ATHENS, Ga. -- With Georgia’s 41-20 win at Missouri finished, the seventh-ranked Bulldogs have cleared their first big hurdle in the SEC East race.
All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who occupied the top spot last week in our inaugural UGA power rankings, cemented his position by taking over in the fourth quarter against Missouri. But there are some new faces in the rankings, which we’ll update each week to reflect the key players’ performances.
Here is the list after two games:
1. Jones: The junior wrecked back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter against Missouri, first intercepting a pass and returning it to the Tigers’ 1-yard line and then forcing a fumble that Jordan Jenkins recovered at the Missouri 5. Jones has played 16 games at Georgia and is establishing himself among the best defensive players in program history.
2. Aaron Murray: He was not great in the first half of the Missouri game, but he showed in the second half how dangerous he and the offense can be when they get in a rhythm. He played one of the best halves of his career against the Tigers, going 12-for-18 for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
3. Shawn Williams: Williams is one of the Bulldogs’ biggest hitters and biggest instigators. Aside from Jones, if anybody did a good job of making the Tigers hear footsteps, it was Williams, who never hesitates to blast a blocker or ball carrier and then let him hear about it while he’s picking himself up off the turf.
4. Tavarres King: King made one of the biggest plays to help snap the Bulldogs out of their early offensive funk. His 34-yard catch and run on a screen pass set up a touchdown late in the second quarter. He also caught a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter that helped Georgia tie the score at 17.
5. John Jenkins: Missouri rushed 39 times for just 102 yards, and a big reason it struggled was that the Jenkins-led defensive line didn’t give much ground. The Tigers are generally balanced with their spread offense, but Jenkins -- who made five tackles and one for a loss -- helped force them to become one-dimensional.
6. Todd Gurley: The freshman didn’t repeat his eye-popping performance from Georgia’s season-opening win against Buffalo, but he once again made good things happen with his powerful style of running. He started for the first time and led the Bulldogs with 65 rushing yards -- 44 on a key carry in the fourth quarter -- and a touchdown.
7. Cornelius Washington: The senior defensive end/outside linebacker has quietly made an impact on the edge of the Bulldogs’ defensive front. He helped harass Missouri quarterback James Franklin and led the team with 2.5 tackles for loss along with five tackles.