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Arkansas-Georgia: Wrapping It Up

I'll throw in my random observations to add to Kevin's and Stephen's excellent commentaries on the Georgia game, then we'll put this one to rest.

* Toto, We're Not in (Ar)kansas Anymore: yes, that team was playing in Razorback Stadium and they had Hogs on the sides of their helmets, but that didn't look like any Arkansas offense that I'd ever seen (or dreamed of). Watching Ryan Mallett thread the needle with a blazing fastball to Joe Adams in the back of the end zone for a quick 1st quarter score was certainly an unusual sensation, but by the time we had unleashed the full aerial assault my mind was completely blown. The sight of a Razorback team with an unstoppable passing attack (and, ahem, an ineffectual running game) was downright surreal, and I really need more time to process it. It's not easy to unlearn a few decades of football expectations and understanding in a single weekend, you know.

* Sweet Sequence: the Dennis Johnson-to-Cobi Hamilton on the kickoff return that Hamilton ended up bringing to midfield, setting up that awesome 'go for the jugular' bomb to Jarius Wright on the very next play. I pretty much fell out of my chair at that 1-2 punch.

* Somewhere, in an Alternate Universe: just for a moment, imagine if the Hogs had not suddenly imploded with 3 straight personal foul penalties in the 2nd quarter. There we were at midfield, offense firing on all cylinders (to say the least) and already up 21-10. The defense had even just made a big play! It's still not clear to me what exactly Jerry Franklin did to deserve getting kicked out of the game (and no matter what it was, he has to be smarter than that) but it's quite obvious that was the turning point. The Hogs fought on after that, for sure, but we had our foot on our throat at that point and let up. You don't beat Georgia - or most other teams in the SEC, for that matter - with boneheaded self-induced screw ups like that.

* Painful Sequence: tight game, 3rd quarter, Georgia has 3rd & 3 in Arkansas territory. Hogs make what looks like a huge stop, but a late offsides flag on Georgia means they have to run it again. On 3rd & 8 it's the Hogs' turn to make a penalty, so we're back to 3rd & 3. The Hogs make a big defensive play and stop them cold. But, Georgia goes for it on 4th down and converts, then goes on for a huge score a couple of plays later. Too many chances...

* The Man Child: Greg Childs was pretty fantastic. His diving fingertip catch on the 1st quarter TD bomb and his vicious stiffarm to the Georgia defender as he fought his way into the end zone in the 3rd quarter were two of the best plays I've seen in a long while.

* Hot & Cold: one mystery that I'd like someone who knows more about football strategy than I do to explain is, what happened to Mallett? I mean, even at his worst in this game he still inspired a lot more confidence than any of our recent QBs, but he certainly wasn't the same player in the 4th quarter that he was in the 1st. Did Georgia change their strategy that dramatically? Did he just cool off? And which player is the *real* Mallett? I'd like to know.

* Trickery: loved watching D.J. Williams fake a fall to the ground, then get up to catch a wide-open pass and rumble about 30 yards down the field.

* Running on Empty: adding to the 'world turned upside-down' nature of the game is the fact that the running game, frankly, sucked. Throwing for 400 yards and 5 TDs is nice - in fact, it's awesome - but you still need to be able to run the ball at least a little bit to win. In particular, Broderick Green needs to step it up...watching him get absolutely stuffed on two straight goal line plays was nothing short of painful.

* Defenseless: I saved this one for the end, because really, what can you say? The defense was beyond horrible, and it wasn't just that Georgia scored a lot of points, it was that they scored them with virtually no opposition. How many times did we see a Bulldog player without any Hogs within 10 yards go strolling into the end zone? At least knock them around and make them work for their 52 points, guys. Ugh.