-- Sadly, I'm on an insane deadline tonight, so the live blogging will be minimal -- likely at the end of each quarter.
-- If you weren't following me on Twitter today, you can go back and check out my updates from around Fayetteville HERE.
-- Erin Andrews spoke to me. Granted, she simply bumped into the Red & Black's Fletcher Page then accidentally said, "Sorry" to me... but still.
-- I must say, I love Arkansas so far. There's been a ton of funny stuff happen, but my favorite was just outside the stadium as a security guard made a guy in an SUV back up out of a blocked off drive. As the guy backed up, an Arkansas bus pulled up behind him. The security guard was yelling, "You're gonna hit the bus! That big white thing behind you! You're gonna hit a bus!" but he was pointing at the bus rather than saying "Stop" so it looked as if he was signaling the guy to back up. It was a hilarious situation that I really can't do justice to, but I assume it's quintessentially Arkansas.
-- I was at a restaurant for lunch to get a burger. My buddy sent me a text asking how the female situation in Arkansas was. I looked around, and the bar was mostly dudes, but there were a few pretty attractive young ladies, too. Then I looked around a few minutes later and it dawned on me... everyone, including the women, were UGA fans. I love Athens.
-- Akeem Dent did not travel with the team. That's a concern given Georgia's lack of depth at Sam LB and their problems covering the TE last week. Arkansas has a good one in DJ Williams.
OK, more updates later...
-- My weekly pregame instructions from Bernie Dawg: "Ok. This week...no undercooked chicken and how ever many beers you had last week. Peace, good will and Go Dawgs!!"
Done and done!
-- BTW, chicken fingers and mac & cheese in the press box. Simple, yet elegant.
-- And we begin the game with another touchback. Now I want you fans to take notice that it was the deepest Georgia has kicked the ball so far this game and Arkansas is starting with its best field position... all the way at the 20!
-- So far, the perimeter and underneath aren't looking like strong spots for the UGA defense. Where have I seen this before? Oh right, every game.
-- Reshad Jones' onslaught continues with an impressive hit to break up a pass on second down. I think he's taken some of last year's criticism to heart. He has hit HARD this year.
-- DJ Williams being helped off the field. Well, that might solve one problem.
-- Oh dear God. That was ugly. Miller got caught up with Brandon Boykin and Chad Gloer and the punt dropped to the ground, once again setting up the D with some bad field position. Georgia's turnover ratio this season: 7 to 1.
-- Arkansas punches it in on a pretty pass from Mallett to Joe Adams. Prince Miller was in coverage. Arkansas 7, Georgia 0 (4-34-1:44).
-- I'm not trying to knock Prince here, but what does it say that Brandon Boykin has started three games, and in the last two, defenses have shown Boykin significantly more respect?
-- Speaking of Boykin, another nice kick return for him. Georgia starts its first offensive drive at its own 41.
-- Beautiful pass from Joe Cox to AJ Green for a 29-yard gain. He definitely doesn't have Stafford's arm, but he can make the passes he needs to. That was pretty.
-- Rantavious Wooten on the field on third-and-six, but Cox throws a laser down the middle to Aron White for a touchdown. I think we can officially put to bed the "bench Cox" chants for a while. Georgia 7, Arkansas 7 (5-57-2:27).
-- Cobi Hamilton takes a reverse on a short kickoff and returns it to the 48. One player later, Bryan Evans gets burned by Jarvis Wright for a touchdown. Glad I took the over on this one. Arkansas 14, Georgia 7 (1-48-:19).
-- Wooten has already doubled his career reps. He was the decoy on a fake reverse that went nowhere.
-- Justin Fields out the rest of the game with a right shoulder injury. He's a special teams fixture for UGA.
-- Demarcus Dobbs hits Mallett in the backfield and focred a fumble recovered by Kade Weston. Rennie Curran walked off the field with the ball, however, after Weston fumbled the fumble. Nevertheless, Georgia ball at midfield.
-- Cox to a wide open A.J. Green to the Arkansas 22. Wonder if the Arkansas secondary still thinks A.J. is no different than any other receiver.
-- Caleb King's first carry of the game -- and the season -- goes for 5 yards.
-- Wooten is getting a ton of playing time so far. He's split out wide again with Moore in the slot. Doesn't matter as Cox telegraphs a pass to White down the middle that's broken up by Wendel Davis to force a FG attempt.
-- Walsh's kick is good from 35 yards. Arkansas 14, Georgia 10 (6-26-2:47)
-- Three kickoffs so far, all three deep, only one reached the end zone. Dennis Johnson returned it to the 30. Maybe Fabris is right.
