No. 2 Georgia clears another SEC hurdle at Missouri

Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, right, runs past Georgia’s Brenton Cox, left, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Georgia had a defensive touchdown and returned a blocked punt for a score to beat Missouri 43-29 on Saturday.

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.

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.

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.