April 14, 2024

ATHENS, Georgia — All-American linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson fractured his left forearm in No. 2 Georgia‘s 30-21 victory over No. 12 Missouri on Saturday and will probably be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Dumas-Johnson was injured on the final play of the third quarter. He was wearing a cast and sling on the field after the Bulldogs’ 26th consecutive victory. When Georgia coach Kirby Smart was asked if Dumas-Johnson could play in games with a cast, he said X-rays showed a fracture that probably wouldn’t allow him to do it.

“I don’t think so,” Smart said. “It’s one of those where I doubt he’s going to be able to, but I don’t know.”

Dumas-Johnson, a junior from Hyattsville, Maryland, was a Butkus Award finalist and All-American while helping lead the Bulldogs to their second straight College Football Playoff national championship last season. He has started 24 straight games at one of the inside linebacker spots and has 34 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss and 3½ sacks in nine games this season.

Georgia hosts No. 10 Ole Miss at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, followed by road games at No. 17 Tennessee and Georgia Tech to close the regular season.

Sophomore Jalon Walker and freshman C.J. Allen played inside linebacker in the fourth quarter, along with the other starter, Smael Mondon. Walker had four tackles and 1½ sacks.

“They played before he got hurt and those guys have played all year, so we need those guys to keep coming and to grow up,” Smart said. “They’ve done a tremendous job. [I’ve] got a lot of respect for those young guys that work for this opportunity, and they go out there and practice every day as hard as they can and they’re really good football players. They’re very talented and they got thrown in the fire tonight more than normal.”

After the Bulldogs pulled ahead of the Tigers 27-21 on Peyton Woodring‘s 30-yard field goal with 8:59 left, Georgia’s defense provided two big plays to put Missouri away. The Tigers reached midfield, but then quarterback Brady Cook‘s pass to tight end Brett Norfleet was intercepted by defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse. Stackhouse, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound senior, said it was his first interception in any football game.

“All I could think about was trying to get to the end zone,” Stackhouse said. “It’s so unreal right now and hard to explain with words, but this is so exciting. Throughout my whole career, ever playing football, and playing football since I was 6 years old, I’ve never had an interception.”

Stackhouse ran 44 yards down the right sideline to the Missouri 5. His return was wiped out by Mondon’s illegal blindside block, which moved the ball back to the Georgia 30.

“It was slow motion,” Smart said. “We told him after the game we had to get the piano off his back. He said when he took off, he just knew he was going to score. He didn’t realize how far he had to run. He was out of breath about halfway.”

Stackhouse said receiver Ladd McConkey and injured tight end Brock Bowers joked with him about not lifting his knees while he was running. Stackhouse said someone on the sideline clocked him running 18 mph, but Smart wasn’t buying it.

“No chance,” Smart said. “He could maybe hit 18 mph on a bike or in a car.”

Stackhouse’s big play set up Woodring’s career-long 48-yard field goal with 3:57 left, which pushed Georgia’s lead to nine points. Then on Missouri’s next drive, safety Javon Bullard intercepted Cook’s overthrown pass down the right sideline to seal the victory.

It was Georgia’s 12th straight home win over a ranked opponent in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

“We’ve got a disciplined football team,” Smart said. “They do what we ask. We don’t get a lot of stupid penalties. They believe in each other. They believe that if they don’t win the last moment they’ll win the next moment. And if you win enough moments you can be pretty good, and we won enough moments tonight.”

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