I know many of you watch our film preview shows on the DawgsCentral YouTube channel. For those who don’t have the time to sit down and view a video preview I put together these pregame notes from my film study outline. If you’d like to watch our UGA-Missouri film preview you can view it at the link below. Now, let’s get into things…
MISSOURI DEFENSE vs UGA OFFENSE
- Mizzou’s DL flashed against UGA’s OL interior last year. Can they do it again? The first play from their game against Abilene Christian shows a front that was blockable for an FCS team. Mizzou got pushed around up front by ACU a lot. It’s defense had a hard time getting push up front. There are times where they make some plays in the holes, but they aren’t getting push too much. If they couldn’t shut down the rushing attack of an FCS team they are likely to struggle against UGA’s OL. They aren’t built to blow anyone off of the ball. One is likely to look at the fact they held Auburn to 103 rushing yards on 41 carries and thing they are a good run defense. They are not. Kansas State’s top 3 ball carriers went for 199 yards and 6.2 yards a carry against the Tigers.
- On one of ACU’s 1st quarter drives they get the ball on their own 1 and run immediately out of the end zone for 5 yards. Then comes a 3rd & 4. ILB #8 Ty’Ron Hopper is in the game. He misses a tackle as the ACU RB turns the corner. Two plays later, he’s going to miss another tackle. This time it’s right in the middle of the field. Hopper is one of Mizzou’s best pass rushers, but he has a PFF Tackle grade of 19.4… He is awful in run support. Hopper is good in coverage and as a pass rusher. His 91.6 coverage grade is the highest on Missouri’s team.
- After his third missed tackle of the drive, Mizzou decides it’s time that they take Hopper out of the game. They bring in Chad Bailey #33 (questionable for Saturday) and Will Norris #22 at ILB. These two immediately miss a run fit, with Norris filling the wrong hole and Bailey whiffing on a tackle after initially filling towards the wrong gap. Missouri’s LB’s aren’t very good.
- One guy to watch is CB #14 Kris Abrams-Draine. He’s a decent cover corner and makes some nice plays on the ball on tape. He has been targeted 19 times and allowed 8 receptions this season for 84 yards. He’s the best DB the Tigers have and is their #1 corner. He does a nice job of working the boundaries.
- THIS SECONDARY IS POOOOORRRRR AT TACKLING. A play from the Abilene Christian game had me howling at 1:00 AM in my living room. #2 is Ennis Rakestraw (14 TGT/9 REC 118 YDS), he is there #2 CB and plays the boundary opposite of Abrams-Draine. Rakestraw absolutely dives at air at some points and will bust some assignments, particularly in Zone Coverage. Rakestraw was good early in his career but hasn’t really continued to develop.
- If there’s one thing Mizzou does okay it’s cover… I think? I don’t know. Louisiana Tech threw for 336 yards against them. Maybe AU just sucks and Ashford doesn’t see the field well. Louisiana Tech had a lot of success picking on #28 Joseph Charleston, the Slot CB in Missouri’s defense. LaTech hit him for 4 receptions and 84 yards on 7 targets.
- On the whole, I think the middle of the field can be had pretty easily for UGA in this game. Manuel #1 and Carlies #3 are the safeties. They are assignment sound but they’re not playmakers or special athletes. I think UGA’s TE group can work those two a lot and I expect Georgia to try some deep stuff down the seams. I think they can hit some plays down the middle, particularly after the Bulldogs establish the run in this game.
- Hopper (#8) and Edge Isiah Maguire (#9) are Mizzou’s two best pass rushers. They have a nice moment against AU where they both come off of the right side and Maguire gets a strip sack for a turnover. The two have 9 pressures each on the year. Georgia will have to watch those guys on pass rush situations, but Jones and McClendon are so solid I don’t really see them creating problems on the edges. Hopper could come with an A-Gap blitz at some junctures. Georgia’s Guards need to do a better job of recognizing their assignments on delay blitzes than they have lately when he does.
