As the game turns: What was the deciding moment in UGA’s win over Mizzou?

Was Jarvis Jones' interception the play of the game? (Associated Press)

Was Jarvis Jones' interception the play of the game? (Associated Press)

For Sunday lunch, I joined my two brothers and my UGA freshman daughter at the Butt Hutt in Athens (recently honored for best barbecue in the SEC by Fox Sports South), where the staff obligingly put a replay of the Georgia-Missouri game on the tube for us.

Later, one of the servers stopped by our table to talk a little football, and the conversation pretty much focused on the same two players who drew much of the post-game comment and acclaim from fans and media alike — Jarvis Jones and Richard Samuel.

Jones, of course, was freakishly good all night, as I discussed in my post-game Blawg, making eight tackles, forcing a couple of fumbles (plus another that was ruled an incomplete pass) and snagging that interception that many (including me) consider the play of the game, the real turning point in the Dawgs’ win over Missouri.

And his showing became even more impressive when we learned after the game that he did it all while suffering through a groin injury. Now, that’s a big-time football player!

Others, including Mark Richt talking right after the game, thought the big play was Samuel sniffing out and stuffing that Mizzou fake punt early in the fourth quarter with Georgia holding a slender 24-20 lead over the Tigers. Seeing the way an uncharacteristically emotional Richt rushed over to hug Samuel after the play, you could indeed make a good case for him being right about it being the game-changer.

But there were other deciding moments in the game worth considering: Georgia finally scoring a touchdown late in the first half; and, perhaps more crucially, after the Tigers went up 17-9 in the third quarter, the Dawgs immediately answering with a 75-yard, 12-play scoring drive on which they converted third down four times (a decided improvement over the first half in that category). Then they tied it up with a successful 2-point play. That drive was definitely a nail-biter for Georgia fans.

But while we’re talking about turning points, let’s throw in a couple of crucial Tiger miscues, too: that poorly defended hail-Mary pass at the end of the first half that should have been caught; and the Tiger false start that turned a fourth-and-4 that Missouri would have gone for into a fourth-and-9 punting situation on the ensuing drive after the Dawgs had gone up 27-20.

Some would add to that list Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel’s decision to try the fake punt, but I give him a pass on that. Anyone who’d paid any attention to Georgia football over the past few years or had watched game film from last season would have considered the Dawgs to be prime suckers for such a ploy. Fortunately, this time that wasn’t the case.

Anyway, I think I’d still opt for the Jones interception. What’s your pick for play of the game?

A few other thoughts and observations on the Georgia-Missouri game …

Another game, another erratic start by Aaron Murray, only to see him thankfully settle down and play his game later on. But while Murray definitely was off-target on some balls early on, his decent stats for the night (22 of 35 for 242 yards) could have been a lot more impressive without at least five dropped passes, three of them by the normally reliable Michael Bennett. (Say this for Bennett, he caught a career-high eight passes for 79 yards, including an impressive snag where he went up high for a clutch 18-yard gain. And he caught that 2-point conversion.)

Marlon Brown is hugged by Todd Gurley after catching a touchdown pass. (Associated Press)

Marlon Brown is hugged by Todd Gurley after catching a touchdown pass. (Associated Press)

Also in Murray’s favor: After misfiring early in the game, he threaded the needle several times in the second half, including on both of his touchdown throws to Marlon Brown, who finally had the kind of game everyone expected of him when he first signed with Georgia, catching eight passes for 106 yards and the two scores. …

With at least two missed blocks that turned into sacks and three false starts (including one that wiped out a big third-down conversion) offensive lineman John Theus played like a gimpy true freshman. But let’s cut him some slack, because that’s exactly what he was: an injured player who wasn’t able to practice properly and who was in his first big game. I liked that Murray made a point of saying afterward how proud he was of Theus: “It had to be nerve-wracking for him. He had a couple of penalties, but he fought through it and had a heck of a game for us.”

A classy move on the part of the Georgia quarterback.

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

127 comments Add your comment

Tim-Buck-Two

September 9th, 2012
10:20 pm

Samuel’s stuffing the fake.
A Damn Good Dawg!

Dawgfather

September 9th, 2012
10:24 pm

Big moments but my favorite was how Grantham adjusted and used Jarvis Jones differently. Great coaching in leveraging his versatility.

