Dogs’ big game against Mizzou renews a short but memorable series

uga mizzou secI’ll never forget the first time Georgia and Missouri played football for a couple of reasons.

For one, it was the first time I ever saw a live telecast of a Bulldogs football game. Actually, it was the first time anyone ever saw the Dogs play on TV, as the CBS coverage of the Jan. 1, 1960, Orange Bowl was the first time a Georgia game was broadcast.

The other memorable thing about that New Year’s Day was that I woke up with a bad case of the mumps, with both sides of my face swelled up like a balloon. But I was determined to see the game, so Mom propped me up with pillows in the TV room so I could watch Fran Tarkenton lead Wally Butts’ Bulldogs against Dan Devine’s Mizzou Tigers. (You’ll remember we encountered Devine again in a bowl 20 years later.)

Perhaps because I was sick or maybe because I was only 7 years old, I don’t remember much about the game itself other than my Dad thinking Georgia didn’t play very well despite winning what was largely a defensive struggle thanks to Tarkenton throwing two touchdown passes. Butts, in fact, said it was the Dogs’ “worst game of the year.”

The program from Georgia's previous game against Missouri.

The program from Georgia's previous game against Missouri.

My friend Carl remembers some family friends who went to the game bringing him a pennant from it. And Rusty, another of our classmates in Miss Tabor’s second-grade class at David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, recalls it as the only bowl game his parents ever attended. His mom, who was from Missouri, had divided loyalties and so she was dressed in red but wore a Mizzou button.

Rusty, who spent a lot of time in Missouri during summers as a kid, is attending today’s historic game in which Georgia welcomes the Tigers to the SEC. His grandparents lived in Glasgow, about 30 miles from the university town of Columbia, and he remembers it as “the closest thing I can imagine to a real-life Mayberry. It had a hand-crank phone system, a mayor/sheriff/fire chief (named Casey Jones), a drug store, a dime store and a movie theater. … One of my favorite Glasgow memories was going home for lunch one day after a morning spent playing in the firehouse/jail with my cousins. My grandmother got a call and turned to my older cousin and said, ‘Jimmy K, it’s Casey, he wants to know what you all did with the keys to the jail. He needs to put some body in a cell.’”

Rusty was planning on revisiting Glasgow on this trip but was mainly looking forward to the game itself. As he put it: “Saturday should be exciting. This game is huge to our season. A loss puts us back down in the middle of the pack going to the other Columbia. A win should solidify our preseason ratings which, frankly, I think were way too high. Best case scenario for us — this one turns out like Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. They look good based on their record until they face an SEC team. We’ll see.”

The way things have shaken out with the defensive suspensions and now injuries to our thin offensive line, the outlook for this Georgia-Missouri game is a lot more uncertain than it should have been. I know the Missouri fan base is really cranked up about this one and Faurot Field will be packed and loud, but if Georgia weren’t missing several starters on defense I don’t think anyone would be seriously entertaining thoughts of an upset by the Tigers.

Dual-threat QB James Franklin makes the Mizzou offense go. (Associated Press)

Dual-threat QB James Franklin makes the Mizzou offense go. (Associated Press)

Yes, their run-based spread offense is known for using the entire width of the field (a true spread) and putting points up on the board (though in the past that was mostly against Big 12 non-defenses). James Franklin is also the sort of dual-threat quarterback that the Dogs have had trouble with in recent seasons and they throw a lot of bubble screens, which the Dogs sometimes have had a hard time handling.

But Missouri’s own offensive line is something of an inexperienced, makeshift affair, with three first-year starters, including a true freshman and a former walk-on, and they’ll be facing a Georgia defensive front that should be one of the nation’s best (even the Dogs’ DL didn’t play like it against Buffalo).

The Tigers have some talented receivers who are fully capable of putting Georgia’s interim secondary to a severe test, but Missouri’s offense is based on the quarterback reading the defense, and you’ve got to figure Franklin is going to have to do that in an awful hurry Saturday night with Jarvis Jones breathing down his neck. At times last season Franklin was prone to get rattled and throw multiple interceptions. And if John Jenkins gets a big push up the middle, that could further disrupt things for the Tigers.

