COLUMBIA, Mo. - Although they downplayed it during the week, it turns out Sheldon Richardson's comment about Georgia playing "old man football" struck a nerve after all.
"It definitely made us mad, honestly," wide receiver Michael Bennett said. "It lit a little fire under our butts, and got us going. I'm just glad we outlasted them in the end."
Richardson made those comments to the Columbia media last week when first asked about the Bulldogs following their Week 1 victory over Buffalo.
The Georgia fans that made the trip didn't let him forget those words, either.
After the Bulldogs scored to go up 34-20 with just over seven minutes to play, a chant of "Old man football" cascaded down from the corner of the South end zone, filled mostly with Red and Black supporters.
"I didn't feel like an old man out there. I know we used it; it got a lot of our team going," kicker Marshall Morgan said. "We feed off of what the other team says. We put it up there, fed off of it, came out and did our best."
Mitchell makes first defensive start
Malcolm Mitchell wound up missing just the one game last week as he was well enough to start Saturday's contest, his first at cornerback after opening at wide receiver nine times in 2011.
"It was just good to be out there," said Mitchell, who was held out with a sprained ankle. "I felt pretty good."
Missouri quarterback James Franklin didn't shy away from testing the former Valdosta star. Franklin appeared to go right at Mitchell several times in the first half, but Mitchell held his own.
The only play he wished he could have back came when Mitchell fumbled a punt after picking up the football after it bounced off the turf.
"I was just trying to make a play, but I know I shouldn't have done that," he said. "It won't happen again."
Mixed bag for Morgan
Morgan certainly experienced both the good and the bad Saturday night.
"You might can say that," Morgan said.
Morgan's 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 was the longest for a Bulldog kicker since Blair Walsh connected on a 53-yarder at Oklahoma State in 2009.
However, the Ft. Lauderdale native missed an extra-point following Aaron Murray's 2-yard touchdown pass to Marlon brown later in the second quarter.
It was the first missed PAT since Walsh at Kentucky in 2010. Another extra point bounced off the cross board before falling through before Morgan responded again by kicking a 41-yarder to give Georgia a 27-20 lead.
"I kicked that 52-yarder and I guess I forgot about what I was supposed to do," Morgan said. "Fortunately, I forgot about those (extra-points) and was able to drill that 41-yarder."
Nose John Jenkins left the game late in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
The 350-pounder had to be helped off the field, but after the game Richt said it did not appear the senior was serious hurt.
"He seemed to be in good spirits after the game," Richt said. "He was walking on his own."
The Bulldogs did not appear to suffer any other significant injuries.
Fellow nose Kwame Geathers also appeared to get up, but not information was available after the game.
Dawgs survive four suspended players
While he was proud of his team for pulling out Saturday's game without the team's four suspended starters, Richt conceded he felt his team might have dodged a bullet.
"We didn't like it. We knew we'd be better off with four of our starters," Richt said. "But not just that, we still weren't sure about Malcolm's (Mitchell) ankle), and even Jarvis (Jones) pulled a muscle in the middle of the week and we were really worried. But the other guys rose to the occasion and played well."
Two of the suspended players - Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser - have now served their two-game suspensions and will be eligible to play in next week's game against Florida Atlantic.
The status of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree remains unknown.
"In camp we talked about it because there are personal regrets that go with these suspensions," Richt said. "Our goal was to not let it become a team regret and regress as a team because these guys were not able to play in this ball game."
This and that
Along with Mitchell at corner, freshman Todd Gurley made his first career start at tailback after Ken Malcome started last week's opener against Buffalo. Mitchell did not play last week while he recovered from a sprained ankle.
Sophomore linebacker Amarlo Herrera enjoyed a stellar night collecting 10 tackles, all in the first half. He also recovered a fumble.
Bennett's eight catches for 79 yards also represented career bests.
Murray now has 65 touchdown passes, the third-most in school history.