Joe

September 9th, 2012
10:26 pm

Faking the punt only four behind with plenty of time on the clock.

Matt

September 9th, 2012
10:33 pm

Have to go with the Richard Samuel tackle. Btw, Mizzou fans are really nice. Like REALLY nice.

Dawg Haus

September 9th, 2012
10:34 pm

The tide definitely turned for good when Samuel made the stop on the fake punt, but there were so many clutch plays that shouldn’t be overlooked. How about Marlon Brown having the game of his career? Jarvis, of course, is just superhuman. So happy to see our Dawgs finish strong!

Dawg Haus

September 9th, 2012
10:38 pm

This was also the first game in a while where I felt the Dawgs could rely on the running game. Loving what Gurley, Malcome and Marshall are doing.

Biggdawg33

September 9th, 2012
10:47 pm

I think a big key was after throwing the INT after got the fumble recovery, Murray did not continue with more mistakes after that. But again seeing Georgia finish the drill at an away game on the mothership network was good to this ol’ dawg’s nerves.

OleManFootball

September 9th, 2012
10:51 pm

When Bobo finally took a risk and had Murray throw it deep.

Goldenrod

September 9th, 2012
11:01 pm

When Vad Lee tossed an 82-yard touchdown pass to rack it up even further on Presbyterian as the Jackets prevailed 59-3. Now THAT is an impressive victory!

MaconDawg

September 9th, 2012
11:16 pm

GoldenROD aka tech troll, you just can’ stay off Big Brother’s blogs can you?

Get back in your mother’s basement and play some more World of Warcraft.

p.s. WE RUN THIS STATE!

jhooper

September 9th, 2012
11:27 pm

I would have to go for Samuel taking out the fake punt attempt…. This guy has done everything Georgia has asked him to over the years.

I can’t wait to make it out to a game this year…looking forward to seeing TN get beat in person!!!

@MaconDawg LoL, Trolls are nasty business

damngooddawg!

September 9th, 2012
11:35 pm

Yeah, we need to here from the North Avenue Ghetto Trade School after their masterful defeat of a team that represents a smaller enrollment than some Atlanta High Schools….of course Tech’s stadium is …smaller than those of most Atlanta High Schools….I hope someday there will be a conference for these little “technical colleges” to play in so they will get to be big fish in a little pond. Tech: A 3rd rate football program in a 2nd rate conference.

GoDawgs1983

September 9th, 2012
11:51 pm

I really don’t undertand why a techie is talking trash about anything…haven’t they already lost a game…oh yeah, thats right…and another at the end of the regular season is comming. GO DAWGS! I think Georgia looked good on offense, and really good for a depleated defense. I think as the season goes along the offense will mature.

Class of '98

September 10th, 2012
12:16 am

Bill, why didn’t the referees call that blatant horse-collar on Mizzu at the end of Gurley’s big run in the 4th quarter? Did they change the rule in the offseason and I missed it?

And was everybody as surprised as I was that Mizzu’s fake punt attempt was NOT successful?

Chris

September 10th, 2012
12:17 am

To be missing more than a third of the defense while playing with a bunch of true freshman and having Murray start out so cold plus tons of penalties and some turnovers…..but still win by 21 in an away game in that enviornment.
Needless to say I haven’t been this excited about a Georgia football team’s chances of having a very special year in quite a long time.
GOOO DAWGS!!!

Top Row Dawg

September 10th, 2012
12:44 am

1) Making the 53 yard FG.
2) Getting TD with only 1:31 left in 1st half.
3) Tying it up after getting behind by 8.
4) Going 4 for 5 on 3rd down in 3rd Quarter.
5) 24-0 in 4th Quarter.
6) Holding James Franklin to 25 yards on 20 carries.

GoDawgs1983

September 10th, 2012
12:52 am

This is off topic, but has anyone heard about the Ark and the Tulane players who were injured? I really hope those guys are ok! They are just kids, and injuries like these really puts winning and loosing back into perspective.

macaac

September 10th, 2012
12:56 am

Who the hell is Presbyterian?

Mountain Dawg

September 10th, 2012
1:38 am

Presbyterian is the “BLUE HOSE”!

