It goes without saying, but I will say it: this is going to be a tough game for the Missouri Tigers to win. It also goes without saying, a victory against the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs would be the biggest SEC victory in Missouri Tigers football history. No shortage of near-perfection is needed to take down the champs. At minimum, three of the following five need to happen.
Mid-field offense: The Georgia Bulldogs have allowed only three touchdowns to opponents through the first four games of the season. It is easy to get caught up in red zone scoring and what teams do inside the 20-yard line. One measurement of success for Mizzou on Saturday, will be just making it to the red zone. Sure, once you are there you must score, however the toughest challenge will be offensive effectiveness from the Tigers’ own 30 yard-line to Georgia’s 30-yard line.
Special teams: The Missouri Tigers have proven they can be a threat in the return game, mostly when playmakers, like Luther Burden are back on return duty. Coach Eli Drinkwitz wants to limit the damage and hits on Burden, understandably so. The gift and the curse. Burden showed us what he could do on special teams against Abilene Christian University. It seems reckless to over-work him there when his intended duties are at wideout. Some would argue it is reckless to not have him back for kicks against the best team in the nation. Mizzou will need every advantage they can get. It is safe to say Georgia may not punt much, so why not?
Protect the Quarterback: Unless he is injured, Brady Cook should start and finish the game. If Mizzou is getting blown out, he may not be under center in the end, but if they are getting blown out, nothing here matters anyway. Cook needs time. Just enough to make short, safe throws. I have been screaming to let Brady rip it deep, but Georgia is one of the best at capitalizing on bad throws, ranking 11th in the nation in interceptions, and 7th in opponent completion percentage, so the safe word on Saturday, is safe. With time, Brady Cook can find receivers across the middle, and on short outs. Missouri has the receivers to make short plays long gains. More on that next.
Dominic Lovett and Luther Burden: When the clicks are clicking, life be good. We need to see a game where both star wide receivers are getting it. Is this that game? These guys are both very fast, elusive, and dangerous with any amount of open space. My hopes are Drinkwitz will get creative and run them in motion, line them on the same side, bring Luther out of the Wild Cat formation, and experiment with them crossing each other over the middle at least a few times. Weapons are a requirement when you are at war.
Turnovers: The margin for error is zero. It is literally non-existent. The Georgia Bulldogs make few mistakes. If the Missouri Tigers have a +2 ratio in the turnover battle, I like their chances. Missouri will face the best pass rush they have seen to date, protecting Brady Cook (see bullet 3) will ultimately tell if Mizzou will be competitive or lay down.
Game: Georgia Bulldogs vs Missouri Tigers Date: Saturday, October 1, 2022 Time: 7:30 PM ET Location: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium Odds/Point Spread: Georgia (-29) FanDuel Sportsbook Over/Under: (54) FanDuel Sportsbook
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