- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Georgia’s offense was putting together another embarrassing performance in a nationally televised road game Saturday night against Missouri. Until it wasn’t.
Once Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs offense got rolling, the rout was on for the Bulldogs, who scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to blow open a game where it looked like they might blow it again while in the national spotlight.
All-American Jarvis Jones played a big role in the scoring outburst by creating two turnovers deep in Missouri territory in the fourth quarter, setting up two short touchdowns. But the offense deserves credit for breaking out of its funk and helping Georgia win the first big SEC East game of the season.
It was over when: Jones sealed the win when he intercepted a James Franklin pass and returned it 21 yards to the Missouri 1-yard line, setting up Todd Gurley’s touchdown run on the next play that put the Bulldogs up 34-20.
Game ball goes to: Jones. Receiver Marlon Brown and quarterback Murray could make an argument here, but Jones created turnovers on two consecutive Missouri possessions in the fourth quarter -- both deep in Tigers territory -- that helped Georgia blow open an extremely tight game.
Stat of the game: 4-for-5. The Bulldogs couldn’t have been more inept on third down in the first half, going 0-for-7. But the offense began to click in the second half, and it showed on third down, as well. They went 4-for-5 in the third quarter -- including a tough 9-yard run on third-and-7 by Ken Malcome and a third-and-11 pass from Murray to Brown that went 40 yards and set up the Bulldogs’ go-ahead touchdown (on an 11-yard pass to Brown).
Turning point: Georgia was in a desperate situation late in the second quarter when Missouri quickly drove and scored a touchdown to go up 10-3. But the Bulldogs immediately responded with a one-minute drive, capped by a 2-yard Murray touchdown pass to Brown that made it 10-9 at halftime. Georgia scored on five of its next seven drives after that.
What it means: Georgia’s brand of “old man football” is apparently potent enough to beat Missouri at home in a game that many Tigers fans proclaimed as the biggest in program history. Tigers defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson used that derisive description of Georgia’s style of play a week ago, but the Tigers didn’t have enough to stand up to the pounding for a full four quarters.