GoDawgs1983

September 10th, 2012
1:40 am

The what??? Really??? Sooooooooooo…..Buff would have had a 40 point advantage against them……and techies are bragging???….Thats like beating a high school team…..

Kyle

September 10th, 2012
1:45 am

Definitely Richard Samuel’s special teams tackle. I was screaming at the TV to watch the fake and, by golly, RS must have been listening!

Yes, why wasn’t the horse collar of Gurley not flagged? Has that rule changed? It was certainly blatant.

Excited about the year after that clutch performance on the road in a hostile environment. I am concerned about our lack of depth still. I know they were blitzing us and Bobo and Murray went with 4 wide to counter. Murray made some nice reads (especially a number of hot reads in the 2nd half) I hope Bobo uses the running game to set the pace and let our defensive starters get a blow now and again.

GoDawgs1983

September 10th, 2012
1:50 am

No kidding Kyle! And what was up with the recievers? They were interfeared with all night! And when we sneezed on their recievers, it was a flag. There was definately some partiality on the officiating side.

PuppyChase Kennels

September 10th, 2012
6:14 am

Frank Lane

September 10th, 2012
6:18 am

Richard Samuel because that took the excitement out of the MIZZOU team. You could see it everywhere.

Macclenny_dawg

September 10th, 2012
6:50 am

Samuels tackle was the turning point. Because we shore wasn’t prepared for the fake. Why does it take for us to get behind for Bobo to open up the playbook and not try to run 1 play and pass the next!!! We always respond when we get behind but never seem to put anything together before we have too. I love how we seem to always respond but just once i Would like to see a complete game out of everybody. GTA!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Top Row Dawg

September 10th, 2012
7:03 am

Wow CMR only 4 road losses to the great and all powerful SEC West in 12 years. Congratulations to Alabama fans for leading the parade of Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M fans in never having the pleasure of seeing the home team victorious over CMR in their home stadium after a decade plus two years. Why Missouri is not in SEC West is beyond my geographical scope.

Just Sayin

September 10th, 2012
7:27 am

I vote for Samuel’s big play. How many TBs in the history of college or pro football could break through 3 blockers and tackle a runner like Richard did? OK, I know he was also a LB a year ago….and that “cross training” saved the day for UGa!!!!

Buzzzzzzzz

September 10th, 2012
7:28 am

Results from the 2011-2012 season for the Big 3 men’s sports:

Football: UGA 1, GT 0

Basketball: GT 1, UGA 0

Baseball: GT 2, UGA 1
——————————-
Total: GT 3, UGA 2

In other words…

GEORGIA TECH RUNS THIS STATE!

Lake Dawg

September 10th, 2012
7:36 am

Jarvis’ interception was the biggest play, but another big play largely uinnoticed was Mitchell catching that fast #4 from behind after he broke Mizzou’s longest run and appeared headed for the end zone.

Dave

September 10th, 2012
7:59 am

Good game, GREAT second half! I was very, very worried midway through the third quarter. It seemed that our depth (not the lack of it) just wore MO down and UGA just took over. Holding Franklin to 20 yards is something I didn’t think would happen. He was my biggest worry all week. If our offense gets running on all cylinders, we will be a handful for any team, and that includes Alabama or LSU. Getting more starters back on defense will be even bigger. By the TN game, the D will be at full strength and the O will have had all the time they need to iron out the inconsitancy kinks. This season is shaping up to be something special!

Dave

September 10th, 2012
8:01 am

What moron from Tech is even bring up their game agains Presbyterian? PRESBYTERIAN??? You should be ashamed of yourself…beside the fact that you should be ashamed to be a Ga. Tech fan….

Mocha

September 10th, 2012
8:03 am

Tech is the little brother that complains all the time about not getting enough attention. No….no one is impressed that you beat Presbyterian. You are a footnote in the football world…”UGA comes home with a big road win AT Missouri! And in other news….yeah, Ga. Tech happened to win. Anyway on to the important stuff….”

Daniel#12

September 10th, 2012
8:15 am

Jarvis interception is turning point, but Samuel gets the DGD award for his stop. Whatever is needed he provides. Need a running back, linebacker, fullback or special teams player? He’s your man.