-- Another nice stop by the defense, another turnover on the first play by the offense. A pitch to Richard Samuel is mishandled, and Arkansas recovers at the 30. The pitch looked good, but Samuel just dropped it. Once again, Mallett doesn't build the drama. He hits Greg Childs on the first play for a TD, beating Branden Smith. Arkansas 21, Georgia 10 (1-30-:06)
-- Georgia's turnover ration so far this season: 8 give-aways, 2 take-aways.
-- Have to admit, as bad as Georgia has played, Ryan Mallett has really shown he's a star in the making. His passes have been on the mark every time. This game could get ugly for the Georgia D if the Bulldogs keep giving Mallett extra opportunities.
END of First Quarter.
- And we now have turnover No. 3 for Georgia. On third-and-long, Cox had all day, but floated a pass down the middle intended for Tavarres King. Tramain Thomas stepped in front of the pass and picked it off. A flag moved the Razorbacks back 15 yards, so the pick was essentially as effective as a punt would have been.
-- Georgia's turnover ration this year so far: 9-to-2.
-- Man, Mallett is good. He throws a rocket down the far sideline for a Wright for a 31-yard gain. Georgia's secondary has just been awful so far, but to Mallett's credit, he hasn't missed a beat.
-- Another personal foul flag goes against Arkansas, which backs them up to their own 39. Georgia has really benefited from flags in these first three games.
-- Dobbs nearly had his second takeaway of the game, breaking up a lob over the middle, but he couldn't haul it in, bringing up 2nd-and-23.
-- Well, regardless of how bad this might get, Richt is probably going to avoid any criticism this week in the wake of Georgia's equestrian team losing its opener. Come on equestrians! What, is Willie Martinez training the horses now?
-- Arkansas starting OLB Jerry Frankin was just booted from the game. Bobby Petrino, as you might imagine, didn't agree and kindly offered some constructive criticism. He was subsequently flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving Georgia up to the 30 to start their drive.
-- Cox hits White down the middle yet again for a big gain, but a flag negates the play. Mallett has looked sharp, but oh my has Georgia thrown this game away in the first half.
-- Richard Samuel takes a handoff and isn't touched up the middle, sprinting 80 yards for a touchdown. I'd love to credit Samuel for a great carry, but there was no one near him on that play. Kudos to the O line. How Georgia is down just 4 is beyond me, but once again, glad I took the over. Arkansas 21, Georgia 17 (2-85-:45).
-- Walsh flirted with his first out-of-bounds kick of the season, but instead it bounced around the 3, just inside the sideline and rolled out of the end zone for a touchback. Directional kicking! It's the wave of the future! Woo-hoo!
-- You know what's crazy? Georgia could take the lead on this drive. How is that possible, as bad as they've played? But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Also of note -- Greg Reid had a pick-six for the 'Noles out in Provo.
-- The keys to this game so far can be summed up in two stats: Georgia has three turnovers and Arkansas has 15 rushing yards.
-- Marlon Brown in the game for the first time along with Caleb King, but Georgia takes a time out.
-- Interesting point by Ford in Athens: "Why does Fabris not rush a punt when we have Logan Gray in the game who the coaches have vowed not to let return a punt. I just see no reason why not to run some kind of punt block scheme when you have a punt returner in the game who has no chance of fumbling the ball because of a lack of coverage (as you cannot call get hit on a fair catch)."
-- Nice run by Caleb King, who picks up 11 yards to the Arkansas 39. This is what Georgia was missing offensively the past two weeks -- a legitimate counterpunch to Richard Samuel.
-- Georgia's second false start in the past four plays. I know Richt doesn't want to overreact to the flags, but these are the ones that should be avoided.
-- Jerico Nelson came free around the right side and Cox never stood a chance, sacking Cox for a 9-yard loss. But once again, a flag saves Georgia when the Razorbacks are called for offsides. Seriously, how many big plays against Georgia have been negated by whistles this year so far?
-- King goes up the middle for a short gain. Georgia goes for it on fourth down and Cox connects with Mike Moore for the first down. Great call by Richt to have enough confidence in his offense to go for it there. It will have to be demoralizing to Arkansas to go into the half trailing.
-- Cox to A.J. for a 25-yard TD. He hit Green at the 9, and Green simply bounced off a defender and took it out to the sideline and into the end zone. I am honestly astounded that the Dawgs are leading, but they are. Georgia 24, Arkansas 21 (10-75-7:11).
-- Mallett had Adams wide open near midfield but overthrew him by a touch. Man, Georgia's secondary needs to put the clamps down, I'm just not sure they can.
-- Georgia nearly had another takeaway and touchdown, but a review called it an incomplete pass. That was probably the right call, but I'm not sure there was enough on video to overturn the call on the field. Either way, Georgia's O has some time and Arky's kick was dismal. Dawgs set up with first-and-10 at the 47.
