UGA Football

Smart's main reason for why Georgia can't afford to overlook Missouri

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks downfield for a pass against Kentucky.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock looks downfield for a pass against Kentucky. AP

It is a coach-speak cliché to say a team is better than the record indicates.

But Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has a valid reason to say this in regards to Missouri, his team's opponent Saturday.

Sure, Missouri's defense hasn't slowed down any of the teams it has played. But the offense has shown it can be explosive when it is clicking.

The Tigers, however, have failed to click due to its issue with turning the ball over. For the season, Missouri is minus-10 in turnover margin, which is the worst in the SEC. 

If not for turnovers, Smart believes Missouri would have been more competitive in a few of its losses.

"Again, they stop themselves," Smart said. "People don’t stop them. They’ve stopped themselves with turnovers, so we’ve got to have a good plan and we’ve got to play well."

Missouri has lost 14 total turnovers -- eight fumbles and six interceptions.

Against South Carolina, Missouri actually jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, only to then be outscored 31-3 the remainder of the way in a 31-13 loss. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock threw two picks and receiver Johnathan Johnson lost a fumble.

In a 35-3 loss to Purdue, Lock threw two more picks and Richaud Floyd lost a fumble. Last week in a close 40-34 defeat to Kentucky, the Tigers surrendered two fumbles.

Missouri is averaging 2.8 turnovers per game. Combine that with a defense that has allowed an average of 40 points per game and it is easy to see why the Tigers already have four losses.

Smart's fear is that Missouri finally puts a game together where it is free of the kind of mistakes that have plagued it all season. If so, it is evident the Tigers can move the ball. Despite the problems Missouri has faced, it still ranks second in the SEC in total offense with 469.8 yards per game.

Against Kentucky last week, Missouri posted 568 total yards, with Lock going for 355 yards and three touchdowns.

"They have a bunch of good skill players and wideouts we have seen in the past," defensive back Aaron Davis said. "They have a quarterback who can deliver it to them. They're no team to overlook. They could beat anybody on any given Saturday."