuff.' Winne: 'You don’t know what caused this?' Haufler: 'I don’t know, I don’t know what caused this. I'd never had any foul words with Marc at all, ever. Winne: 'Where did the gun come from?' Haufler: 'I don’t know where it was.' Winne: 'Would you have been wearing the gun on you in your vacation home?' Haufler: 'No, but I would have a gun in my house.' Winne: 'Would you have had it in the basement?' Haufler: 'Could’ve been.'  When asked if this was a convenient loss of memory, Haufler said, 'Oh, I really wish I could remember. It hurts me every night. I wish I could recall the whole incident.' 
  • The state Board of Regents calls for millions of dollars in state funding for work on new facilities for the University of North Georgia: with the approval of the Georgia legislature, which convenes in January, UNG would get $13.6 million for work on the former campus of Lanier Technical College, which sits next to the main North Georgia campus in Gainesville. 

Bulldog News

  • COLUMBIA, Mo. — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart gave Missouri credit for stepping up and playing a good football game, but the Tigers say the Bulldogs didn’t see their best game. “If we play our A-game, we can compete with anyone in the country, and that’s something I believe in my soul,” Missouri quarterback Drew Lock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We felt like we beat ourselves.” The No. 2-ranked Georgia football program never trailed, taking a 20-7 lead into the halftime despite not getting an offensive touchdown until the second half. Missouri failed to cut the Bulldogs lead to single digits in the second half, and Lock struggled. Lock, who entered the game leading the SEC in passing, failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in a game in more than a year, finishing 23-of-48 for 221 yards with an interception and a lost fumble. Lock’s longest completion went for 25 yards, as Georgia All-American cornerback Deandre Baker erased previous SEC receiving leader Emanuel Hall, holding him without a catch. Still, the Tigers came away convinced they should have beaten Georgia. “It stings because it feels like we gave the game away,” Missouri offensive guard Kevin Pendleton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “All the credit to Georgia. They’re a hell of a team, and they capitalized on a lot of opportunities. But it’s one that’s going to sting and one that we have to carry through the rest of the year so we can’t let this happen again.” Georgia finished with 445 total yards to Missouri’s 393, and quarterback Jake Fromm was 7-of-9 passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone. The Tigers’ defense said much of the Bulldogs’ success had to do with their errors. “We leave the game with a sour taste in our mouth just because of the self-inflicted wounds we put ourselves through,” Missouri linebacker Cale Garrett told the Kansas City Star. “I thought we had a genuine chance to win this game and had them on their heels at times. … “It’s a little bit frustrating to be that close to winning a game and then losing just because of things on our side.” Georgia-Missouri DawgNation coverage 5 things from Georgia win over Missouri: Red flags, orange alert Georgia coach Kirby Smart shares halftime message of 43-29 win Chip Towers Georgia football report card for Missouri Ben Cleveland among 4 Georgia football starters knocked out of Missouri game Jake Fromm happy to get best of Drew Lock in matchup Georgia football stock report for Missouri game Bulldogs freshman Eric Stokes comes through with game ball day Instant analysis: Second-half surge lifts Georgia football Georgia football recap: Real time scoring, breaking news and injuries Bulldogs’ corner Deandre Baker shuts out SEC’s leading receiver The post Missouri QB Drew Lock: ‘We beat ourselves’ in 43-29 loss to Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs maintained their SEC dominance Saturday at Missouri, but a tough road game that the Dawgs couldn’t put away until late in the fourth quarter also revealed some concerns that need fixing if UGA is to live up to expectations. Georgia came into the game knowing that defending against quarterback Drew Lock and his high-powered passing game would be a challenge. Lock completed a lot of passes Saturday, but none of them was for a touchdown, so mark that down as mission accomplished for the Dawgs’ D. Tyson Campbell returns a Missouri fumble for a touchdown during the first half Saturday in