Arkansas held a lead over No. 4 Georgia for two and a half quarters but turnovers and an exhausted Razorback defense allowed the Bulldogs to start the season 1-0, running Arkansas’ SEC losing streak to 20 straight games
The Hogs took the ball first and no surprise, Georgia’s defense forced a 3 and out with Arkansas punting from the 26. Behind rookie quarterback D’wan Mathis the ‘Dogs recorded a first down but were forced to punt from near midfield with Arkansas’ second possession starting on its own 9 yard line.
A pass interference call gave the home team its initial 1st down of the game at the 25. Feleipe Franks then delivered the first big play of the game for the Hogs on a 28 yard completion to DiVion Warren at the Georgia 44. Franks then handed Treylon Burks his first touchdown as a Razorback on a 49 yard bomb that put the Hogs up 7-0 with the point after.
Arkansas’ defense forced the ‘Dogs into a 3 and out after the kickoff and began its third possession on the 10 yard line. The home team quickly had to punt with Sam Loy booting a 40 yarder and Georgia set up again, this time at midfield. Aided by a holding call the Hogs’ defense forced yet another 3 and out and after another outstanding Georgia punt Arkansas set up shop inside the red zone again, this time at the 5.
A facemask call and a quick toss to Mike Woods moved the ball out to the 32. But Franks then threw his first pick of the season. Richard LeCounte returned the ball for 38 yards to the Ark 15 where Arkansas promptly returned the favor. Mathis was intercepted by Montaric Brown at the Razorbacks’ 5 for no return.
The Hogs were again forced to punt from near their goal line. George Caratan came on to boot a 57 yarder which Kearis Jackson returned all the way to the Arkansas 26. But a holding penalty moved the ball back to midfield as Georgia continued to shoot itself in the foot with mistakes.
Once again Arkansas’ defense stopped the visitors offense and again a wicked punt forced Franks & company to start near the goal line. Arkansas began the 2nd quarter on a 2nd and 7 from the 5. Franks appeared to get his team out of a hole with a 9 yard pass to Blake Kern but disaster then struck as T.J. Hammonds was hit and fumbled on a reverse. The ball went out of the back of the endzone and Georgia narrowed the lead to 7-2 on a safety.
Vito Calvaruso came on to kick the ball off on the free kick back to Georgia and he uncorked a massive 73 yard effort but in a classic case of out kicking your coverage Kenny McIntosh returned it 48 yards to the Arkansas 45. Again the Hogs defense came up big. Dorian Gerald sacked Mathis for a 17 yard loss to the Ark 42.
After another punt exchange Georgia changed quarterbacks. Stetson Bennett added some life to the ‘Dogs offense but when it counted the Hogs’ defense stepped up big again. Bumper Pool stopped Zamir White for no gain on 4th and 1 and Arkansas took over at its own 24.
Once again the ‘Dogs defense forced a 3 and out. A 50 yard Caratan punt backed Georgia up on its 19. After rushing for a first down Bennett was sacked by Pool and Dorian Gerald for a loss of 6 yards to the Georgia 25. This time Arkansas moved the ball to the ‘Dogs 42 before stalling out. The visitors began their last drive of the half from the Arkansas 25. Effectively using its one minute offense Georgia moved the ball to the Hogs 28 where Jack Podlesny missed a 38 yard field goal attempt but got a second chance when head coach Sam Pittman called a time out just before the snap. Podlesny made good on his second try for a halftime score of 7-5.
The Hogs defense continued to step up in the 3rd quarter. After catching a pass from Bennett, James Cook was hit by Jalen Catalon and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Myles Slusher and Arkansas was in business at its own 47. At that point the offense began to click behind a pair of first down catches by Mike Woods. But Georgia sacked Franks on 3rd and goal at the ‘Dogs 8. A.J. Reed connected on a 25 yard field goal for a 10-5 lead.
But Georgia’s offense finally got untracked at that point. Bennett took his team 57 yards on 6 plays throwing a 19 yard touchdown pass to George Pickens and running in a two-point conversion for a 13-10 lead.
Arkansas went three and out and Georgia got a piece of Caratan’s punt to start its next possession at the Arkansas 24. It took just 4 plays for the ‘Dogs to score. Bennett hit John FitzPatrick for a 7 yard touchdown and a 20-10 lead with the point after.
Franks then served up a pick six and the score zoomed to 27-10. Yet another pick, this one thrown by Burks, set Georgia up again. This time they went 81 yards in 13 plays against an exhausted Arkansas defense for a 34-10 Bulldogs lead.
Georgia added a late field for the final 37-10 score.