Missouri will play host to the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night in a key SEC East showdown. Georgia is currently a 6.5 point favorite in the game which could be as a result of the Bulldogs’ sub-par performance last week at home against Nicholls State.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools with Georgia taking three out of the first four games including a 9-6 defensive battle in Athens a season ago. Missouri will be looking for a positive showing from its home crowd even though around 15,000 tickets remained as of early this week. Mizzou is looking to make a statement and keep the positive momentum going following an impressive 61-21 win over Eastern Michigan last week and a victory over a ranked opponent would be immeasurable for a program trying to regain its footing as SEC East contenders.
Where it all began
Missouri entered the SEC back in 2012 exuding supreme confidence. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson famously proclaimed that the Bulldogs played “old man football” which would act as bulletin board material for the talented Georgia squad who came into Columbia and pulled away from Mizzou late as they notched a 41-24 victory in what was the Tigers’ first game as a part of the SEC.
Keys to a Missouri win
Stop the run. Georgia is going to try to run the football with sensational running back Nick Chubb leading the way. After rushing for over 200 yards against North Carolina, he was limited to just 80 against Nicholls State a week ago. Missouri’s run defense has been shaky to start the season so there will have to be vast improvement in that department this week for the Tigers to be successful in stopping the Bulldog running game.
Rattle Georgia’s quarterbacks. Expect to see both freshman sensation Jacob Eason and senior Greyson Lambert in the game Saturday. This will be Eason’s first ever road game and if there was ever a time for the Mizzou pass rush to return with a vengeance it’s definitely Saturday night. Look for All-SEC defensive end Charles Harris to play a big role as he seeks his first sack of the young season.
Continue positive offensive momentum. Quarterback Drew Lock was phenomenal a week ago throwing for 450 yards and five touchdowns, albeit against Eastern Michigan. As Lock continues to progress, Missouri will need young playmakers like Ray Wingo, Johnathon Johnson and Emanuel Hall to keep catching the ball and stretching the field in the passing game. In addition, veterans J’Mon Moore, Chris Black and Sean Culkin must contribute at a high level with limited mistakes.
Sure up the kicking game. The Tigers had two different kickers miss extra points against Eastern Michigan. Freshman kicker Tucker McCann has all the talent in the world but he’s going to have to find some consistency quickly or it could cost Missouri a game.
Keep the crowd in the game. Mizzou fans are desperate for something positive to happen. Reports out there have stated that there are several thousand tickets remaining for the game Saturday night but it’s up to Barry Odom and the team to live up to their own hastag and to #ShowMe and show the crowd that this team is ready to be competitive in this conference. Two years ago, Georgia came to Columbia and left with a 34-0 shutout win and the crowd never had a chance to so much as stand up and clap. That absolutely cannot happen again.