Offense - The Near Miss
1. We open up with Georgia trailing by three with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Bulldogs received possession after Malcolm Mitchell forced a fumble on a Missouri punt return. Two plays later, Georgia faces second-and-2 from the Missouri 23. Georgia runs a designed receiver screen. Notice how the two sets of receivers on each side of the formation are mirroring each other. Lambert turns and fires to Mitchell, who needs a decent block from Terry Godwin to spring him for a first down…
2. As the pass enters Mitchell’s window, Godwin is on his heels, struggling to block the physical corner from Mizzou.
3. Mitchell reels in the pass but cannot get anywhere, as cornerback has run through Godwin to break up the play. Poor execution but arguably poor design – Jeb Blazevich, a tight end with experience blocking, is lined up on the opposite side of the formation, yet the strongest receiver (Mitchell) is paired up with a young, inexperienced, and slight blocker in Godwin. That’s a match up that Missouri’s physical cornerbacks have a 50-50 or better chance to win.
4. Georgia survives the above play and moves into the red zone with three strong runs by Brendan Douglas. That gives the Bulldogs this first-and-goal situation from five yards out.
5. This time, Georgia runs a slightly different receiver screen out of a 12 personnel package. Again, Godwin is the blocking receiver and Mitchell is the intended target. Godwin must drive Missouri cornerback Kenya Dennis back for Mitchell to give Mitchell the option to 1) take it to the boundary and force the safety to cut him off before the goal line OR 2) make the safety miss with a move one-on-one in the open field since the screen is thrown deep enough that Mitchell should have room to move. Either way, the play is predicated on getting a suitable block from Godwin.
6. Godwin lets Dennis get inside of him with good technique and again gets driven backward on his heels. This angle at which Dennis is driving will make Mitchell’s options more difficult. His best option at this point is to cut outside, which will be difficult to do with Dennis’ penetration.
7. A closer look at how difficult the play has become. Mitchell has little wiggle room upon receiving the ball, and Godwin is on the fringe of a hold/block in the back penalty if he continues engaging with Dennis, who has clearly beaten him.
8. Like the previous play, Dennis fights through Godwin to make a play on the receiver. The result is a loss of five yards and doubles the amount of distance Georgia must cover for a much-needed touchdown.
9 . After 3-yard run on second down, Georgia now faces third-and-goal from the Missouri 7. The Bulldogs come out with Michel in the backfield but motion him out wide right to create an empty set.
10. Missouri plays man underneath and lets the safeties roam. Lambert locks in to the left, while Missouri locks down receivers across the field.
11. Missouri has a pass rusher breaking free from Theus on the play side, and Lambert, as he’s shown a tendency to do, has opened his front shoulder and is standing flat footed facing the field, meaning unless he can get closed again, his pass will be flat-footed or back-footed.
12. With Missouri’s pass rusher bearing down on Lambert, he gets a pass off with poor technique just before the defender lays a hit.
13. A good shot of Lambert’s mechanics (and vision) when making the pass…
14. The pass is thrown to Blazevich, but is way off line and closer to the Missouri defender than to the tight end. Luckily for Lambert, Blazevich and the ground keep the defender from an interception at the goal line and Georgia is able to salvage a field goal by Marshall Morgan, who tied the game at 6 on the next play.
Offense - The Game-winning drive
15. Georgia is in the midst of its game-winning drive. It’s picked up 10 yards for a first down and currently faces first-and-10 from the Mizzou 39.
16. Georgia is in the gun with double tight ends and Godwin and Mitchell out wide. Missouri runs a zone. Notice the outside receivers get a free release, and the Tigers have both safeties within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. 17. Blazevich runs a shallow cross; Michel stays in to block before running a tab/curl route on the right; Mitchell runs a 9 route on the bottom of the formation.
18. The line gives Lambert good protection and there’s a nice throwing lane on the left side of the line. Lambert locks on to Mitchell, who (we will see in a moment) isn’t exactly open but the quarterback is going to give his senior playmaker a chance.
19. Lambert is prepping to let it rip down the sideline to Mitchell. Meanwhile, Blazevich is breaking open on the shallow cross as the linebacker is reading Lambert’s eyes and lets the tight end roam. Though there’s a throwing lane open to check down to Blazevich, Lambert hasn’t taken his sights off Mitchell.
20. Mitchell gets the free release but 10 yards downfield there is contact with the defensive back. Mitchell cannot shake the defender, who was penalized for the contact, putting Georgia into field goal range.
21. Lambert’s pass wasn’t catchable (I believe a cameraman caught it, which means it went behind the media line), but the penalty stood. It wasn’t Lambert’s best option on the play, but the penalty erased what was arguably a mental error.
22. On the next play, Georgia runs with Michel to ensure they get an opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal and run off some clock. But notice how this play (and the following play) have screen options/fakes built into them…
23. Godwin, the inside receiver on the left of the formation, runs a bubble screen look. Missouri brings a linebacker down to bend around Theus, who allows him to come free on the play. Lambert gives to Michel. The line is outnumbered (seven defenders to five blockers) and thus the play goes for no gain.