Columbia, Mo. (Curtis Compton/AJC) That’s particularly impressive considering that starting cornerback Tyson Campbell, who scooped up a fumble in the first quarter and returned it 64 yards for a score, had to leave the game with a hurt shoulder and dehydration, and was replaced by backup Eric Stokes, who wound up with 3 pass breakups and 4 tackles. (Stokes also was one of the game’s heroes, blocking a second-quarter punt and returning it 8 yards for a touchdown.) However, Mizzou’s resurgent rushing attack proved surprisingly tough to stop (the Tigers scored all four of their touchdowns on runs), with the middle of the Georgia defense looking soft against the ground game, and the continual shuffling of players on the D-line seeming to indicate the coaching staff hasn’t yet solved that puzzle. Mizzou ended up averaging 4.6 yards per run, exactly the same as the acclaimed Georgia rushing attack. The defensive front still doesn’t appear to have gelled; it’s notable that the Dawgs’ leading tacklers on this day were all defensive backs: J.R. Reed (8), Deandre Baker (7) and Richard LeCounte (7). On the other side of the ball, a better-than-expected Tigers defense and an unfocused performance by Jake Fromm and his troops combined to keep the Georgia offense off the scoreboard in the first half. Georgia’s 20-7 halftime lead came courtesy of the defense and special teams. The Dawgs’ explosive offense responded positively to Smart’s “wake up” call at halftime and got back on track. But, even then, Mizzou’s ability to keep chipping away at Georgia’s defense allowed them to hang around as a threat until well into the fourth quarter. As usual with these Dawgs, big plays were the key to the win. Besides the fumble return and the blocked punt that both turned into TDs, Fromm bounced back from going 3-for-9 with an interception in the first half by turning in a second-half performance that included TD passes of 33, 61 and 54 yards. The 61-yarder to J.J. Holloman was a perfect back-shoulder throw by Fromm. On the day, he was 13-of-23 passing for 260 yards, with 3 touchdowns and an interception (which wasn’t his fault; a defender grabbed the ball out of receiver Mecole Hardman’s hands). Eric Stokes celebrates after returning a blocked a punt for a touchdown. (Curtis Compton/AJC) Still, in the end, it was those nonoffensive scores that made the difference for UGA in the 43-29 win. No wonder that Smart sounded as much relieved as he did elated when he spoke with the Bulldogs radio network’s Chuck Dowdle after the game. “We struggled to stop the run and struggled to run the ball,” the Georgia head coach noted. He cited a lack of composure and discipline, adding: “I’m disappointed. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up.” Speaking of things that need cleaning up, besides the troubles stopping the run and too many penalties (7 for 66 yards), Georgia’s offense was poor at third-down conversions, making only 3 of 12. Particularly in need of improvement is the short-yardage game, with the Dawgs having trouble sometimes converting third-and-short and fourth-and-1. Jim Chaney’s play-calling on some drives was ultra conservative, with too many runs up the middle that didn’t get much. Georgia seemed to have more success on the outside, where they could capitalize on their superior team speed. Other times, it wasn’t so much the play-calling as it was Fromm seeming to opt into the wrong play. On one drive in the second quarter, it was third-and-6 and Fromm gave it to Swift, who got very little. With the Tigers in man coverage and the safeties cheating up, a pass likely would have been more successful. Another time, later in the quarter, it was third-and-10, and a run by Swift got about 4 yards. One thing we did find out Saturday was that Georgia does indeed have a red-zone package for Justin Fields. The freshman dual-threat backup QB came in for just one play in the red zone in the second quarter, a short gain on a keeper. The verdict is still out on the effectiveness of that strategy. Otherwise, Fields didn’t play against Mizzou. Besides Fromm in the second half, who looked good for the Dawgs? Riley Ridley, who made 5 catches for 87 yards and one touchdown. One of those catches was a crucial 27-yarder in the fourth quarter that allowed the Dawgs to kill a bunch of clock. Also on offense, the running game may not have been as imposing as most folks expected, but Elijah Holyfield racked up 90 yards on 14 carries while starter D’Andre Swift had 71 yards on 16 runs. It