-- Cox hits Moore to the 33 with 28 seconds left but gets absolutely smothered on a blitz back to the 45 two plays later. Georgia's O line has been a mixed bag today, but Cox had to read that blitz and get rid of the ball quickly. Arkansas brought everyone.
-- Not sure why Georgia rushed that FG attempt. It was first down. They could have easily spiked it and taken their time. Nevertheless, a great catch by A.J. who was dominant in the first half and Georgia is miraculously going into the half leading 27-21.
-- Just a reminder that I have to have a complete game story written within about 11 seconds of this game ending, so we'll have just a handful of updates in the second half here.
-- Some interesting stats of note from the first half: First downs: Georgia 12, Ark 7; Total yards: Georgia 285, Ark 226; Rush yards: Georgia 113, Ark 18; Third-down chances: Georgia 3-of-7 (and 1-of-1 on 4th), Ark 0-of-5; Penalties: Georgia 6-43, Ark 8-83
-- AJ Green has five catches for 104 yards and a TD. So, he's just like every other receiver, eh?
-- Richard Samuel, 10 carries for 90 yards. Caleb King, five carries for 30 yards.
-- Ryan Mallett is 10-of-16 passing for 208 yards and 3 TDs.
-- Justin Houston has four tackles.
-- Arkansas actually cooks their hot dogs at halftime all the way through. I don't get it.
-- DJ Williams back on the field but drops his first chance at a reception. He makes up for it by converting Arkansas' first third down two plays later.
-- Boykin looked bad on that throw, and Mallett chalks up TD No. 4 for the game, tying an Arkansas school record.
-- Who's this Matthew Stafford everyone keeps talking about? Cox hits Tavarres King for 50-yard TD, the first of King's career. A holding penalty negated a two-point conversion by Cox to Mike Moore. Walsh connects on the kick instead. Georgia 34, Arkansas 28 (3-65-1:46).
-- We're less than halfway through the third quarter and there have already been 13 plays of 20 yards or longer in this game, with Georgia accounting for 8 of them. Who would have thought that after that first game in Oklahoma?
-- It's like a flashback to 2008. Georgia gets a big score, Walsh boots the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. Bet the over on UGA all year long, folks.
-- I don't know if we'll be able to say Georgia is playing "good" football all season, but man if they haven't played some exciting football. Hope everyone has low cholesteral, because the Bulldogs are going to give a few of you a coronary.
-- Oh, Boykin. Just an awful missed tackle that allowed D.J. Williams to pick up an extra 15 yards or so down to the 2.
-- After two nice stops on runs, Mallett rolls out of the pocket and finds D.J. Williams for touchdown No. 5 on the night. Arkansas regains the lead and Mallett sets a school record for touchdown passes. Arkansas 35, Georgia 34 (5-60-2:36).
-- Cox returns the favor with a 44-yard TD pass to Orson Charles for a TD. That's Charles first TD reception, as he joins Tavarres King in accomplishing that feat this week. Georga goes for 2 and there's yet another flag. Delay of game, but the Dawgs go for it anyway, and Cox hits a wide open A.J. Green in the back corner of the end zone. Georgia 42, Arkansas 35 (5-60-:41).
-- This is like the NBA All-Star game. There have now been 10 touchdown drives in the game. Only two have been for more than 5 plays. Here's the run-down: 4, 5, 1, 1, 2, 10, 8, 3, 5, 5. Five of those drives have been under a minute.
-- That's Joe Cox's fourth TD pass of the game, one off the school mark that D.J. Shockley tied against Boise State in 2005.
-- Vance Cuff taken off the field. Looked fairly serious. Not that Georgia's secondary has done anything that could be missed anyway.
-- Mallett hits Childs for 30 yards and there was NO ONE around him. Seriously, this defense is brutal.
-- Miguel --err, I mean Alex Tejada boots a 23-yard field goal to make it 42-38 Georgia. I can just hear Willie --- "We held them out of the end zone and I thought that was really good. Now we've just got to, you know, execute." Georgia 42, Arkansas 38 (8-65-3:14).
-- Outside of the 80-yard run on which no one touched Samuel, Caleb King has really been the more effective runner thgis game. Not that it matters when there's no reason to run.
-- Cox just missed another one to Tavarres King that was just off his fingertips, then King dropped an easy competion that would have been a first down on the next play. That was a bad time for a three-and-out.
That'll do it for the third quarter and for tonight's blogging. I'll try to post some notes later and have lots more tomorrow.
And call it a hunch, but I've just got a sneaking suspision that this game is going to come down to one big defensive play -- a pick on one side or the other. It almost has to, right?
Saturday, September 19, 2009