MISSOURI OFFENSE vs UGA DEFENSE
- Luther Burden is Mizzou’s biggest weapon. He’s questionable for this game and likely won’t be playing on Saturday. That’s a big uh-oh for the Tigers. He hasn’t made a ton of big plays as a WR so far this year, but he has the athletic ability to make a big play and matchup with the athletes on Georgia’s defense. There’s only a few guys on this roster that could play significant snaps for the Dawgs and he is one of them. If not for a long punt return TD he made against ACU that game would have been 10-3 at halftime. He’s good in open space, but with him out or severely limited it takes a lot of the threat out of this offense.
- QB Brady Cook will make some POOR decisions. He stares down WR’s a lot and doesn’t look off defenders nearly enough. His wideouts don’t get a ton of separation on tape, so he’s usually throwing into tight windows.
- Missouri’s best WR is Dominic Lovett. He is usually lined up in the slot and he leads Mizzou in receiving by a large margin. He’s had 21 catches on 29 targets for 372 yards and 2 TD’s. He is currently the SEC’s leading receiver.
- There’s a clip of Mizzou getting blown up on 3rd & 2 by Abilene Christian… Woof. This offensive line does not run block well across the board. #55 is Connor Tollison the Center. He struggles in particular. Watch for UGA to try and attack him with Jalen Carter and Co. I would also expect you will see more A-Gap blitzes from Dumas-Johnson and Mondon.
- There are multiple 3rd and short plays against Abilene Christian that result in a stuff or a loss and lead to a Missouri punt. Missouri’s offensive staff kept calling run plays in short yardage situations with the expectation that they should be able to blow an FCS team off the ball at home. They couldn’t do it though, especially on inside runs.
- Missouri’s OL doesn’t pick up delay blitzes too well from what I see on tape.
- Cook can make some nice throws. He has a live arm and he can drive the ball downfield. There are some throws he makes into pockets of zone coverage that make you say wow. He’ll use trajectory and arm strength to hit a WR in a window between three defenders. He showed decent touch on a Wheel Route down the sideline to HB Cody Shrader versus ACU. Then he stares guys down and tries to do too much and gets himself in trouble.
- Nathaniel Peat is the #1 HB and averages 4.8 yards a carry. He’s the most productive RB because he’s a bruiser who can run through some contact. With this Mizzou OL they’ve gotta have back who can fall forward and bounce off some tackles. Otherwise almost everything would be a stop play.
- This is allegedly an SEC offensive line. Lots of plays I watched where I just wrote “Yikes!” into my notes.
- Mizzou has a screen game. Expect to see it after Kent State’s success against UGA. The good news for Georgia is that Missouri’s WR’s do not block particularly well. The Dawgs have been working on screen pursuit a lot this week as well.
- Cook will stare down a WR from time to time. He’s especially prone to doing that when trying to go over the middle. UGA should be able to jump one or tow of those if he does it on Saturday.
- One thing that really stands out is Mizzou’s Pass Protection issues. LG Xavier Delgado #72 seems to be the biggest liability. He gave up 3 QB hurries and a sack against Auburn. RT #51 Zeke Powell is also a liability in pass block situations.
- On “True Pass Set” plays wher Mizzou runs a classic dropbacks with no rolling pocket, play-action or quick game they REALLY struggle. On 37 TPS Plays so far this year with 15 pressures allowed. Nobody has tried to dropback and throw downfield against Georgia so far this year. If Missouri does it on Saturday then UGA should be able to rack up some sacks and QB pressures.
- Penn State ran for nearly 7 yards a carry on Auburn. Missouri couldn’t do much of anything on the ground against them
- One of the reasons Cook makes a lot of bad decisions is that his WR’s don’t get too much separation. He makes a lot of throws where he has to be perfect. If he’s a half-step behind his WR on the throw then it’s falling into the DB’s arms instead.