looks like these two really are sort of 1A and 1B (like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were last year), and, based on the past couple of games, I’d say Holyfield deserves to be considered 1A. As for Swift, who was barely used against Middle Tennessee the previous week amid reports he was having some groin trouble, the Philly flash showed no obvious limitations, but didn’t seem to have quite the burst he had last year, either. D’Andre Swift runs against a better-than-expected Missouri defense. (Curtis Compton/AJC) The offensive line had a rough day, with Andrew Thomas, who had just returned to the starting lineup after missing the MTSU game, apparently reinjuring himself, and right guard  Ben Cleveland also leaving the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury. Still, Georgia ended the day with 445 yards of total offense to Missouri’s 393. On defense, cornerback Deandre Baker smothered highly touted Mizzou receiver Emanuel Hall, who didn’t catch a ball all day (but who just had returned from his own groin injury, and didn’t appear to be at full speed). Also impressive was outside linebacker D’Andre Walker, who was a constant presence in the Tigers’ backfield, forcing fumbles on two sacks of Lock. Georgia scored 10 points off three Missouri turnovers, all in the first half, while the Tigers got no points off their one interception. Special teams play was a mixed bag. The blocked punt was big, Hardman had some nice return yards, and Rodrigo Blankenship made three field goals, but he missed another and had one attempt blocked when someone on the line missed an assignment. A stiff wind also put an end to Blankenship’s nation-leading string of touchbacks on kickoffs. The officiating was inconsistent. Georgia benefited from one video review (after Holloman became the latest Bulldog to drop the ball as he was crossing the goal line!) and lost out on another when a fumble recovery was ruled an incomplete pass. The officials hit Georgia with a couple of ticky-tacky calls on plays that didn’t really merit a flag, but completely missed a cheap-shot roughing of Fromm. Overall, any SEC road win is to be savored, and Georgia showed a resilience and ability to answer scores against Mizzou that was encouraging. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that there were signs aplenty in Saturday’s game that this banged-up Bulldogs team has a way to go before fans can start thinking about a return to the College Football Playoff. The post Tough win shows Georgia’s battered Bulldogs need to improve in key areas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Georgia football program left Missouri on Saturday afternoon saying it didn’t live up to the team’s self-imposed standard. The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) got the win, but it came at the cost of four starters getting knocked out of the game including what could be a season-ending leg injury to right guard Ben Cleveland. Here are 5 takeaways from the 43-29 victory over the Tigers (3-1, 0-1), and what it means moving forward. The Injuries Bettors might disagree, but the most impactful part of Saturday’s outcome was Georgia’s potential loss of starting right guard Ben Cleveland (leg) for the rest of the season. Smart’s report on injuries was preliminary, but he also said receiver Tyler Simmons could be out “two to three weeks” with an undisclosed injury. Starting left tackle Andrew Thomas was a surprise start who didn’t appear completely healthy in practice the week. Thomas appeared to re-injure his ankle and is questionable, at best, for the Tennessee game. Freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell suffered a shoulder subluxation and grew nauseated upon his return to the game. Smart said Campbell would be fine, but shoulder subluxations tend to be recurring, so it’s an injury that bears monitoring. Finally, inside linebacker Monty Rice was a pregame scratch, unable to overcome a knee injury (MCL) that Smart said has been troubling him in practice since the Middle Tennessee win on Sept. 15. The issues T he line play is something Smart is truly concerned about, particularly on defense. “If you asked me what was the one most disappointing thing, they were able to run the ball, especially in the low-red area,” Smart said. “It’s one thing to run it in the field, but they ran it in the low-red area, which is concerning for us, because that’s not who we are. “We had everybody in the box we could have in the box, we just didn’t