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Missouri vs. Georgia: 10 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs Loss

Brian JonesContributor IOctober 8, 2016

Missouri vs. Georgia: 10 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs Loss

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The Georgia Bulldogs knew they were in for a challenge when they took on the Missouri Tigers at Sanford Stadium. But they had no idea that they would be down by 18 at the end of the first half and lose by 15 when it was all said and done.

    The Bulldogs did fight back to make it a two-point game in the fourth quarter. But turnovers and inconsistent defensive play were the reasons the Tigers came away with the win.

    The loss cripples the Bulldogs' chance at a national title and puts them one game behind the SEC East lead. They will have a lot of things to fix if they want to get back to the Georgia Dome for the third consecutive year. 

    Here are 10 things we learned from the Bulldogs' loss to Missouri. 

The Defense Is Not Improving

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Let's start with the defense. 

    When looking at the stats it appears they did not play that bad as they only gave up 375 yards of total offense. But the inability to get off the field on third down early in the game and the fact they gave up a touchdown on a halfback pass in the fourth quarter shows they still have a lot of work to do.

    They are a young group and everyone knows that. But there has to be signs of them making strides and it seems like they are making the same mistakes over and over again.

Damian Swann Is Going Through a Major Slump

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Damian Swann was able to make plays in the run game, but he is having a hard time covering receivers as he got beat a few times in the Missouri game.

    This has been going on ever since the SEC championship game last year. Swann is getting beat constantly, but the reality of the situation is he is the best corner the Bulldogs have because of his experience. 

    After starting off strong to begin the 2012 season, he has lost his swagger and has to find a way to get it back. 

The Receivers Have to Step Up

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    With Michael Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley out, the backup receivers have to step up and help Aaron Murray.

    One of the key plays one of the receivers did not make is when Chris Conley dropped a ball in the end zone which would have tied the game in the fourth quarter. But there were also dropped passes by various receivers throughout the game. 

    Hopefully, with more reps the backups will be better, but they have to get better in a hurry because they can't afford to have any more dropped balls.

The Offensive Line Still Has Work to Do

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    It looked like the offensive line took a step back in the Missouri game.

    It had a hard time containing Michael Sam and the rest of the Missouri defensive line, especially Kolton Houston who gave up a huge sack in the fourth quarter.

    The play of the offensive line is one of the reasons Murray had three turnovers. This group has too much experience to struggle as mightily as it did against the Tigers.

Aaron Murray Can't Do It All

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    Speaking of Murray, he can't be expected to carry the entire team, especially with the injuries they have suffered the last few weeks.

    He was able to get the Bulldogs back in the game, but when he needed his guys to make one more play, they did not come through. 

    Murray is one of the better quarterbacks in the country. But he needs his teammates to make a play when their number is called. 

J.J. Green Is No One-Hit Wonder

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    One of the good things to come out of the game for the Bulldogs is the play of J.J. Green.

    The freshman running back had another strong performance as he rushed for 87 yards on 12 carries. Green also was effective through the air, catching five passes for 42 yards.

    Green is not as fast as Marshall or as strong as Gurley. But he's a playmaker who is earning more playing time every time he steps out on the field. 

Brendan Douglas Brings a Different Element to the Run Game

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Keith Marshall, Todd Gurley and J.J. Green all have speed and quickness.

    Brendan Douglas is not fast like the three, but he brings a lot of power and toughness. 

    Douglas rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries and also had six receptions for 43 yards. 

    The Tigers had a hard time bringing Douglas down and he was a big reason the Bulldogs were able to fight back in the second half.

Ray Drew Is on Fire

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    One of the highlights for the Bulldogs' defense is the play of Ray Drew.

    The junior defensive end had two sacks in the loss against Missouri and now has five sacks through six games.

    Many Bulldog fans were wondering when Drew would emerge. Well, it looks like he's on his way and if he continues to keep up the high level of play, he will be an All-SEC player by season's end. 

They Need Todd Gurley and Michael Bennett Back in the Lineup

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The Bulldogs won't have all their injured players back by the end of the year because a few of them are out for the rest of the season.

    But they need Todd Gurley back in the lineup as well as Michael Bennett.

    Both players are key to the Bulldogs offense and having them back in the lineup would give them the boost they need on offense.

    Bennett can help the young and inexperienced receivers in the lineup. And having Gurley back will open up the offense in so many ways, keeping the other players from making the mistakes they did against Missouri. 

The Season Is Not over

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The Bulldogs' chance at a national title may be down the drain as of right now, but the season is not over by any means. 

    With the loss, the Bulldogs are one game behind the Tigers for the SEC lead, but Missouri still has to face Florida and South Carolina. So there's a chance the Tigers could lose one or both of those matchups.

    The Bulldogs can't afford to lose another game. It won't be easy as they still have to face Florida in a few weeks, but if they can limit the mistakes on offense, they can win the rest of their SEC games. 

    And if they can do that and win the SEC title, then they may have a shot at the BCS title depending on what happens with the teams in the top 10. 

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