RHall55

September 10th, 2012
8:32 am

A TEAM victory!! And especially for a TEAM PLAYER…Richard Samuel !!!! Kudos to the players…now next game…who will shine??? On the downside….we get a victory, but AL gets another 4-5 star RB commit…Bo SCARBOROUGH!!! How many RB’S do they need…now it is time for us to get A Kamara (they will get D Henry!!)

Come on

September 10th, 2012
8:48 am

Who is Presbyterian? I thought this was a football blog not religon.

BKbroila

September 10th, 2012
8:52 am

The tide turned after the first Mizzou score…The Dawgs answered immediately with a counter punch and I knew that UGA was gonna find a way to get it done…Every time Mizzou scored, UGA scored on their next possession…It was obvious that UGA was able to score when they needed to…UGA was the superior team and has not only the talent, but the will to win this season….Go Dawgs!!!!

Evansdawg

September 10th, 2012
8:54 am

WOW. So many great plays that were factors in the game, but I think the spark that set the Dawgs on the path to victory belonged to Richard Samuel. After that play, very little went wrong for the Dawgs. It was a heads-up play. Even though Jenkins was eating Tigers for dinner, I have to give it up for Samuel in a VERY clutch play. Glad Murray calmed down, too. I was cursing his name the entire first half.

Come on

September 10th, 2012
8:55 am

Buzzzzzzzz

How about them Dawgs—- 62-39-5 in the sports that counts in the Deep South.

Just Sayin

September 10th, 2012
9:10 am

@buzzzzzzzzz
Did you conveniently forget all the other sports????? Also, where are they keeping the ACC trophy you guys lost for cheating? Just asking out of curiosity.

Old Dawg

September 10th, 2012
9:36 am

Not to take anything away from Jarvis Jones, but Richard Samuels of the fake punt saved the day.

As we all know, UGA hasn’t played well on special teams through the years so Samuels’ play was outstanding.

DGD!

Fletch

September 10th, 2012
9:55 am

If memory serves, Samuel shed 2 blockers on that tackle…impressive!

OrlandoDawg

September 10th, 2012
9:55 am

Big plays everywhere! But it started with RICHARD SAMUEL stuffing the fake punt!!!! JJ was THE MAN, and was the MVP…but it started with Richard! Murray and Bennett could have put the game away early if they had been on 100% as we have to be when we play USCe….

Nick

September 10th, 2012
9:56 am

I think a year ago, that 4th and 11 punt fake goes for 40 yards. Much improvement (at least on that play). The JJ INT was the clincher I think. I noticed the air had completely gone out of Missouri’s team after that one. They looked tired and defeated. Welcome to SEC football, little boys!

What else do you expect when you’re the “show me” state? Ya’ll got shown alright!
Go Dawgs!

dawgs win

September 10th, 2012
10:05 am

i think it was when we drove before the half to answer the touchdown mizzu scored even though we missed the extra point the score was what we needed at that critical moment great game go dawgs

OrlandoDawg

September 10th, 2012
10:09 am

glad to have Mizzo in the SEC, they are a very good team…they played harder than us at times and showed spirit….

beachdog

September 10th, 2012
10:09 am

Turning point of the game, hands down, was stuffing on the fake punt.

Richt owes Richard Samuel a big kiss

September 10th, 2012
10:14 am

If Mizzou makes that fake punt play and evetually scores it would have been visions of WVU in the Sugar Bowl. Big Mo would have turned to the Tigers favor. Richt lives another day as UGA’s fooball coach. Stay Tuned!

UGA Insider

September 10th, 2012
10:21 am

I am going to say something and I would like to hear an argument either way you feel. In my 30 years of watching UGA, I have NEVER seen a individual performance as good as Jarvis Jones on defense. We may have witnessed the finest game ever by a UGA defensive player and a top 5 performance of all time offense or defense. David Pollack vs USCe is the only other game that even comes close to this. JJ totally dominated and never let up.

loyaldawg

September 10th, 2012
10:23 am

great mizzou fans they were vey hospitable and the trip was outstanding incedible game atmosphere and we played well Theus will imporve and he did from the first half to the 2nd half and he was on a sprained ankle. great play calling too players made plays especially Richard and Jarvis and this happened because of others on the team doing what they were supposed to be doing

Cannot wait to go back to Mizzou

Frank Lane

September 10th, 2012
10:26 am

People are forgetting that Samuel was blocked on the fake punt, and beat the block to make the tackle. Huge.