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Missouri stumbles at Georgia, falls to Bulldogs 30-21

Athens, Ga. 一 When No. 12 Missouri entered Sanford Stadium on Saturday, everything it wanted was still on the table.

What's everything you ask?

Defeating No. 2 Georgia for the first time since 2013, giving the Tigers the inside track to winning the Southeastern Conference East division, which would mean a chance at the SEC Championship and possibly a College Football Playoff berth if it had won out and finished the season 11-1.

However, after quarterback Brady Cook threw his first of two fourth-quarter interceptions to defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse, some stuff would be removed from said table.

That was pretty much the nail in the coffin and Mizzou would go on to lose 30-21, handing Georgia its 26th-straight win.

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"We're disappointed because we put ourselves in a position to contend for the SEC East which is the goal that we have in place and that's really not going to be in our control any longer," Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said in his postgame presser.

On the aforementioned interception, the Tigers were driving the ball down field as they trailed 27-21 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Cook lined up in the shotgun in 11 personnel with running back Cody Schrader flanked to his right.

Cook snapped the ball and faked the end around to wide receiver Theo Wease, who was coming from the left and was going right, and then proceeded to roll right before taking a couple of steps to the left, doing a small pump fake and throwing the ball toward tight end Brett Norfleet.

"We were running a little tight end hide play and I had my eyes on the tight end and he was open and all of a sudden I just saw the defender with the ball," Drinkwitz said.

That was one of a few of Mizzou's mistakes on the day.

The turnover battle will always play a big factor in any game of any sport in which one is possible, but earlier in the week Drinkwitz said that third downs and red zone play were going to determine this game and they did.

Georgia was 5-of-5 in the red zone with three touchdowns and two field goals, while Missouri was 3-of-3 in the red zone with two touchdowns and two field goals.

Drinkwitz said his team likes to call the red zone area four-point plays because teams can either settle for three points with a field goal or a chance to score a touchdown (and PAT) and get seven points.

"Their first touchdown on a four-point play was a third down and they threw a screen (pass to Dominic Lovett) that scored. (Our) first drive of the second half we ended up kicking a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. They were 6-of-13 on third down, we were 5-of-13 on third down. So, I think that says it."

Add in the Bulldogs' conversion on their lone fourth down attempt and they were 7-of-14 on those two money downs.

Losing the turnover battle 2-0 and failing to convert more third downs while also not limiting Georgia on enough third downs were not the only problems the Tigers had on Saturday, though.

Penalties and officiating

Something that's been somewhat of an achilles heel for the Tigers all season has been penalties.

They entered the game averaging 7.12 penalties per game which is t-112th in the FBS.

After having just three penalties versus Kentucky two games ago and six versus South Carolina in their last outing, the Tigers committed eight penalties for 49 yards against the Bulldogs.

One penalty down the stretch, a pass interference call on linebacker Ty'Ron Hopper proved to be the difference in Drinkwitz's eyes..

"Game kind of flipped on that defensive pass interference call on third down and they were able to capture some momentum," A visibly disappointed Drinkwitz said.

On second and nine, with the ball at Missouri's 31-yard line, Hopper committed a pass interference on Georgia tight end Oscar Delp that moved the ball to the Mizzou 17-yard line.

However, that wasn't the only pass interference call of that drive. At least, that's what it looked like.

On the very next play, Georgia quarterback Carson Beck rolled right and tried to throw a screen pass to running back Daijun Edwards. It went into the ground and shortly after the whistle was blown a flag was thrown.

The officials called offensive pass interference on Georgia wide receiver Dillon Bell.

After moving the ball 15 yards back, the officials regrouped and reviewed the play. They later determined that because Beck's pass landed behind the line of scrimmage, Bell's blocking wasn't a pass interference.

A very annoyed Drinkwitz was asked during his presser about the officials' explanation for picking up the flag and apparently, it wasn't much (fast forward to 5:02 on the clip below).

"The thing about our league is that there's not really any explanations and then there's no explanations to y'all from them. So, you can ask me all you want, I can't really say anything, but the better question is to ask them because I thought, ... whether or not it's conclusive evidence," Drinkwitz said." I can't see any conclusive evidence of where the ball is. But apparently, in Birmingham (Alabama where the SEC offices are located), they found conclusive evidence. So, I don't know, I guess you'll have to write a letter to somebody there to see if they'll answer."

There was another call right before halftime when the Tigers got the ball back with 45 seconds left at Georgia's 25-yard line with two timeouts before halftime.

Schrader took a handoff and headed to the left sideline and gained four yards before Georgia's Javon Bullard pulled his shoulders down from behind stopping his forward progress with him landing out of bounds.

The clock kept running and Mizzou lost 25 seconds.

One could make a fair argument that Schrader's elbow landed in the field of play and even though the officials kept the clock going Drinkwitz should've called a timeout, but he believed he didn't need to.

"Yeah, the ball goes out of bounds. It should be a dead clock. I don't know what else to ask," Drinkwitz said frustratedly. "The ball goes out of bounds. That should be a dead clock but yet they wind it and then there's no explanation to anybody about it.

"So, there's no explanation on why it wasn't a dead clock. And so for us, if we do go out of bounds and they stopped the clock there, then we don't let it run off. We try to move the ball again. ... Again, try to ask them that question."

That was just one of a few questionable calls (that went against both teams) made by referee Steve Marlowe and his crew.

Missouri cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine got away with a clear pass interference, his fellow corner, Dreyden Norwood, got called for a pass interference on a ball that looked to be thrown right at him and behind the receiver.

Again, penalties were just one of many things that didn't go in Mizzou''s favor.

Cody Schrader was the Tigers' best player on the field 

Something that was in Mizzou's favor was the run game led by Schrader, who recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season after recording 22 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia entered Week 10, with the nation's 12th-ranked rushing defense and had allowed over 100 rushing yards to three teams this season (Tennessee-Martin, Auburn and Florida).

The Gators had 24 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown a week ago.

So, not only did it take two fewer carries for Schrader to do that, he did something no other player has done against Georgia this season and that's rush for 100 yards or more.

"What else can you say about Cody Schrader," Drinkwitz rhetorically asked. "He had 112 yards rushing. I mean, unbelievable. He's a fighter and a good player."

Schrader's longest run on the day was just 13 yards, but he kept chipping away at Georgia's defense and helped keep the Tigers in the game down the stretch when they were down 24-13, with a 12-yard touchdown run.

"I saw the edge. I knew we had two receivers on that side. So they cleared out. The DBs, Javon Foster picked up a huge (block). He reached his guy, and I just kind of leaned inside to get the backers to kind of come down a little bit and saw I had the outside and scored."

Missouri needed every bit of his yardage and probably more.

On a day, when wide receiver Luther Burden III couldn't get much going on after his first-quarter touchdown (three receptions for 53 yards and one touchdown) due to repeated double and triple teams, Schrader was the team's best offensive player.

For the season, he's rushed the ball 162 times for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns.

PowerMizzou.com is a proud game day partner of Yuengling Traditional Lager the taste of game-time @yuenglingbeer #LagerUp.

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