THIS is SEC Football

Until only a minute-and-a-half was left in a tough first half, GEORGIA and Missouri were locked up in a 3-3 defensive battle in America’s heartland. Senior cornerback Branden Smith took a bad coverage angle, and Mizzou held a 10-3 advantage.

Suffering adrenalized overthrows all half, Murray suddenly settled down and started hitting T.K., Bennett and Marlon Brown in stride. The frosh missed an extra point (and later in the game banged one through), after drilling a 52-yard field goal earlier in the half. It was 10 to 9 in Missouri.

Both teams came out with a renewed spark of energy for a second half under the lights. Missouri seemed the slightly more explosive team most of the third quarter. Facing adversity and down 17-9 and then 20-17, the Dawgs exploded rather than imploded – as Georgia’s multi-pronged passing attack and relentlessly opportunistic D proved too much for the SEC East newbies.

Jarvis Jones had his best game in the red and black, a strong statement made considering he was a first team All-American in his only season playing, in 2011. His statistics were grotesque Saturday night at “The Zou” ~ 9 tackles, an interception, 2 forced fumbles, 2 sacks and 5 other QB pressures.

Another former high school All-American from the same graduating class, senior Marlon Brown had only his second total career big game in college, besting his first 100-yard performance at Vandy last season while adding two key touchdown grabs (though he still had two drops).

Georgia poured it on late and more than doubled the opposition in total score as the night grew long in the Show Me State, a hand-written sign behind our bench reading: Welcome to the SEC.

UGA is 2-0 and 1-0 in the SEC and 1-0 in the division. Next up: HELLO ATHENS! Three home games in ascending difficulty: 1. Florida Atlantic at night; 2. the 0-2 but scrappy Vandy Coommodores on the first day of autumn and 3. the resurgent and pass-happy Tennessee Volunteers. If Richt can get Georgia to 4-0 and 3-0 in conference before a trip to Columbia to face a deep and talented South Carolina team, that’d be pretty good.