ATHENS, Ga. – 13th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated Mississippi State Saturday night 31-24 under the lights of Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in front of a crowd of 20,524 and a national television audience on SEC Network.
In his Georgia debut, quarterback JT Daniels made 28-of-38 passes for a 401-yard career. Daniels became Georgia’s first quarterback to go through 400 yards from Aaron Murray against Auburn in 2013.
Daniels ’target was freshman Jermaine Burton counting career bests with eight catches, 197 yards, and two touchdown catches. Sophomore George Pickens also added a touchdown catch, one of eight total catches for 87 yards. As a team, Georgia’s 401 passing yards have been a season high, above the 269 mark against Alabama. .
Defensively, sophomore Nakobe Dean totaled 12 tackles to lead the team. Former Mark Webb took a career-high nine attacks Saturday.
The Mississippi State (2-5, 2-5 SEC) jumped off the table at the opening of the game with a 22-yard field goal from junior Brandon Ruiz. The opening goal from Mississippi State took just over eight minutes of the hour to start the game while MSU found themselves with a 3-0 lead.
The first quarter ended with MSU in Georgia 3-0.
All five units (three Georgia units, two Mississippi states) in the second quarter finished with one point for each team.
In the sixth game of the fourth, Daniels connected with Pickens on an 8-yard touchdown pass for Daniels ’first TD pass as a Bulldog. It was Pickens ’third TD catch of the season. A successful PAT put Georgia (5-2, 5-2 SEC) ahead 7-3. Georgia’s scoring drive took 5:14 and ran through 69 yards.
The Mississippi State responded by putting together a 14-play, 75-yard, 7:04 drive concluding with a 6-yard touchdown from senior Osirus Mitchell to put MSU ahead 10-7 with 5:24 to play in the half opening.
Daniels threw Georgia’s next pass with a 49-yard pass to Burton. The game surpassed Burton’s catch of the previous season of 36 yards in Alabama. Mississippi State managed to stop Georgia after the big game and the car ended with a 41-yard field goal off redshirt-sophomore Jack Podlesny to tie the game at 10 all.
A 51-yard catch-and-run from new MSU Jaden Walley in the end zone on the responding disc gave Mississippi State the 17-10 advantage.
Georgia’s next win started with just 1:22 to play in the half. Daniels went back to Burton, this time completing a 46-yard pass in the first year to put the Bulldogs in MSU territory. An 18-yard TD pass, once more to Burton (his second of the season), tied the game at 17-17 with just 30 seconds to go. The point was as the two teams went to the locker rooms at the break.
At the time, Daniels had completed 13-of-17 passes in his Georgia debut for 204 yards, of which 149 were completed by Burton in seven catches, already a season high in both for him.
Georgia started the second half with the ball. In the second straight on MSU territory, Daniels went and passed a 48-yard pass to Burton in the end zone for the second catch of the night from Burton TD. After the PAT, Georgia led 24-17.
Once again, the Mississippi State responded with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive, this time completing the sequence with a 3-yard run from freshman Dillon Johnson in the end zone to tie the game at 24 in. the third quarter.
The third quarter ended with the game tied 24-24.
Georgia regained its lead at 31-24 with 9:50 to play in the game on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Kearis Jackson, the first red freshman, the fourth TD pass of the game for Daniels, a new career. The game also made Daniels ’career high the best with 370 passing yards at the moment.
Next, Georgia will travel to the streets of Columbia, South Carolina for a meeting with the South Carolina Gamecocks next Saturday, November 28th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on SEC Network.