play through people. They out-manned us down there.” The identity Smart made it clear that, despite some short-yardage struggles in the run game, there’s no plan to modify the base offense. “I thought we could get a yard when we had to and didn’t,” Smart said. “That’s something we’ll continue to do. That’s who we are. We’ve just got to get better at it.” Tailbacks Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield were both stopped on down-and-distance situations requiring just one yard, unable to generate anything without the help of Georgia’s suddenly-hobbled offensive line. The Bulldogs’ perimeter speed is what makes the offense elite, even without Cal transfer Demetris Robertson catching a pass or touching the ball since the opening game. The quarterbacks Jake Fromm finished Saturday’s game with great momentum, and Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney showed they’re willing to use Justin Fields situationally. Fromm was 7-of-9 passing for 194 yards with three touchdowns in the second half at Missouri after a slow start, adhering to Smart’s halftime team message to “wake up.” Fields was inserted for one play in the second quarter, a first-down quarterback draw at the Missouri 7 yard line that generated 3 yards. Smart seemed to debunk the notion that Georgia might develop a package for Fields at the start of fall camp, saying he viewed his quarterbacks as similar enough to run the same offense. The future First South Carolina, then Missouri and now Kentucky is deemed the biggest threat to Georgia. But next, Tennessee, a program coming off a self-inflicted, six-turnover 47-21 loss to Florida. Jeremy Pruitt’s history with Georgia is somewhat controversial, most viewing his time with the Bulldogs as beneficial though divisive. It’s a well-time road trip for Pruitt’s Vols, who will arrive at Sanford Stadium with everything to gain and nothing to lose, hoping to recapture the magic that led them to wins over Georgia in 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile it’s a long season for the Bulldogs. With injuries adding up and a front seven that’s failing to measure up, Georgia needs to make good on Smart’s vow to improve each week if they’re to do anything more than win the SEC East Division. Georgia-Missouri DawgNation coverage Georgia coach Kirby Smart shares halftime message of 43-29 win Chip Towers Georgia football report card for Missouri Ben Cleveland among 4 Georgia football starters knocked out of Missouri game Jake Fromm happy to get best of Drew Lock in matchup Georgia football stock report for Missouri game Bulldogs freshman Eric Stokes comes through with game ball day Instant analysis: Second-half surge lifts Georgia football Georgia football recap: Real time scoring, breaking news and injuries Bulldogs’ corner Deandre Baker shuts out SEC’s leading receiver   The post Georgia football: 5 things moving forward, red flags, orange alert appeared first on DawgNation.
  • COLUMBIA, Mo. — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said it was a matter of the offense coming together in the second half, but it sure looked like it might have to do with taking deeper shots downfield. 4️⃣ for more ‼️ #GoDawgs #GeorgiaFootball pic.twitter.com/BgxLs1gPis — Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 23, 2018 Fromm was 13-of-23 passing for 260 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs’ 43-29 win at Missouri on Saturday. First-half Fromm was 6-of-14 passing for 66 yards and an interception — but second-half Fromm was 7-of-9 passing for 194 yards with three touchdowns. “Coach talked to us and said, ‘Hey we have to get things going,’ and collectively, we got together and got things going,” Fromm said, asked about the second half surge. “We just came together as an offensive unit, really focused, really determined and striving toward that one goal.” The first half, Fromm said, was not up to par. “We left a lot of plays and a lot of points out there,” Fromm said. “So we needed to play better on offense in the first half, and just really execute better.” Fromm said “winning is a blessing,” but also, that he expects improvement moving forward. “We need to play better,” Fromm said. “We have a high standard here at the University of Georgia, so we need to come out and practice better this week, and play at the level we can play at.” Fromm entered the game 0-for-6 on third down conversions of third-and-10 or more. On the first instance of such Saturday, he threw an interception from the Missouri 