If John Jenkins plays up to his capabilities, the Tigers' offense could be disrupted. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

If John Jenkins plays up to his capabilities, the Tigers' offense could be disrupted. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Probably because of the suspensions, most of the media talk in advance of the game has been on whether Georgia can handle Mizzou’s much-hyped high-powered offense, but not that much attention has been paid to the fact that Missouri has had to replace three starters up front on its defense and its secondary is considered a weakness.

If the ailing Georgia OL can keep mouthy Sheldon Richardson of “old man football” infamy off Aaron Murray long enough, it could be a big night for Tavarres King, Michael Bennett and Chris Conley. And if Georgia really does have an explosive running game now thanks to Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and company, as it appears, so much the better.

As for special teams, Georgia looked improved in that regard against Buffalo, but that aspect of the game remains a question mark for both teams. We don’t know yet how our true freshman placekicker and punter will respond in a pressure situation in a big game. And the Tigers have a talented punt returner in Marcus Murphy. But Mizzou’s kicking game is itself kind of shaky.

So, while I’m of course concerned about how Georgia’s defense will do without Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo, Alec Ogletree and Chase Vasser, I feel pretty confident that Mike Bobo’s offense is going to be able to put up points against the Tigers. I think Georgia will come out of Columbia with a win. But, if not, hey, this is the SEC East … and an 0-1 start in conference play is not a season-killer.

I’ll be back with thoughts about the game late tonight. In the meantime, feel free to share your own predictions in the comments and discuss the game as it progresses.

Go Dogs!

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

45 comments Add your comment

dandydawg

September 8th, 2012
11:18 am

This will be a scary game for us. I hope we can win it!! I will be cheering very loudly!!!

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Dawg Haus

September 8th, 2012
11:33 am

The suspensions hurt, but the Dawgs have enough to win this one. Just keep pressure on Franklin and run the ball to keep him off the field. Go Dawgs!

UGA All DAY

September 8th, 2012
11:54 am

Dawgs win it 35-21

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Not Disappointed!

September 8th, 2012
12:07 pm

I like Georgia in a close one!

Ramblin Wreck out!

Glory between the Hedges

September 8th, 2012
12:12 pm

But, if not, hey, this is the SEC East … and an 0-1 start in conference play is not a season-killer.

I love your Blawg Bill…The problem with that comment to me though is that I want to win a national championship. If we start off with a loss to Missouri, it means it’s probably not happening this season. I won’t handle a loss tonight very well even with suspended players.

SatillaDawg

September 8th, 2012
12:15 pm

Go Dawgs!

Send Mizzou to the loo!

vo

September 8th, 2012
12:25 pm

MizzSucks

September 8th, 2012
12:41 pm

Despite the talk of it being ” a conference game” and a “loss would be okay”.. I’ll have to say, thats not the case.

Our schedule is weak this year, and a loss, conference or not, would put us out. We’re already hyped up higher than we should be, and while good and bad, we can’t lose and expect to come out smelling like a rose at the end of the season.

DreamandWonder

September 8th, 2012
12:49 pm

Bobo will try to run the ball, clock control, early and fall behind by 14. This becomes a shootout in the second half.

Mizzou 75

September 8th, 2012
1:04 pm

I spent a summer in Athens in 1970 during the Vince Dooley era, it is a great town. Georgia is my second favorite team, too bad my very most favorite is also in Columbia MO tonight. On my way to the Zou in about an hour, will welcome you.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
1:11 pm

Off topic and ahead of myself: RE: Van Gorder at AU. I am watching AU vs. MS. The other Bulldogs just made a safety bite like I saw several teams do against the Dawgs back in the BVG days. There has been a lot of talk about BVG knowing Richt/Bobo’s O. I would also say that Richt knows BVG and WM’s D.

As far as Mizzou. I may be way off base, but with or without the dope smokers, we will see a very different Dawg team this week. I think the Dawgs win by 10 to 14 points.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
1:19 pm

Look for a BIG day from Cornelius Washington.