24. On second down, Georgia is prepared to milk the clock/force Mizzou to use its timeouts.
25. Notice Kenneth Towns, the receiver at the bottom of the frame, shows a screen look again, in hopes of freezing any defensive backs on that side of the field. Isaiah Wynn does a nice job of finding a linebacker coming from the second level and sealing an alley for Michel to burst through.
26. Michel shoots through the lane for a nice gain and setting Georgia up for another short run on third down, leading to Marshall Morgan’s game-winning field goal.
Defense - Tigers drive to take the lead
1. We pick this up on with Missouri facing a third-and-10 from its own 10. Georgia has stuffed the run on back-to-back plays, forcing Missouri into a passing situation. Georgia has 6 DBs on the field to cover Missouri’s four-wide set. Notice Tim Kimbrough is playing up near the line from his MLB position.
2. Upon the snap, Kimbrough gets picked up by Missouri’s talented center, Evan Boehm. Boehm blocks him into the flats, leaving a nice alley for Russel Hansborough to hit once he leaves the backfield, running an angle route into a wide open middle of the field.
3. (Screenshots 3 & 4) Missouri’s receivers do a nice job of locking up defenders downfield to give Hansborough enough space to pick up 24 yards and give the Tigers their first third down conversion of the game to this point.
4. Missouri faces another third down just a few plays later.
5. The focus here is on the receiver at the top of the formation, facing cornerback Aaron Davis.
6. Lock wants to hit the top receiver on a route up the sideline, but Davis has it very well covered off the line.
7. Lock rolls out to give that receiver a chance to get open against Davis and give himself a chance to throw it. It also gives Missouri’s Ish Witter (#21) a chance to get out in the open.
8. With Leonard Floyd bearing down on him and his No. 1 read covered up by Davis, Lock drifts back in the pocket and throws it up to Witter, who has a step on Kimbrough with no immediate help over the top.
9. Lock, who made perhaps an ill-advised lofted throw, actually puts the ball in a perfect spot where only Witter can make a play. The result is a 14 yard gain and another first down.
10. Missouri reaches the red zone on another remarkable (and dangerous) throw by Lock, but Georgia’s defense takes a stand and forces this third-and-goal.
11. Missouri is in an illegal formation at the snap, as the right tackle is set up off the line, a penalty that Georgia will eventually decline…
12. Lock is checking the left side of the field, where the inside receiver, Nate Brown, is running a corner route and the outside receiver, J’Mon Moore, comes underneath on a slant.
13. Georgia has Brown covered off the line with Rico McGraw, and the safety, Johnathan Abram, is in a good enough position to pick up the slant route if Lock chooses to go there, since Parrish will have to fight through Brown’s route to get back to Moore. Lock targets Brown in hopes he can win the one-on-one with McGraw, but Georgia’s freshman holds his own. The pass falls short of Brown’s reach, and Missouri settles for a field goal to take a 6-3 lead.
Defense - Dawgs Get the Ball Back
15. This drive started after Georgia missed a field goal that would’ve given the Bulldogs a lead. This is worth highlighting because it was Missouri’s chance to capitalize on a potential momentum swing in the final 5 minutes of the game. Georgia’s young secondary played very well on this drive, beginning with Juwan Briscoe covering a pass in his direction on first-and-10…
16. …We pick up on second-and-10. Notice how safety Johnathan Abram comes crashing down from his deep safety position at the sight of Missouri RB Russell Hansbrough heading into the flats.
17. Abram reads Lock’s eyes on what is essentially a swing screen to Hansbrough. Abram’s next step will be to get by the oncoming blocker.
18. Abram flies by the defender on his outside shoulder, allowing him to be in better position to contain Hansbrough and use his teammates in the middle of the field to help…
19. Abram has cut his distance in half in the time it took Hansbrough to receive the ball…
20. Abram is in position to make the tackle, but faces a one-on-one with one of the SEC’s most experienced backs in Hansbrough, who looks to cut back inside…
21. Hansbrough’s cutback keeps Abram from making a form tackle, but he manages to get a piece of Hansbrough…
22. It’s enough to knock Hansbrough off balance, and he falls the ground, just as Abrams’s help defenders arrive. The result of the play is a loss and, perhaps, a helmet sticker for Abram.
23. On third-and-11, Georgia again has 6 defensive backs to cover Missouri’s five potential receivers.
24. Georgia’s Reggie Wilkerson shadows the motion man for Missouri.
25. Missouri floods the right side of the field, leaves a back in to protect (6 Tigers blocking 4 Bulldogs) and Lock rolls to his right to find an open man against Georgia’s defense, which is in man coverage underneath.
26. Ganus hangs back enough that he goes unblocked when he begins pursuit of Lock in the backfield. Meanwhile, the receivers on the play-side are mostly covered, and Lock is scrambling in the direction of Leonard Floyd, who is being blocked by the tailback that stayed in to protect.
27. Lock is running out of time with Ganus freed up to chase him down, Leonard Floyd in his face, and at least two receivers covered up based on the second screenshot.
28. Lock forces a throw that floats to the sideline and out of reach of his receiver, but Georgia had it covered up either way. That forced a Missouri punt and allowed the Bulldogs to win the game on the next drive. While Missouri’s offense was/is clearly struggling, this was a victory that Georgia’s young secondary, coming through with good coverage in a pressure situation, could build upon.