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This was one of two games in the spotlight last weekend. Missouri and Texas A&M were both playing in their first SEC game and many people wanted to see how they did against SEC competition. Extra fuel was added to the fire for this game when Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said that Georgia was boring and played “old man football”. To add to the drama, Georgia had 4 players suspended from their defense, including two players in my preseason top 5 at their position (Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo).
Neither team looked crisp early. Both teams made critical mistakes and with just under 6:00 left in the first half, the score was tied at 3-3. At that point, both offenses got hot and for a while the teams traded scores back and forth. Missouri QB James Franklin struggled early connecting with his receivers, but late in the 1st half, he hit Marcus Lucas for a 41 yard bomb to give Missouri the lead. The Dawgs came back with a TD of their own just before halftime, but missed the extra point, so they trailed 10-9 at the half. In the 3rd quarter, both teams moved the ball well, but late in the quarter, it became apparent that Georgia was wearing down the Tigers defense. Missouri’s last score was a field goal with 2:39 left in the 3rd quarter. From that point on, Georgia dominated, scoring 24 straight point s and winning easily 41-20.
It was obvious that Missouri, even though a very talented team, had no answer for the power game of Georgia. Sheldon Richardson was not even a factor in the last quarter, having to be taken out to catch his breath. This game had to be a huge eye opener for the Tigers.
Here are my thoughts on the draft eligible players that played in the game. I will start with the winning team.
Aaron Murray – QB- Jr: Murray did not look like a Heisman hopeful, but you can’t put the entire blame on him. The Bulldogs were starting a freshman right tackle and he did not get good protection all night. Murray’s receivers also did not do him any favors, dropping several passes. Michael Bennett dropped 3 passes all by himself. Although the offense sputtered early, they seemed to get things together late in the game when the Tigers were unable to stop the Georgia running game. Despite being harassed all night, Murray looked cool in the pocket and used his athleticism to escape the rush. His numbers were good, but not spectacular. He completed 22 of 35 for 242 yards with 3 TD and 1 interception. If the offensive line can gel and his receivers hang on to the ball, expect his numbers to improve.
Ken Malcome-RB-RS Soph: Malcome is coming off an injury from week one and was wearing a cast on his hand. He looked good in limited work, running tough between the tackles. Malcome kept his feet moving after contact and showed good vision and balance. He had 33 yards on 7 carries and 1 TD.
Richard Samuel-RB-Sr: Samuel was scheduled to be the starting running back in 2011 before Isaiah Crowell beat him out for the starting position. Samuel mostly plays fullback and special teams these days. He made the special teams play of the night, making a tackle of a fake punt, preventing a first down. Samuel is a former linebacker and he showed he hasn’t forgotten how to work off of blocks and tackle in the open field.
Tavarres King – WR – Sr: Tavarres King had 2 catches for 41 yards and 1 TD. He had a 34 yard catch and run off of a screen pass and he showed a nose for the end zone on his touchdown catch. King is willing to make the tough catches over the middle and is dangerous in space.
Marlon Brown-WR-Jr: Marlon Brown did a good job reading the Tigers defense and getting open. He has good hands and extends his hands away from his body when making the catch. Brown showed an ability to catch the ball at its highest point and catch the ball in a crowd. He had 8 catches for 106 yards and 1 TD, including a 40 yard reception.
Michael Bennett-WR-RS Soph: Michael Bennett had a tough night. He had 3 drops and a false start penalty called against him. Murray obviously has confidence in the guy because when he needed a play, he looked Bennett’s way. He still had 8 catches for 79 yards and made a catch for a 2 point conversion to tie the game at that point. He also had a 22 yard gain on a screen pass where he did a good job following his blockers.
Dallas Lee-G-Jr: Dallas Lee did a good job trapping the Tigers defense and showed good mobility.
Chris Burnette-G-Jr: Teamed with Lee to dominate the line of scrimmage late in the game. The Bulldogs offensive line took over the game late and they pounded the Missouri defense.
Kenarious Gates-T-Jr: Gates has played guard and tackle in his career. This year he is starting at left tackle and for the most part did a good job protecting Murray’s blind side. He had 1 false start penalty.
Cornelius Washington-DE-Jr: Washington has started at both defensive end and linebacker for the Dawgs. He gets good penetration and can be disruptive. He had 5 tackles and 2 ½ tackles for loss.