Huh?

September 8th, 2012
1:22 pm

USC appears to have found themselves a QB…

Ad far as UGA winning a NC, has anybody watched Alabama play? Nobody is going to beat them. Everybody in the SEC is playing for 2nd place. Period.

I guess Bill is right…0-1 in the East isn’t so bad…but do UGA fans really want to back into the SEC CG again?

DC Dawg

September 8th, 2012
1:30 pm

the real reason why the 1960 game was significant for the dawgs, was it was the first time we played against an african american player and in fact to embarrassment and stain of our program, we at first refused to play or considered not playing. we won the game, my dad was there (class of 1963) and in fact the night before the game he was at a club seeing johnny Mathis and hopped up on stage and sang Glory glory with mathis. The game will always be remembered for the black player. Shamefully i believe we were the last program to have a african american player on our team in the SEC and i believe that was 1973 or thereabouts.

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Son of Sammy Davis Jr, Jr

September 8th, 2012
1:58 pm

Honey Boo Boo will be JawGA’s homecoming queen in 15 years. Let’s go Mizzzzzzzzzzzzou

Rev. Richt

September 8th, 2012
1:59 pm

has anyone seen my bottle of self tanner?

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
2:00 pm

DCDawg,

Thanks for that history lesson, man. I went to UGA from central FL in 1984. While central FL was not exactly a bastion of racial harmony, I was really taken aback by the racial tension, especially regarding Jackson and Johnson at QB. It was much later that I saw that the first black player came in ‘73. That was a big realization for me.

There’s still work to be done all around the South in this regard.

RE: Huh? You are absolutely right about ‘Bama, but giants have fallen before. I still just want to see someone from the SEC whoop Kiffen and USC post-season.

GO DAWGS!

Huh?

September 8th, 2012
2:13 pm

chazzo…yes giants have fallen. I’m not sure Alabama will though…I’m even more convinced that UGA is not the team to do it as well. I just think that all the Championship talk is not realistic.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
2:26 pm

Huh? There are always overly optimistic fans. the word fan comes from fanatic, ya’ know. I don’t think most of the talk is that the Dawgs will win an NC this year as much as they are a potential dark horse team. We’ll see. There are a lot of youngins out there that will gel as the season goes. I’m thinkin’ 11 wins and a possible BCS Bowl at best. But, I am a fan.

Whatcha thinking about Chizig. Granted an NC will by a coach a few years, and maybe he gets a season for breaking in assistants. But, I think Missy State is making his buns a little warm today.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
2:30 pm

Commentators like to say Lutzenkirken almost as much as they liked saying Honey Badger and Tebow.

Huh?

September 8th, 2012
2:33 pm

chazzo…agreed regarding Chiz….he needs to be dusting off his resume. I’m sure most Auburn fans are thinking the same.

The schedule for UGA certainly sets up a favorable season. But I think UGA will lose 1 between Missouri and SC, and lose one more that they probably shouldn’t. Heck, I wouldn’t even overlook the UT game. They appear to be about the best in the East through 1 game.

Mike Franklin

September 8th, 2012
2:53 pm

My main concern is that Mizzou will be hyped and playing above itself… and if we aren’t ready for that, we could feed the frenzy with small, silly mistakes that might not mean that much in any other contest.

The Dawgs need to be crisp, sharp and hard for the full game. Any let up… or let down, could let that energy run over us.

Go Dawgs! Junkyard time, boys.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

I think the Dawgs have been practicing for Mizzou since Spring. Huh? may be right about UT if the Dawgs are looking ahead to SoCa. Spurrier is a SOB (a good coach, too) and loves to beat UGA. The Dawgs schedule is deceptive. Vandy’s coming on too (no, I’m not kidding).

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
3:10 pm

Mullins is one of the best coaches around, and his departure is probably the real reason why Urban Whiner started having chest pains. Missy State has a solid team.

Bryan Oekek

September 8th, 2012
3:14 pm

Huh?

