COLUMBIA, Mo. — Barry Odom and his Missouri football team won’t forget this one for a while.
The Tigers held a six-point lead for most of the second half against visiting 16th-ranked Georgia on Saturday night but couldn’t pull off the upset.
Georgia got a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jacob Eason to Isaiah McKenzie with 1:29 remaining and left a stunned Memorial Stadium with a 28-27 victory when Missouri fumbled on its final possession.
“I hurt for my guys,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “You know we didn’t make enough plays to win it and I didn’t put them in a position to get it done. I’m frustrated. They played extremely hard and give credit to Georgia and Kirby (Smart) did a good job.”
The Tigers (1-2) had another big offensive output with 471 total yards. Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock completed 23 of 38 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns but also three interceptions. Junior wide receiver J'Mon Moore caught eight passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns but also had the fumble that ended the Tigers’ last series.
The numbers that stand out more than anything will be that Missouri turned the ball over five times — including four times in the second half — and Georgia (3-0) was able to escape with the victory.
“It’s tough,” Odom said. “When you don’t win the turnover margin it’s going to be hard to win. I think we had five and we got one so that’s difficult. But you’ve got to respond. You’ve got to go make plays and I’ve got to do a better job getting the guys in position to go do it.”
Eason completed 29 of 55 passes for 308 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. McKenzie caught 10 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added a touchdown run. Bulldogs standout running back Nick Chubb was limited to just 63 yards rushing on 19 carries, an average of 3.3 yards per carry.
“We were fortunate tonight to get those turnovers,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Their quarterback threw us a few and our quarterback didn’t — well, he threw one. It is just making decisions and we need to learn to capitalize on those.”
Georgia answered with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-10 lead.
McKenzie scored on a 6-yard run with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter and then Christian Payne scored on a 2-yard pass from Eason with 12:48 left in the second quarter.
McCann made a 46-yard field goal with 10:36 left in the second quarter. Then Lock and Moore connected on a 79-yard touchdown pass to put Missouri back in front 20-14.
Georgia answered one more time in the first half, with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Eason to McKenzie with 1:48 left, and took a 21-20 lead into halftime.
In the first half, Lock completed 19 of 29 passes for 322 yards with two touchdowns. Moore caught six of those for 172 yards and a touchdown.
That connection linked up again early in the third quarter after sophomore safety Cam Hilton came up with an interception deep in Georgia territory. Then Lock found Moore for a 6-yard touchdown pass, with 13:54 left in the quarter, to put Missouri back ahead 27-21.
Georgia kicker William Ham missed two field goal attempts in the second half — a 23-yard field goal attempt wide left with 6:13 left in the third quarter and a 38-yard attempt with 13:35 remaining in the fourth — but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize.
Four of Missouri’s final six possessions ended with four turnovers — three interceptions and then the game-clinching fumble — and two punts.
Georgia took possession after that final punt and drove 80 yards on 10 plays over 2:03, capped by Eason’s 20-yard touchdown pass to McKenzie on fourth-and-10.
“I still can’t believe it happen,” McKenzie said. “I still can’t believe that it’s over and we won.”
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