After Georgia scored a touchdown to take a one-point lead with a little more than a minute remaining n Saturday's game, Missouri quarterback Drew Lock found wide receiver J’Mon Moore over the middle for what would have been a 20-yard gain.
Except, safety Dominick Sanders knocked the ball loose.
Cornerback Juwuan Briscoe locked his eyes on the ball and jumped on it, sealing the win for Georgia and redeeming what was a tale of two halves for the sophomore corner.
“It happened in the blink of an eye, but I had to react and get on the ball,” Briscoe said. “That’s what I did.”
The sophomore knew he had to get to the ball before anyone else in order to protect Georgia's 28-27 win over Missouri. He also had to make up for mistakes he made earlier in the game.
In the second quarter, Briscoe was burned on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Lock to Moore that gave Missouri a 20-14 lead. After the play, Briscoe wrung his hands and shook his head, his dreadlocks shaking back and forth.
Then, early in the third quarter, Moore caught a 6-yard touchdown pass on a slant route. Briscoe was the corner covering him, except he was yards away when Moore caught the ball.
“It frustrated me,” Briscoe said. “But my teammates and my coaches, they believed in me. I had to keep fighting for them.”
In the first half, Briscoe wasn’t the only Georgia defensive back who struggled as the Bulldogs surrendered 322 yards passing and two touchdowns. At the break, Moore had six receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown.
In the second half, Lock threw for 54 yards and three interceptions. Moore had two catches for 24 yards.
“We got in at halftime (and) they came and talked to us and told us, ‘Calm down. Trust what we see,’ ” Briscoe said. “And that’s what we did.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the team didn’t do much differently in the second half to stop the Missouri air attack but that stopping the run allowed the Bulldogs to play different coverages. He also said Lock’s three second-half interceptions were “gifts.”
The first of Lock’s interceptions came midway through the third quarter, and he was intercepted by none other than Briscoe. After Briscoe’s interception – his second of the season – Georgia’s defense began to lock down the Missouri offense.
For Briscoe, who has started the first three games of this season, the interception and fumble recovery were significant moments.
“I feel like I’ve matured a lot,” Briscoe said. “(Coaches) tell me to trust my technique (and) my keys. That’s just what I do.”