September 8th, 2012
3:22 pm

chazzo…UGA’s schedule might be deceptive, but honestly it’s an easier slate in conference than most. Non-conference schedule is a bit embarrasing.

MUTigersdestroydawgs

September 8th, 2012
3:36 pm

Mizzou wiins this one 34-24 and it really won’t be a close as the score appears. MIZ-ZOU. The Tigers look forward to welcoming GA Dawgs to The Zou where will tame you….

Shirli

September 8th, 2012
3:42 pm

I just don’t remember Missouri being in the southeast

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
3:57 pm

Huh?, You’re right… Western KY, Western Carolina, Bowling Green, Luisiana-Monroe, Jacksonville State, Tulsa, Alabama A&M, Louisiana-Lafayette, East Carolina, Wofford, Troy, Akron, Georgia State, et al strike fear in the hearts of every opponent , and UGA doesn’t have any of these on the schedule. LOL.

I agree, though, UGA didn’t draw the tough teams from the West. No doubt about that. The East, though, may be on the comeback. Plus, being an SEC fan, you will agree that every SEC game is a rivalry, and any given week the second tiers can sneak up on you.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
4:01 pm

I didn’t list Florida Atlantic or Georgia Southern because the Dawgs play them, but they are on others’ schedules as well.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
4:14 pm

The commentators have written off UF in the first quarter, and the Gators are ahead. We’ll see….

bilbo799

September 8th, 2012
4:15 pm

When we lost last season, the D seemed to start off playing well. But the offense struggled and kept getting 3 and outs and leaving the D in terrible positions. Pretty soon, the D got tired and fell apart. Boise State, LSU, Michigan State come to mind. The offense definitely lost the game for us against S. Carolina (offense gave up 21 of S. Carolina’s points through turnovers — special teams was also terrible in that game especially).

If the offense can sustain good solid drives, the D will do its part. Book it.

JA

September 8th, 2012
6:19 pm

Bill,
I remember the ‘60 Orange Bowl against Mizzou ’cause I was there, It was my very first Georgia game. I was 4 and truthfully my memories are more associated with the super 8 movies we played back years later….but hey, I remember it.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
6:51 pm

Anyone watching UF put away A&M. That should have been exactly how the Dawgs beat MSU last season. That’s why I put that loss on Richt.

chazzo

September 8th, 2012
6:52 pm

The big green MSU, btw.

bilbo799

September 8th, 2012
7:59 pm

SEE MY COMMENTS BEFORE GAME. D starts off strong, O can’t take advantage.

First Drive: D pins Missouri down, deep in their territory.

Second Drive: O gets ball in Missouri territory and does absolutely nothing, except go backwards.

BubbaGolf

September 8th, 2012
9:09 pm

It’s kind a tight…D may have to win this. GO DAWGS!

Doggie

September 8th, 2012
10:31 pm

The Dude76

September 9th, 2012
12:12 am

41-20 DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where are the losers who said “missouri 47-17 easy”? Thats what I thought! UGA 2-0 with Florida Atlantic next week, so 3-0 and going strong. Will get back Commings and Vasser next week and possibly Ogletree. Jarvis Jones 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 int should be Defensive player of the week in the entire country. Haven’t seen a defensive performance like that since David Pollack against SC in 2002.

Doug Girard

September 9th, 2012
3:21 am

Where’s all the negative comments about Norman? So many of y’all were doggin’ him for his coverage skills. As far as I’m concerned, Mizzou did not even test him. The short plays were to the opposite field. They didn’t even test him…Consider the fact that he actually plays he responsibilities…The dude did his job amongst others that were doing their jobs. It’s all about Xs and Os and the defense played well (including your “walk-on” dawg Norman! That’s my boy doing work. Don’t hate. Keep it up Conner!

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

September 9th, 2012
11:30 am

Jan 1, 1960, last time I wore the uniform. Now I’m wearing The Alumni Band uniform. Last nites game much more exciting however…..

Strat Cat Dawg

September 9th, 2012
5:48 pm

41-20. #1 in the SEC in scoring. Three reliable running backs. Jarvis Jones. Defensive starters back in time for SC. I’m happy.