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Saturday November 28th, 2020 11:15AM

No. 2 Georgia clears another SEC hurdle at Missouri

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Fueled by opportunistic defense and special teams early and a quick-strike passing game late, No. 2 Georgia notched another road victory against a divisional foe.

Jake Fromm threw three second-half touchdown passes and the Bulldogs returned a fumble and a blocked punt for scores to beat Missouri 43-29 on Saturday.

"We didn't play with discipline, composure and really not much physicality when you look at the run game for us and stopping the run game defensively, but I am proud of the way we competed and I am proud of the way we were resilient," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "When they made a play, we came back and made a play."

The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) blanketed Missouri's wide receivers, harassed star quarterback Drew Lock, and forced three turnovers in the first half against the seventh-best offense in the country entering the game. Lock, the highly touted NFL prospect, completed 23 of 48 passes for 221 yards for the Tigers (3-1, 0-1 SEC).

The Bulldogs opened a 20-7 halftime lead without an offensive touchdown. In the first quarter, Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell stripped Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, scooped up the ball and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown — along the way, picking up an accidental downfield block from an official against Lock. In the second quarter, Eric Stokes burst off the left side of the Georgia line, blocked a punt and returned it 8 yards for another TD.

"When you have a punt blocked for a touchdown, you have a fumble recovery for a touchdown, it gives them and spots them 14 points, and that's hard to overcome," Missouri coach Barry Odom said. "There aren't many teams in the country that I know that can be in the turnover margin on the negative side and end up winning the external scoreboard."

Fromm threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to Riley Ridley, 61 yards to Jeremiah Holloman and 54 yards to Mecole Hardman in the second half. Fromm completed 13 of 23 passes for 260 yards. Elijah Holyfield rushed 14 times for 90 yards, and D'Andre Swift added 16 carries for 71 yards.

Missouri rushed for 172 yards, with Larry Rountree III, Damarea Crockett, Tyler Badie and Lock all scoring rushing touchdowns. Okwuegbunam had nine catches for 81 yards. Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker held Missouri leading receiver Emanuel Hall — who entered with 430 receiving yards — without a catch.

"Just another day at the office for me," Baker said. "I don't give myself too many pats on the back."

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia: The Bulldogs have already cleared two divisional road hurdles on their way to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Georgia won at South Carolina in week two.

Missouri: The Tigers had won nine straight regular-season games before falling to Georgia. The task now is avoiding a losing streak as Missouri continues the season's toughest stretch with games at South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

There isn't much room for upward mobility for the second-ranked Bulldogs. The question is whether voters will penalize them for not dominating Missouri.

UP NEXT

Georgia: The Bulldogs return home to play Tennessee.

Missouri: The Tigers have an off week before traveling to South Carolina.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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