Published January 13, 2015
Athens, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 25th-ranked Missouri Tigers snapped the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs' 15-game home winning streak with a 41-26 victory, but lost quarterback James Franklin to an injury in the process.
Franklin completed 18-of-27 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder strain. The senior quarterback, who added a score on the ground, was seen on the sidelines in the final minutes with a sling over his shoulder. X-rays came back negative.
Maty Mauk replaced Franklin and completed 3-of-3 passes for 23 yards for the Tigers (6-0, 2-0 SEC), who are off to a 6-0 start for the first time since beginning the 2010 campaign 7-0.
L'Damian Washington caught seven passes for 115 yards and two scores for Missouri. Wide receiver Bud Sasser threw a touchdown pass to Washington in the fourth stanza.
"Overall this was a great win. Georgia is a great football team and they have a lot of injuries," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I have been through that before and I know that is difficult to deal with. We battled and I am really proud of our team for that."
Aaron Murray connected on 25-of-45 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Bulldogs (4-2, 3-1), who lost at home for the first time since Sept. 10, 2011 against South Carolina.
"We missed too many opportunities and the turnovers killed us," Murray said. "We can't give away the ball like we did and win a game like that. Both picks were forced throws trying to put the ball into tight spots where I probably should have checked down."
Georgia played without running backs Todd Gurley (ankle) and Keith Marshall (knee) and wide receivers Justin Scott-Wesley (knee) and Michael Bennett (knee). Marshall and Scott-Wesley each suffered a torn ACL in last week's overtime win over Tennessee. Bennett suffered a torn meniscus in the Tennessee game.
Trailing 28-10 at the break, Georgia scored 16 unanswered points to start the second half. The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with a 28-yard field goal from Marshall Morgan.
Later in the frame, Georgia put together an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. On 3rd-and-2, the Bulldogs picked up a first down due to a defensive pass interference penalty. Faced with a 4th-and-5 later in the series, Murray and Chris Conley hooked up for a six-yard gain. Arthur Lynch's 21-yard catch led to Rantavious Wooten's 7-yard TD catch.
The Bulldogs continued to roll on offense as the third frame came to a close. Brendan Douglas touched the ball on the final two plays of the third and the first two of the fourth. He added a 13-yard run before Conley's 10-yard TD catch with less than 12 1/2 minutes to play. The score remained 28-26 following a failed two-point conversion.
Franklin got hurt on the ensuing Missouri possession. The Tigers, however, pulled off a trick play with Mauk under center. He threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Sasser, who tossed a 40-yard TD pass to Washington.
Following a punt from each team, Randy Ponder intercepted Murray. That led to Henry Josey's 7-yard TD run, making it a 41-26 contest.
Kentrell Brothers then intercepted Murray to secure the victory.
The Bulldogs found the end zone on their second possession of the game, with the help of three Missouri penalties. The last penalty was for pass interference, which led to Douglas' 7-yard TD catch.
Sasser and Marcus Lucas caught passes of 21 and 12 yards, respectively, on the first two plays of the ensuing Missouri possession. Marcus Murphy and Franklin added runs of 14 and 16 yards, respectively, before Franklin capped the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.
The Tigers took that momentum into the second quarter. Washington caught passes of 17 and 16 yards, respectively, with his second catch resulting in a score from 16 yards away. Morgan's 29-yard field goal cut the hosts' gap to 14-10 with about 10 minutes left.
Murphy responded with a 36-yard TD run to give Missouri a 21-10 lead. The score was set up by a defensive pass interference call on 3rd-and-8.
The Tigers then came up with a big play on defense. On the first play of the ensuing Georgia possession, Shane Ray sacked Murray and forced a fumble. Michael Sam picked up the loose ball and raced 21 yards the other way for a score, making it a 28-10 game with 5:46 remaining.
Another turnover ended the Bulldogs' next drive, with Douglas fumbling inside the Missouri 10-yard line.
Georgia had beaten Missouri in both previous meetings ... With its six wins so far in 2013, Missouri has already surpassed its entire win total from an injury-riddled 2012 season ... Douglas caught six passes for 43 yards and a score and carried the ball 14 times for 70 yards ... Missouri defeated a Top 10 team on the road for the first time since 1981.