UGA Football

Five at the half: Notes and thoughts at halftime of Georgia's game vs. Missouri

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm attempts a pass against Missouri.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm attempts a pass against Missouri. AP

Here are five notes and thoughts at the half, with Georgia leading Missouri 34-21.

Fromm airs it out

Missouri's defense isn't particularly good. With Georgia running the ball at will lately, the Tigers decided their game-plan would be to load up the box and attack the ball carriers. By doing so, this freed up Georgia's wideouts in man coverage on the outside, which created quite a few mismatches.

Quarterback Jake Fromm took advantage early and often. He had 142 yards and a touchdown at the end of the first quarter. Fromm hadn't been asked to throw much all season and impressed when called upon early. The Bulldogs got a really good performance out of him in the first half. He finished 16-of-21 passing for 250 yards, which is already a career high.

Fromm did throw an interception, but credit linebacker Cale Garrett with a great break and read on the ball. It didn't look like Fromm ever saw him on the play. Garrett's pick did help set up Missouri's first score.

While Fromm did have a stellar first half throwing the ball, it should be noted that Missouri has one of the worst pass defenses in the SEC. The Tigers came into the game ranking 13th in the SEC at 265.8 yards through the air allowed.

Where was Georgia's defense?

So the good news for Georgia was that Fromm was able to have his way against Missouri's secondary. The bad news for Georgia was that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock had his way with the Bulldogs' secondary.

Georgia's secondary employs man coverage, oftentimes with one safety over the top. Against a team like Missouri, which trots out four- and five-wide sets frequently, that can be a tough assignment. And Lock made the Bulldogs pay on two deep throws.

Both plays came from 63 yards out. Both scores went to receiver Emanuel Hall. And on both instances, Hall got over the top of the defensive backs guarding him. In the first half, Lock finished with 173 yards and three scores. He did add a pick on an overthrow later in the second quarter, which proved vital for Georgia.

This marked the first time all year a team was able to post 20 points on Georgia. And it came in the first half. Head coach Kirby Smart won't be happy about that in the locker room.

Battered Bulldogs

A lot of what transpired on defense could be attributed to the attrition Georgia dealt with entering this game.

Georgia was already without defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (sprained MCL), linebacker Reggie Carter (undisclosed) and linebacker Natrez Patrick (suspension). Before kickoff it was revealed defensive linemen David Marshall and DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle would be unavailable.

Late in the second half, Tyler Clark had to be helped to the locker room due to an apparent injury.

Outside linebacker Davin Bellamy was still able to play but isn't his normal self with the club on his broken left hand, something he admitted earlier in the week.

Georgia's interior pass rush was unable to get much pressure on Lock, which gave him quite a bit of time to throw the ball. Georgia will hope to heal up considerably over the bye before the Florida game.

Running game gets going late

At the end of the first quarter, Georgia totaled 50 rushing yards. Thirty-five of them came on an end-around from Mecole Hardman. It was tough sledding in the early going.

As mentioned, Missouri sold out on the run early and often, forcing Fromm to do work through the air.

Georgia stayed with the run, however, and ended the half strong. Sony Michel added a 36-yard touchdown run, with the Bulldogs totaling 157 first-half rushing yards.

Track meet

Georgia's offense was able to get a couple of hurdlers on the field.

First, it was Nick Chubb jumping over a Missouri defender on a long run. Later, it was Charlie Woerner jumping over a would-be tackler on what turned out to be a 50-yard gain.

The Bulldogs haven't had that kind of hurdling display since Todd Gurley was running between the hedges.