Bulldogs outlast Hogs in offensive showcase
Teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense
FAYETTEVILLE For all that quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Joe Cox did with their arms, Saturday night's Arkansas-Georgia game came down to feet.
And the feet kicked it Georgia's way as the No. 23 Bulldogs and Cox outscored and outlasted Mallett and the Razorbacks, 52-41, in Arkansas' Southeastern Conference opener Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Down 49-41 and needing a touchdown and 2-point conversion to tie, the Razorbacks on their final meaningful possession were booted back to their 9 on Drew Butler's 64-yard punt. The Bulldogs then sacked the Hogs back to their 1-yard line, and the Razorback only netted a shanked 28-yard punt by Drew Breeding.
The Bulldogs ran clock for three plays before Blair Walsh's game-clinching field goal with 2:10 left sealed the Bulldogs' 52-41 triumph.
The loss dropped Arkansas to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the SEC heading into next Saturday's SEC West game at Alabama.
Georgia, 2-1 overall, advances to 2-0 in the SEC East.
Both teams' quarterbacks, Mallett and Cox, advanced to national passing prominence.
Mallett, the sophomore who transferred to Arkansas from Michigan, set a Razorback record, exceeding 408 passing yards in a game and threw five touchdowns while completing 21 of 39 throws without an interception.
Cox also threw five touchdowns completing 18 of 26 for 375 yards and one pick.
Three receivers exceeded 100 yards. For Arkansas, Greg Childs caught 5 for 140 yards and 2 TDs and Jarius Wright caught 4 for 108 and a TD, while Georgia's A.J. Green caught 7 for 137 and 2 TDs.
"It was a great game," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "A good battle with both quarterbacks playing well. We had a lot of chances to win the game, but I am disappointed in our defense and inability to run the ball. We're better than a year ago but we need to find a way to win. We had to settle for field goals, and we couldn't stop the run. And you can't say enough about Georgia. They are a good football team."
UGA's Richard Samuel netted 104 yards on 17 carries and Caleb King had 59 yards on 11 carries.
Arkansas' 21-10 first-quarter dream deteriorated to a down 27-21 nightmare at halftime that could have been worse.
Officials, after lengthy review, deemed Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs did not have sufficient possession for a complete pass, which negated Georgia cornerback Van Cuff touchdown return with :35 in the first half.
Still, the Bulldogs forced a punt on the incompletion, and got a big 28-yard, third-and-long pass from quarterback Cox to Green to set up Blair Walsh's 37-yard field goal as the half expired.
Walsh also kicked a 35-yard first-quarter field goal after Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was sacked by DeMarcus Cobbs and fumbled to Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran.
The ejection of Arkansas starting linebacker Jerry Franklin after a personal foul early in the second quarter coincided with UGA rallying from the 21-10 first-quarter deficit, first on Samuel's 80-yard TD run up the gut.
Also Green, last year's SEC receiving yards leader, bounced off a tackler to take a Cox pass for a 25-yard touchdown.
Arkansas linebacker Wendel Davis secured two first-quarter turnovers, one off a fumbled punt and the other off a bad Cox pitch that Samuel couldn't recover. Arkansas cashed in on both for two of Mallett's three first-quarter touchdown passes.
Mallet threw an 18-yard TD to Joe Adams after the fumbled punt at 12:33.
Cox tied it on a 21-yard TD pass to tight end Aron White after a 28-yard pass to Green.
Mallett struck for 48 and 30-yard TD bombs to Jarius Wright and Childs with the Childs' TD achieving the 21-10 lead with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.
Cobi Hamilton's 50-yard kick return off a handoff by return man Dennis Johnson preceded the one-play touchdown drive from Mallett to Wright.
With Michael Smith injured on his first carry and not carrying again until the second half, Arkansas had only 18 yards rushing at half while Mallett passed for 208 yards.
After running back Broderick Green was foiled on short-yardage, Mallett made a big running yard on a third-quarter, fourth down quarterback sneak to keep the drive alive. Mallett's 30-yard TD pass to Childs put Arkansas up, 28-27, with 9:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Cox put the lead Georgia's way with a 50-yard TD bomb to Tavarres King.
Green got stuffed again after a Mallett 30-yard pass to the Georgia 2, but Mallett threw a 2-yard play-action TD pass to tight end D.J. Williams on third down followed by Tejada's PAT for a 35-34 lead at 5:15 of the third quarter.
Cox got it right back with a 40-yard TD pass to Orson Charles with 4:34 left and went up 42-35 on Cox's 2-point pass to Green.
Georgia had tried twice previously to go for 2-point plays, but got penalized and had to kick those PAT's.
Mallett passed Arkansas to the Georgia 8, but offensive tackle Ray Dominguez's third false start penalty of the night compelled Petrino to settle for Alex Tejada's 23-yard field goal at 1:20 left in the quarter, cutting the Georgia lead to 42-38 in the third quarter.
Cox and Green made it 49-38 on a third-and-eight, 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:45 left in the game.
Again Mallett passed Arkansas deep into Georgia territory, but again the Bulldogs made a third-down stop forcing a Tejada 23-yard field goal instead of going for a TD and trailing 49-41.
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