To compete in the SEC you have to hit, and hit hard. Mizzou has embraced that mentality in their second season in the league, and have reaped the rewards as a result.
Michael Sam provided the first big hit in the Tigers’ 41-26 victory over Georgia. Sam beat his blocker to the outside and pummeled Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray as he threw, forcing an underthrown incompletion.
On a Georgia punt, Eric Waters took the saying “play until you hear the whistle” to heart. He he sprinted 35 yards to lay out a Georgia special teamer after Marcus Murphy signaled for a fair catch.
Kentrell Brothers, the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, was all over the field on Saturday. In addition to his interception, sack and 10 tackles, Brothers played a huge part in Mizzou’s constant push up front that slowed down the Bulldogs’ dynamic passing and rushing attack. In the play featured above, the linebacker levels the blocking fullback, forcing the running back to change direction to the right, where he is met by a pack of Tiger defenders and tackled for a loss.
Brothers made his presence felt again when he leveled a streaking tight end and sprinted towards the intended receiver, who dropped the ball after hearing the linebacker’s footsteps fast approaching.
Shane Ray delivered the biggest blow of the game when he blindsided Murray and forced a fumble at Bulldogs’ own 20-yard line. Sam scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 28-10 lead and momentum before the end of the first half.
Andrew Wilson was another big reason why Georgia’s rushing game was stymied all afternoon. On one particular run, the Georgia ball carrier thought he found a hole up the middle. But that hole was immediately plugged by Wilson, who drove the running back into the turf before he could gain an inch.
On the next big hit, Markus Golden simply out-muscles his blocker and drives him backward. His strength and explosiveness brought him face-to-face with Murray, who he sacked for a big loss.
Freshman Harold Brantley did his part to make the Georgia quarterback uncomfortable as well. Lined up on the right side, Brantley doesn’t see an opening, so he reverses, curls around the left edge, and hurries Murray into throwing a crucial interception.
Evan Boehm and Max Copeland reminded us that not all big hits happen on the defensive side. Copeland’s pancake helped pave the way for Marcus Murphy’ 36-yard, highlight-reel touchdown run, and Boehm’s gave Maty Mauk and Bud Sasser time to execute the game-changing screen pass that Mizzou fans will never forget.
And last, but certainly not least, the special teamers got in on the action one more time when Michael Scherer and Kyle Peasel stopped two pursuant Bulldogs in their tracks on a second half kick-off. Their effort didn’t have any impact on the touchback, but it serves as an example of the heart and high motor that the Tigers bring on every single play.