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Georgia 41, Missouri 20

The SportsXchange

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri and Georgia played "old-man football" until two minutes remained in the first half.

From there, James Franklin and Aaron Murray engaged in an aerial assault before the seventh-ranked Bulldogs pulled away for a 41-20 victory Saturday.

Both offenses awoke at the end of the first half, and with neither run game proving very effective, the onus fell on the shoulders of Murray and Franklin.

Murray, Georgia's senior quarterback, started the game by completing six of his first 13 passes. He finished 22-for-35 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Franklin, a Missouri junior, finished 25-for-41 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Both quarterbacks had one interception.

For the first three quarters, the quarterback duel looked more like the Tigers' Big 12 matchups of the previous half-decade. The SEC logos dotting the field and stadium hinted otherwise.

Murray and his supporting cast pulled ahead in the third quarter with two consecutive touchdown drives. The first, a 12-play, 75-yard drive took up over four minutes of game time, ended in a 7-yard scoring pass to Tavarres King. Georgia tied the game on a two-point conversion pass to tight end Michael Bennett.

Missouri took a brief lead on a 25-yard field goal by Andrew Baggett, but Murray and Georgia answered. An 11-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Marlon Brown ended a five play, 72-yard drive and gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 24-20, near the end of the third quarter.

Brown finished the game with eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Georgia never relinquished the lead. A 41-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan -- his second of the day -- was set up after Missouri attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-11 from its 35-yard line. Trey Barrow's run never had a chance.

The Bulldogs didn't need much of Murray in the fourth quarter. Instead, Georgia's defense made the offense's life easier. All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones intercepted Franklin and returned the ball to Missouri's 1-yard line. Freshman tailback Todd Gurley extended Georgia's lead to two touchdowns with a 1-yard run on the next play.

Jones ended Missouri's next drive, as well, with a sack and strip of Franklin. Defensive tackle John Jenkins recovered the fumble at Missouri's 6-yard line. Two plays later, Ken Malcome trotted those final 6 yards into the end zone.

The Bulldogs outscored Missouri 32-3 after the Tigers briefly led 17-9. By the end, Georgia fans in Memorial Stadium's southwest corner chanted "old-man football," directing their vitriol to Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, who made those comments last weekend about Georgia's methods.

After combining for less than 100 yards until late in the second quarter, Missouri and Georgia exchanged quick-strike scoring drives to end the half. Georgia freshman kicker Morgan missed an extra point, however, to leave the Tigers with a 10-9 lead entering the third quarter.

Franklin led Missouri on a three-play, 63-yard drive, culminating in a 41-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Lucas. On Georgia's ensuing drive, Murray completed four of five passes for 71 yards, with Brown catching the 2-yard touchdown pass.

Murray finished the first half 10-for-17 for 104 yards and a touchdown. Franklin finished 12-for-22 for 122 yards and a touchdown. A last-second Hail Mary pass to Lucas fell incomplete through the receiver's hands.

Missouri scored first after linebacker Donovan Bonner intercepted Murray with 13:06 remaining in the second quarter. The Tigers' offense only netted 5 yards on the ensuing drive, but redshirt freshman Andrew Baggett converted a 38-yard field goal, the first attempt of his college career.

Georgia also used a miscue to set up its first points. A punt by Missouri's Barrow netted 31 yards, setting the Bulldogs up at Missouri's 41-yard line. Morgan hit a 52-yard field goal, a career long, to tie the game.
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