John Jenkins-NT-Sr: John Jenkins is a massive space eater in the middle of the defense. He is powerful at the point of attack, but is more athletic than he looks. He can get off of blocks and pushes the pocket inside. He had 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 sack. He injured his leg late in the game.
Jarvis Jones – OLB – Jr: The Tigers had no answer for Jarvis Jones. Jones showed the athleticism and versatility that is sure to make him a top 10 selection for the 2013 draft if he chooses to declare. He is a natural pass rusher that led the SEC in sacks in 2011. He was everywhere Saturday night and he wreaked havoc the entire evening. Late in the game, he had an interception that he returned to the one yard line. He followed that up with a textbook sack/strip of Missouri QB James Franklin. He finished the night with 8 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble and an interception returned 21 yards.
Christian Robinson-ILB-Sr: Robinson is an experienced, solid linebacker that has started in the past. He stepped in when Alec Ogletree was suspended and did a good job. He is a good open field tackler. Robinson had 8 tackles and ½ tackle for loss.
Branden Smith-CB-Sr: Branden Smith had 1 tackle and 2 passes broken up. He was beat for the 41 yard TD pass.
James Franklin – QB – Jr: James Franklin’s nickname is “Tank”. His running style is very powerful and he runs over anyone that gets in his way. Franklin’s passing was off early, but late in the 2nd quarter, he started to connect with his receivers. He does a good job reading defenses and distributing the ball. The entire Tiger offense rides on his shoulders and they need him to play well every game. The former Lake Dallas quarterback completed 25 of 41 for 269 yards. He had TD passes of 41 and 69 yards and had 1 interception. The 69 yarder was a career long.
Kendial Lawrence-RB-Sr: Kendial Lawrence is a versatile player that the Tigers use in a lot of ways. He can run the wildcat, is a good receiver and also runs the ball. He has good burst through the hole. He had a 39 yard run, but was bottled up for most of the night. He had 8 carries for 41 yards and 2 catches for 1 yard.
Marcus Lucas-WR-Jr: Marcus Lucas is their big play threat. He is a big bodied receiver with great speed. He is elusive in the open field and can use his size to out jump defensive backs. Lucas makes tough, acrobatic catches. He had 6 catches for 88 yards and had a 41 yard TD catch. He also dropped a pass in the end zone at the end of the 1st half.
T.J. Moe-WR-Sr: Moe is a guy that contributes to this team in just about any way you can imagine. He is a slot receiver that can also run the ball and he returns punts and kickoffs. He is even the holder for field goal attempts. I’m surprised they haven’t figure out a way to get him on the field as a defensive back. He goes all out and has very quick feet which make him hard to tackle. He had 6 catches for 45 yards.
L’Damian Washington-WR-Jr: Washington has great speed. Had 2 catches for 81 yards and had a 69 yard TD catch.
Gahn McGaffie-WR-Sr: McGaffie is a clutch receiver that makes a play when they need it. He does a good job converting 3rd downs and moving the chains. McGaffie had 5 catches for 34 yards.
Sheldon Richardson-DT-Jr: Sheldon Richardson is a very talented defensive lineman, but he needs to grow up. His comment about Georgia playing “old man football” obviously fired up Georgia. The funny part was that when Georgia’s offensive line really started to dominate the game, Richardson tapped out. He is big and strong and athletic, but he wears down if you run right at him. He had 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB hurry. He also was called for roughing the passer.
Brad Madison-DE-Sr: Madison spent most of the night matched up against a freshman offensive tackle and it showed. Madison had a dominating performance and made several big plays for the Tigers. He has a good spin move that he used to get to the quarterback twice. Madison had 3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
Will Ebner-ILB-Sr: Will Ebner is a smart player that reads his keys and reacts to them well. He is a guy that stays on the field on 3rd down and contributes to the pass defense. Ebner had 9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 pass breakup.
Donovan Bonner-ILB-Jr: Bonner makes good reads and reads the quarterback’s eyes in pass defense. He had 4 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception that he returned 13 yards.
Andrew Wilson-OLB-Jr: Andrew Wilson is a big hitter that also does a good job in pass defense. He closes well on the ball. Wilson had 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 QB hurry and 1 pass breakup.
Kip Edwards-CB-Sr: Kip Edwards is a physical corner that likes to play tight man to man coverage. He had 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and a pass breakup in the end zone.
E.J. Gaines-CB-Jr: E.J. Gaines has great awareness. He plays good technique and is in good position. He battles receivers for the ball. Gaines had 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 2 passes broken up.
by Dwayne Wilton – DraftManiacs.com