ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia coach Kirby Smart is trying to find every reason to get his team motivated to play Missouri, and the Tigers’ passing attack might help him prove a point.
Missouri is averaging 294.0 passing yards per game, which is second in the SEC.
Smart was upset with how the Bulldogs’ defense played last week against Vanderbilt. He hopes they can learn from their mistakes in Nashville in their return to Sanford Stadium on Saturday against the Tigers.
“I hope last week got our attention that a good quarterback that is accurate, that knows where to throw the football can attack a defense,” Smart said this week. “That is certainly what Mizzou has. … I think this kid (Drew Lock) has as strong as an arm as anybody in the league. He has two really outstanding wideouts, not to mention some big tight ends. They do a great job at the RPO game. They were very hard to defend last year and they are very hard to defend this year. Again, they stop themselves. People don’t stop them. They’ve stopped themselves with turnovers, so we’ve got to have a good plan and we’ve got to play well.”
Georgia escaped with a 28-27 win at Missouri last season, and Bulldogs junior linebacker Roquan Smith knows from that experience that Missouri can move the football.
“They’re a high-powered offense,” Smith said. “I think that they have a great quarterback, an awesome running back (Damarea Crockett) as well, and I think it will be a good challenge for us on defense.”
Last season, Lock threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs; he also tossed three picks. J’Mon Moore had eight receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Moore remains one of the best deep threats in the league; he has 19 receptions for 398 yards (20.9 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. He and junior receiver Emanuel Hall drew praise from Smart.
“I think they’re two of the best wideouts that we have seen, with the combination of a good passer,” Smart said. “Here’s one of the best wideouts we faced all of last year, J’Mon Moore, but the other kid was there and he’s lighting it up this year. So it’s not like you’ve got one guy that’s a good player. You’ve got two, and they’ve got multiple guys that are really good wideouts, and a group of tight ends that are really big.’’
Sophomore Johnathon Johnson is Missouri’s leading receiver, with 24 receptions for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Missouri had been struggling offensively but after a bye week, the Tigers put up 568 yards in last week’s 40-34 loss at Kentucky. Noteworthy was that Mizzou rushed for 213 yards against a UK defense that had been allowing just 74.0 rushing yards per game.
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