QB a mystery for No. 12 Georgia against Missouri
No. 12 Georgia and Missouri, victimized on back-to-back weeks by the high-scoring Florida Gators, will try to rediscover their winning ways when they meet on Saturday in Columbia, Mo.
Georgia (4-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) scored the first 14 points against the Gators before dropping a 44-28 decision last week in Jacksonville, Fla. Missouri (2-3, 2-3) was hammered by the Gators 41-17 on Oct. 31 and did not play last week.
Georgia leads the all-time series against Missouri 8-1. The Bulldogs have won the past six meetings, including 27-0 in Athens in 2019. Missouri’s only victory came in 2013 at Athens. The teams played only once before Missouri joined the SEC in 2012, a 14-0 Bulldogs win in the 1960 Orange Bowl.
The big question for Georgia is at quarterback. Starter Stetson Bennett took a hard hit and injured his shoulder on Saturday. He left the game in favor of D’Wan Mathis, who struggled as a starter in the season opener against Arkansas and has seen limited playing time since.
Bennett is listed as questionable for this week’s game. Coach Kirby Smart would not commit to a starter early this week, leaving speculation that Mathis, highly regarded transfer JT Daniels or even freshman Carson Beck might get an opportunity.
“The one who does the best job will be ready to play, and if Stetson is ready to play and he does the best job …” Smart said.
There has been growing discontent with Bennett, a smaller quarterback who has had issues throwing over tall defensive linemen. The 5-foot-11 Bennett has passed for 1,167 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions; he was 5-for-16 for 78 yards against Florida before his injury.
The Georgia defense was able to get pressure against Florida, but the secondary had trouble covering a basic wheel route and Gators quarterback Kyle Trask easily found the mismatches in coverage. Trask threw for 474 yards and four touchdowns.
“It’s a lot of things that we need to do,” Georgia junior cornerback Eric Stokes said. “As a leader on the team, I need to do better, too. We need to make sure the team is doing the little things right so we can be ready on Saturday.”
Missouri has been more effective on offense since turning to quarterback Connor Bazelak, who has been No. 1 at the spot since entering the game in the first half against Tennessee on Oct. 3. Bazelak has thrown for 1,101 yards and four touchdowns.
The Tigers have also settled on Larry Rountree III as their featured back, and he has rushed for 432 yards and four touchdowns. However, there are questions about the offensive line, which will be using its ninth different player this week.
The Tigers are without tackle Larry Borom (lower leg injury) and guard Xavier Delgado (ankle procedure). Tackle Dylan Spencer was one of three players — along with defensive tackle Markell Utsey and reserve linebacker Chad Bailey — suspended for the first half by the SEC for their role in a halftime brawl against Florida.
“We’ve got a lot of names. We’ve got practice,” coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “We’ll work on it. I think we’ve got nine scholarship offensive linemen, and whoever else is available to play that position, we’ll get them ready to play.”
The Missouri defense will try to get pressure on whoever Georgia starts at quarterback. Trajan Jeffcoat leads the Tigers with three sacks and seven hurries.
–Field Level Media