COLUMBIA, Mo. – As the end neared, and the old guard team of the SEC had wrested control from the rookie team, the Georgia fans in the corner of Missouri’s stands started up the chant.
“Old man football,” they chanted in unison. “Old man football.”
Georgia began the week being pilloried by Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for playing “old man football.” After a sluggish start, especially on offense, the Bulldogs finished Saturday night by playing young, energetic and eventually dominant. They cruised to a 41-20 victory in their SEC opener, and Missouri’s SEC debut.
And Jarvis Jones led the way.
Georgia’s All-American linebacker was a dominant force all night, and in the pivotal fourth quarter his interception set up one touchdown, and his sack and forced fumble set up the final one for Georgia.
Meanwhile, the Georgia offense woke up after struggling, particularly quarterback Aaron Murray. The Heisman trophy candidate had three touchdown passes, two of them to Marlon Brown.
Missouri (1-1) actually led 17-9 early in the third quarter. Quarterback James Franklin was starting to figure out how to escape Jones and the Georgia defense and get the passing game going.
Georgia (2-0) answered with a long drive, capped by Murray hitting Tavarres King on a 7-yard touchdown on a slant pattern.
But Franklin drove Missouri back downfield quickly. This time Georgia’s defense firmed up, holding Missouri to a 25-yard Andrew Baggett field goal.
At that point, the Bulldogs gained control of the game.
It was third-and-12 when Murray hit Brown on a great timing pass downfield. The next play, a receiver screen to Michael Bennett, went down to the 11. And on the next play Murray zipped a pass to Brown, who held on while being sandwiched by two defenders.
Georgia had its first lead, 24-20, with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Bulldog defense held on the next possession – and then Missouri faked a punt in its own territory. But Richard Samuel, the running back playing on punt block, threw off his man and made the tackle at Missouri’s 38.That set up another field goal by Morgan, from 41 yards, to make it 27-20.
A few minutes later, Jones picked off a Franklin pass and almost returned it 20 yards, ruled down at the 1. Gurley punched it in a play later.
The “old man football” chant sprang up again in the Georgia stands. The Missouri fans began to head to the exits.