With one throw, it seemed like the game was already over.
Missouri jumped out to an early lead on Georgia, with the Bulldogs facing a fourth-and-six from the Tigers’ 37-yard line. The Bulldogs elected to go for it, with conventional wisdom being that they would run something safe to pick up the first down.
Stetson Bennett had other ideas.
Seeing receiver Arian Smith in man coverage, Bennett stepped into his throw down the left side of the field, with the speedy Smith having a step on his man. Bennett’s ball fell in exactly the perfect spot, with Smith scoring the game’s first touchdown.
The play happened near the end of the first quarter, with Georgia holding a slim lead. It didn’t matter. From that moment, it felt like the Bulldogs were in control en route to their 43-6 victory over Missouri.
The Bulldogs were able to pour on the points from there, scoring an unanswered 40 before the Tigers tacked on a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Bennett put in a great performance, completing 13 of 19 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. JT Daniels saw his first game action since suffering a Grade 1 lat injury. Daniels entered the game in relief during the third quarter, completing seven of 11 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
What it means
Georgia remains on pace for an unbeaten regular season with Saturday’s dominating victory over Missouri. With the SEC East wrapped up a week ago, the Bulldogs are playing for regular season perfection as they embark on a quest to return to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2017.
Until otherwise proven, Georgia is by far the best team in the nation. They showed it on the football field once again, with Tennessee up next week.
Three important plays
Bennett’s dime: After trading punts, Missouri was the first to score with a field goal in the first quarter. On Georgia’s ensuing possession, the Bulldogs moved the ball to the Tigers’ 37-yard line, with Bennett scrambling for only a two-yard gain on third-and-eight. Georgia decided to go for it, with Bennett looking deep down the field. He tossed an absolutely perfect throw to Smith in the left corner of the end zone. That first score, with 42 seconds to go in the first quarter, propelled Georgia to its big victory.
Blocked punt: After almost blocking Missouri’s first punt, the Bulldogs burst through the line of scrimmage to block the second. This time, linebacker Nolan Smith came through to block the ball into the end zone. Safety Dan Jackson sprinted to recover the ball, but was unable to bring it in. The Bulldogs were forced to settle for a safety, which ended up being better than the alternative. Georgia took the two points and then scored a touchdown on its ensuing touchdown drive. This gave the Bulldogs nine points instead of seven before giving the ball back to Missouri.
Going deep again: On the offensive possession following the safety, Bennett launched a deep ball down the field to Jermaine Burton. Burton had a masterful grab but was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Zamir White was able to punch the ball into the end zone on the next play to put Georgia up, 16-3. Burton actually had two passes in the first half in which he ended up short of the goal line. He eventually got into the end zone with a swing pass reception early in the third quarter.
Missouri elected to take away the run with eight-man boxes, and Bennett made the man-to-man Tigers pay with some big plays through the air. The running backs combined for 168 rushing yards, with White extending his touchdown streak to seven games in a row. It took a while before the run game could get going, although much of that can be credited to the Missouri defense doing its part to take that aspect of Georgia’s offense away.
Georgia’s defense dominated once again. What’s new?
Special teams: A-
Georgia blocked a punt and got a 26-yard punt return from receiver Kearis Jackson. However, its first-quarter punt coverage play that allowed a 27-yard return was one of the worst of the season.
Season grades to date
Special teams: A-