COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jacob Eason threw a 20-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with 1:29 remaining Saturday night, rallying No. 16 Georgia to a 28-27 victory against Missouri.
On the next play after the Eason touchdown pass, Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore caught a 18-yard pass but fumbled at the Tigers’ 48-yard line, and Juwuan Briscoe recovered for the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 in the SEC).
That was the fourth second-half turnover for Missouri (1-2, 0-1).
Drew Lock threw three touchdown passes, including a 6-yarder to J’Mon Moore early in the third quarter that appeared to be the game winner for Missouri until Eason’s dramatic TD pass.
Cam Hilton’s interception of Eason with 13:59 remaining in the third period gave the Tigers a first-and-goal at the Georgia 6. On the next play, Lock hit Moore on a slant in the end zone. Moore finished with eight receptions for 196 yards and two TDs.
Missouri was gunning for its first victory against a Top 25 opponent since defeating then 25th-ranked Minnesota 33-17 on Jan. 1, 2015 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
Georgia struggled in the kicking game when William Ham missed 23- and 38-yard field goals — each wide left — in the second half after interceptions of Lock, but found a way to win, driving 80 yards in 10 plays for the winning TD.
Eason and Lock staged a passing clinic during the first half, which ended with Georgia clinging to a 21-20 lead.
Eason completed 18 of 28 opening-half passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns while Lock was 19 of 29 for 322 yards and two TDs, including a 79-yarder to Moore that gave Missouri a 20-14 lead with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.
But the Bulldogs countered with a five-play, 74-yard drive to take the 21-20 halftime lead. Eason capped that drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with 1:43 left in the second quarter.
McKenzie scored on a 6-yard run after Missouri raced to a quick 10-0 lead, including Lock’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Jason Reese. Tucker McCann kicked field goals of 33 and 46 yards for the Tigers.
Eason’s 2-yard, second-quarter touchdown pass to Christian Payne gave Georgia a brief 14-10 advantage before Missouri scored the game’s next 10 points.
Missouri’s 40 first-half plays produced 343 yards, and Georgia ran 47 opening-half plays for 250 yards. Georgia’s 6-for-9 on third-down conversions helped the Bulldogs possess the ball for 18:59 during the first 30 minutes.
NOTES: Since joining the SEC in 2012, Missouri entered Saturday night’s game 2-2 in conference openers, including a 21-13 loss last season at Kentucky. … When the Tigers scored 61 points in a Sept. 10 victory against Eastern Michigan, it was more points than Missouri had scored in its previous six games combined. … When Drew Lock passed for 450 yards against Eastern Michigan, it was the third-highest total in school history. … Beginning with the 1992 season, Georgia opened SEC play against South Carolina every year except 2012, 2015 and Saturday night. … Before closing with three consecutive home games in Athens, the Bulldogs play six of their first nine on the road or at a neutral site. … Entering Saturday’s game, Georgia was 4-1 all-time against Missouri, including a 1960 Orange Bowl victory.