QB Daniels returns as No. 1 Georgia dominates Missouri, 43-6

Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

ATHENS, Ga. – With Missouri gearing its defense to stop the run, No. 1 Georgia relied on big plays in a passing game that was boosted by the return of quarterback JT Daniels.

Stetson Bennett passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to Daniels, the former starter, leading the Bulldogs to a 43-6 win over Missouri on Saturday.

The game opened new questions for Georgia at quarterback while affirming the Bulldogs’ season-long defensive dominance. Missouri was held to 273 total yards in Georgia’s seventh game of the season allowing no more than 10 points.

“I think … their game plan was not to let us run the ball,” Bennett said. “They were trying to stop our run game and when they do that we have to try to be explosive.”

The Bulldogs completed four passes of 31 yards or longer and seven for at least 15 yards. Wide receivers Jermaine Burton, who had a 47-yarder, and Arian Smith, who had a 35-yard scoring catch from Bennett, have returned from injuries to boost the unit’s depth.

As usual, Georgia’s defense led the way. The Bulldogs began the day leading the nation with 6.6 points allowed per game. Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Travon Walker had sacks.

Georgia (9-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) scored 40 straight points after Missouri’s early 3-0 lead. Still, coach Kirby Smith wasn’t satisfied, calling the overall performance “subpar” and noting the modest rushing total of 168 yards.

“We were trying to stop the run,” Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz said. “… When you do that you’re susceptible to the passing yards.”

Daniels opened the season as Georgia’s starter before missing more than a month with a lat injury. He came off the sideline midway through the third quarter. His 7-yard scoring pass to Ladd McConkey gave Georgia a 40-3 lead.

“We’re blessed to have two quarterbacks who can go out there and both play at a high level,” McConkey said.

Daniels’ second possession ended with an interception by Missouri defensive back Jaylor Carlies.

Missouri (4-5, 1-4) also could have ongoing questions at quarterback.

Tigers starter Connor Bazelak, who left last week’s win over Vanderbilt with what Drinkwitz called a “soft tissue” injury, was with the team but did not play.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Macon passed for 74 yards and ran for 42 in his first start. He shared time with Brady Cook, who threw for 78 yards.

“We were just trying to see if one of them could really spark us and sustain us,” Drinkwitz said, adding “both of them did some really good things.”

Harrison Mevis kicked a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter to give Missouri a 3-0 lead, leaving him 12 for 12 this season before his third-quarter attempt from 48 yards hit the left upright and was no good.

THE TAKEAWAY

Missouri: Tyler Badie, the SEC’s leading rusher, was held to 41 yards. Macon gave the Tigers a new look with his dual-threat skills. He had a 20-yard run in the first half and showed potential for more success as a runner. The Tigers drew a penalty while recovering an onside kick to open the second half, taking away a possible momentum-changing play when Georgia led 26-3.

Georgia: Linebacker Adam Anderson, the team’s sacks leader, was suspended for the game while he is under investigation by Athens-Clarke County Police for an alleged rape. The Bulldogs lost another key starter during the week when left tackle Jamaree Salyer suffered a left foot injury in a practice. The Bulldogs’ depth, perhaps the team’s biggest strength, again paid off to keep the team on track for its championship hopes. Broderick Jones filled in at left tackle and the Bulldogs did not allow a sack.

POLL IMPICATIONS

Georgia is a lock to retain its No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 and is assured of again claiming the top spot in the season’s second College Football Playoff rankings.

LATE DEFENSIVE STAND

Macon’s 28-yard pass to Tauskie Dove set up a first down at the Georgia 3 in the final minute. With Smart leaving backups on the field, the Georgia defense held on three plays from the 1.

RICHT HONORED

Former Georgia coach Mark Richt was honored at halftime. The Bulldogs won 2002 and 2005 SEC championships, and played in three other SEC title games, in Richt’s 15 seasons. He posted a 145-51 record from 2002-16.

Richt announced this summer he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

UP NEXT

Missouri plays the first of back-to-back home SEC games when it faces South Carolina on Saturday.

Georgia closes its SEC schedule at Tennessee next Saturday. The Bulldogs have won the last four in the series, including a 44-21 home win last season when both teams were ranked.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

west virginia football
Lee Coleman/Getty Images
0 Comments

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.