COLUMBIA, Mo. - The seventh-ranked University of Georgia football team scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to improve to 2-0 on the season, 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference, when it spoiled the Missouri Tigers' SEC debut with a 41-20 win in front of a capacity crowd and a nationally televised, ESPN2 audience in Columbia, Mo.
It was a defensive struggle for the first quarter of the game, as the teams combined for seven drives that did not produce any points. Missouri was the first to get on the board, capping a four-play drive with a 28-yard field goal by Andrew Baggett that gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Murray led the Bulldogs through the air, going 22-for-35 for 242 yards and a touchdown. Marlon Brown led the receiving corps, finishing with eight catches for 106 yards. Michael Bennett added 79 yards, while Tavarres King finished with two catches for 41 yards and one touchdown catch.
Amarlo Herrera led a stout Georgia defense, finishing with 10 tackles, including two solo stops. Jarvis Jones had five solo tackles and eight assisted tackles. The All-American also had one sack, an interception, one pass break up and a forced fumble in the win.
Missouri's James Franklin completed 25 of 41 passes for 269 yards to lead the Tigers' offense. Marcus Lucas was Missouri's leading receiver, finishing with six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs answered with a field goal of their own to make it a 3-3 game with just under six minutes to play in the half. During the drive, Gurley rushed for a gain of six yards that set up the 52-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan.
With just over two minutes on the clock, Mizzou orchestrated a three-play, 63-yard drive that took just 31 seconds and resulted in the first touchdown of the game and put the Tigers up 10-3.
The Bulldogs answered with a touchdown drive of their own on the ensuing drive. Murray found Michael Bennett and Brown for 11 and 24 yards, respectively, before hitting King in stride for 34 yards. Brown capped off the five play, 71-yard drive by scoring two plays later on a two-yard pass from Murray. The Bulldogs missed the extra-point and went into the half trailing 10-9.
Missouri wasted no time taking a 17-9 lead early in the second half on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Franklin to L'Damian Washington. Once again, the Bulldogs answered immediately, scoring a touchdown on the following drive. Murray led Georgia 75 yards on 12 plays that culminated in a seven-yard pass to King for the touchdown. Down two after the earlier missed PAT, the Bulldogs went for two, with Murray finding Bennett in the end zone that tied the score at 17.
With Missouri leading 20-17 following a 25-yard field goal, the Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the night on the ensuing drive. Murray connected with Brown three times for 55 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown grab that put Georgia on top 24-20 following the extra point with just under a minute left to play in the third quarter.
Georgia extended its lead to 27-20 early in the fourth quarter when Morgan connected on a 41-yard field goal.
Jones helped Georgia score 14 points in less than a minute that put the Bulldogs up 41-20. The first score came as a result of an interception by Jones and a one-yard touchdown run by Gurley with 7:33 left in the game. Less than one minute later, Jones forced a fumble that set up a six-yard run by Ken Malcome and a PAT by Morgan.
Georgia returns to action next weekend when it returns home to face Florida Atlantic at 7:30 p.m.