39 in the first quarter. RELATED: Fuss with Jake Fromm through 3 games on third-and-long On the second circumstance on Saturday, a third-and-11 at the Missouri 42 in the fourth quarter, Fromm went downfield and found Riley Ridley for a 27-yard gain. Fromm was not sacked again Missouri despite the Bulldogs losing two starters to injuries in the game. Left tackle Andrew Thomas limped off in the fist quarter, and right guard Ben Cleveland was helped off the field by teammates after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the third quarter. “You hate to see any guy go down, but [no sacks] is a testament to our football team, it’s a next man up mentality,” Fromm said. “Coach [Sam] Pittman does a great job of   recruiting and then coaching as well, so we just roll guys in there and continue to play as a unit.” The Bulldogs play host to Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Georgia football QB Jake Fromm   Georgia-Missouri DawgNation coverage Cornerback Deandre Baker shuts down SEC’s top WR at Missouri Georgia coach Kirby Smart shares halftime message of 43-29 win Ben Cleveland among 4 Georgia football starters knocked out of Missouri game Georgia football stock report for Missouri game Bulldogs freshman Eric Stokes comes through with game ball day Instant analysis: Second-half surge lifts Georgia football Georgia football recap: Real time scoring, breaking news and injuries   The post WATCH Georgia QB Jake Fromm: ‘We need to play better’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • COLUMBIA — Georgia wins by two touchdowns on the road and the primary discussion after the game was what’s wrong with the Bulldogs. This is where Georgia is in year three under Kirby Smart. The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs beat Missouri 43-29 on Saturday at Faurot Field and did so with relative indifference. For sure, there were brief periods of angst and even a moment or two where the outcome was in doubt. But in the grander scheme, the Bulldogs didn’t come close to playing their best football and still won. There were penalties, missed kicks, missed blocks, blocked kick and squandered opportunities. Yet, there Georgia was late in the fourth quarter, running out the clock and taking a knee deep in Missouri territory as the clock expired. “We didn’t play with discipline, composure, really not much physicality when you look at the run game for us and stopping the run defensively,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “But I am proud of the way we competed, proud of the way we were resilient. When they made a play, we came back and made a play. A lot of guys stepped up today.” A lot of guys had to step up because a lot of Bulldogs went down. Four starters left the game with injuries or illness — Andrew Thomas, Ben Cleveland, Tyson Campebell and Tyler Simmons — and yet Georgia never wavered and never trailed. It went ahead 27-7 early in the third quarter and the lead was never seriously threatened again. And this came against a team that may or not be the second-best in the division. Still, the Bulldogs were emphatic in the notion they can play much better. They can, and will need to remain in the playoff discussion. On to the grades: Offense: B It feels too generous to give the offense a good grade based on the team’s comments and remarks after the game. Quarterback Jake Fromm and his cohorts were extremely critical of their own work in the immediate aftermath. There were penalties, an interception, 10 incompletions and the most pedestrian ground game we’ve witnessed since last year’s regular-season game at Auburn. But then there was the good stuff, too. Like the three long scoring plays in the second half and Fromm’s 20-yard average per pass completion. Like Elijah Holyfield’s 90 yards on 14 carries. Like Riley Ridley’s 5 receptions for 87 yards. And most of this came with starting offensive linemen Andrew Thomas (ankle) and Ben Cleveland (lower leg) out of the game with leg injuries. Georgia’s final numbers were where they’ve been at the end of games all season, but just slightly skewed toward the pass: 443 total yards, 185 rushing, 260 passing. But that’s not particularly encouraging seeing what Purdue did against the same defense a week earlier (614 yards, 572 passing). Defense: B Again, 393 yards was a season high allowed by the Bulldogs, as was Missouri’s 26 first downs. But Georgia’s defenders also put another 7 spot on the scoreboard with a fumble-return touchdown by Campbell in the first