- I expect Mizzou to run a lot of quick game like this against UGA because of their OL struggles.
- Cook can do enough with his legs to make you respect him. He’s not going to run around or over anyone, but if you leave the backside open on a zone-read play and he options to keep the ball he can run 12 yards for a first down on the backside of the defense and scamper out of bounds. UGA’s Edges will have to at least acknowledge him and wait until they force the handoff before crashing towards the Missouri RB. They’ll even mix in the occasional speed option look.
- Mookie Cooper WR #5 only has a few catches on the season but flashed against Auburn. Watch out for him on Saturday with Burden out.
- Mizzou ran a lot of play-action and misdirection concepts against Auburn and will likely have have to run that on Saturday against UGA’s front. They brought WR’s and HB’s in motion before the play or right at the snap and had them head towards the boundaries while trying to fake a run action up the middle to freeze the LB’s. Then Cook would pull it and flip it out to the motion man on the edge. It was relatively effective for them. I say relatively because they scored 14 points in the game, but those concepts allowed them to move the ball more than pretty much anything else the Tigers did. Georgia will have to tackle in space on the boundaries, but I don’t think those tricks will work with athletes like Dumas-Johnson, Mondon, Marshall and UGA’s Edges.
- Interesting play from the MIZ-AU game… Missouri with a called deep shot to their #1 WR Lovett. He gets no separation but Cook throws it anyways. This could be a multiple INT game for the UGA defense
- Lovett is the only real established deep threat, especially with Burden hobbled or out. Gotta get your head around when guarding Lovett or he’ll findthe ball and make a big play on you when you least expect it. Most of his deep catches come on under thrown balls where he just finds it and goes up and the CB doesn’t turn in time and ends up out of position
SCORE PREDICTION & FINAL THOUGHTS
Remember Eli Drinkwitz’s corny video last year where he’s looking into the camera and saying, “shooters shoot” after Luther Burden’s commitment to Missouri? Well, I bet Kirby Smart does.
Georgia can run the ball well on Saturday and get the ground game humming. They will do that, and I expect Daijun Edwards to go over 100 yards on the day, but the 2022 Georgia offense is not the same offense of years past. This team throws to setup the run and it uses the passing game to get the ball out on the edges. With the exception of Hopper, I think Missouri’s LB’s and Safeties are pretty slow. I expect UGA to continue using its screen game with great success even with Kenny McIntosh likely out of the lineup. You might see Ladd, Bowers, Bell, Edwards, and others catching swing passes and screens on the edge as Washington, Rosemy, McConkey, etc. plow a pathway for them.
I think Georgia can come close to naming their score on Saturday and I think Missouri is going to struggle mightily to reach double digits. The Bowers show will continue as it always does, but I expect the Dawgs to connect on 2-3 downfield shots on Saturday. What better way to continue reminding elite WR recruits that Georgia’s offense is not just plenty modern, but also sleek, efficient, and effective than going for a big number in the passing game as Luther Burden watches up close and person?
This isn’t Kent State or Samford, and I expect Missouri to get a full dose of the Monken offense with a Georgia defense that makes things a little more confusing than it did with the base package stuff it ran last weekend. The Dawgs shouldn’t give up much of anything on the ground, and I think they’ll make 1-2 interceptions on Cook. I wouldn’t be shocked if Missouri is able to connect on a deep shot or two of their own to Lovett, but even if they do I don’t think those plays will go all the way for touchdowns. If Missouri tries to run tempo or attempt more than the occasional long pass I think UGA will put some sacks up on Cook.
Georgia’s red zone offense will look much closer to the way it did in Atlanta and Columbia, SC on Saturday night than it did in UGA’s two home games. Stetson Bennett might not have to play into the 4th quarter. Then again, Kirby may want to see his QB put up 350+ yards in this one… Dawgs cover the 4 TD spread comfortably.
Georgia 45 - Missouri 6