quarter. And the Bulldogs kept heralded senior quarterback Drew Lock from throwing a touchdown pass for the first time in 13 games. Lock passed for an SEC record 44 touchdown passes last year. As for all those folks wondering aloud a “where’s the pressure,” Georgia’s defense answered emphatically with two sacks, three hurries and two forced fumbles. Senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker had a hand in most of that, but so did interior linemen Julian Rochester, Jonathan Ledbetter and Tyler Clark. Meanwhile, playing without Campbell (shoulder, dehydration) for much of the game, Georgia’s secondary held its own against the best receiver corps it has seen so far. Redshirt freshman Eric Stokes stepped in for Campbell at corner and had four pass break-ups. Fellow corner Deandre Baker also shut out Missouri big-play wideout Emanuel Hall. Smart was not pleased with the Tigers’ 172 rushing yards and their general success on first down. And Missouri went 4-for-4 with four touchdowns in the red zone. Special teams: C Returner Mecole Hardman got the rare opportunity to bring a few kickoffs out of the end zone. He returned three of for 91 yards and added 23 yards on one punt return. Also, the Bulldogs landed the special teams’ holy grail — a blocked-kick touchdown. Eric Stokes blocked a punt with his facemask and returned the ball eight yards for a score. Meanwhile, place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship had three more field goals and recorded his resident seven touchbacks on kickoffs. But Blankenship also missed a 49-yard kick wide right and had another field-goal attempt blocked. Blankenship had his consecutive touchback streak of 23 in a row this season end. Jake Camarda averaged 41 yards on two punts, but he got away with one skied shank, which ended on a favorable roll. Overall, not bad, but average for a group that usually dominates the opponent. Coaching: B Georgia seemed to have a good game plan for Missouri. The Bulldogs wanted to be aggressive in every way and were. They won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, which was out of character.  Then they took risks, throwing more deep balls on offense and occasionally blitzing to get pressure on Lock. Georgia did not record a first-half offensive touchdown, however, and was 0-for-3 getting in the end zone from the red zone. On first-and-goal from the 7, the Bulldogs brought in quarterback Justin Fields, who ran a quarterback draw for three yards on first down and then left the game for good. And then Jake Fromm was asked to throw on two straight deep corner patterns, which failed. Once again, halftime adjustments resulted in second-half dividends. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the third quarter and again on the first play of the fourth quarter. But Missouri matched them with two third-quarter scores as well. The Bulldogs were flagged for seven times for 66 yards in penalties. Smart bemoaned Georgia’s  lack of “discipline and composure” Saturday and said, “that’s on me.” Overall: B Again, it’s good any time you can win a divisional conference game by two touchdowns on the road. But with a No. 2 national ranking and early College Football Playoff projections, the Bulldogs are now going to be compared to the best the teams in the country. Right now the No. 1 team is Alabama, and Georgia hasn’t looked like it could compete with the Crimson Tide. The good news is Georgia has yet to play at peak level and the Bulldogs’ coaches will return to Athens with many “teaching moments” to go over. This remains the SEC’s youngest team and the 15th youngest in the country, with 68.2 percent freshmen and sophomores. So there is certainly time and opportunity for continued improvement. DawgNation coverage of Georgia-Missouri: Georgia QB Jake admittedly pleased to get edge on buddy Drew Lock Postgame Injury Report: 4 starters have to leave game with injuries INSTANT ANALYSIS: Another 2nd-half surge for Bulldogs puts away Missouri, 43-29 Bulldogs’ Deandre Baker shuts out SEC’s top receiver Heads-up play by Eric Stokes benefits Georgia on defense, special teams Stock Report: Georgia cashes in on Missouri turnovers Georgia coach Kirby Smart shares halftime message vs. Missouri WATCH: Georgia’s D’Andre Walker doubles down on sacks DawgNation Pregame: Georgia fans turn out big at Missouri’s Memorial Stadium         The post Report card: Along with victory, Georgia returns from Missouri with many ‘teaching moments’ appeared first on DawgNation.