FAYETTEVILLE — On a night where offense reigned supreme, it was the visitors who came away with the top numbers as the Georgia Bulldogs outlasted the Arkansas Razorbacks in a 52-41 scoring marathon.
Georgia, 2-1, racked up 530 yards of offense led by a 375-yard passing night by quarterback Joe Cox.
Arkansas, 1-1, saw its sophomore quarterback Ryan Mallett tie and break school records but could not stop the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter.
The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense.
“We did a lot of good things on offense,but the thing we’ll learn from this is in a shootout you can’t take a play off, you can’t lose your focus on a single play,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “We didn’t run the ball well enough tonight.”
It was a record-setting night for Mallett who broke the school record with five touchdown passes in a single game as he broke the single-game passing mark with over 400 yards in the air.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Petrino said. “We just didn’t win enough points to win the game. We had too many penalties, too many blown assignments, we beat ourselves. We couldn’t keep up in the scoring battle. “
The sophomore from Texarkana hit 21 of 39 attempts without a single interception to rack up 408 yards and five touchdowns, breaking the mark of Clint Stoerner who had 387 against LSU on Nov. 28, 1997. It is his second consecutive 300-yard passing game as a Razorback.
“This team is a lot better than last year’s team, and that’s what we’re focused on,” Mallett said. “We lost the football game, and that’s what I’m worried about. If we executed better, we’d have made a few more third downs and things may have been different.”
The Razorbacks had two receivers over 100 yards as Greg Childs had five catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Neither team’s defense performed well as there was a single time in the contest where the respective offenses were held to consecutive three-and-out possessions.
“I’m very disappointed in our defense,” Petrino said. “We didn’t stop the run well enough and we let them throw for a lot of yards tonight. We didn’t get enough pressure in the four-man rush and we had assignment errors.”
Arkansas roared out of the gates, posting a pair of one-play scoring drives on the way to a 21-10 lead after the first quarter. Mallett hit three touchdown strikes to post the lead, opening with an 18-yard strike to Joe Adams.
Georgia’s Cox evened the score at 7-7 with a 21-yard TD pass of his own to Aron White.
Mallett had the first of his one-play drives, hitting Jarius Wright in stride for a 48-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead. The Bulldogs picked up a 35-yard field goal from Walsh to make it 14-10.
Mallett closed the quarter with a 30-yard touchdown to Childs for the 21-10 spread.
Georgia went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter starting with an 80-yard touchdown sprint by Richard Samuel. The Dogs backed it up with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Green from Cox to take their first lead of the game, 24-21. Walsh closes out the half with a 37-yard field goal to send the Dogs to halftime leading 27-21.
Mallett engineered an eight play, 66-yard drive capped with a 40-yard TD to Childs to put Arkansas back ahead, 28-27, at the start of the third quarter. Cox countered with a three-play, 65-yard drive to regain the lead, 34-28. The Bulldogs tried to get the two-point conversion for spacing, but a penalty forced UGA to opt for the PAT.
The Razorbacks returned fire with a five-play, 60-yard drive finished with a fourth-down touchdown pass to D.J. Williams for two yards. Alex Tejada’s kick made it 35-34 with 5:15 left in the third.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good on a 44-yard touchdown strike to Orson Charles. For the second time, Georgia went for two and again had a penalty. This time, Coach Mark Richt went for the long, seven-yard two point conversion which Cox got by lofting to the far corner of the endzone for Green.
Now leading 42-35, Georgia held Arkansas inside its own 20 and forced a Tejada field goal of 23 yards to end the third quarter at 42-38.
Cox took command of the final quarter, managing not only to make scores but take time off the clock. His 73-yard drive ending with another Green touchdown, this time 28-yards, put the Bulldogs two scores away from Arkansas, 49-38, with 10 minutes left in the game.
Arkansas managed a lone field goal the rest of the way as Tejada hit another 23-yarder with 7:21 left in the game. Georgia tacked on a final 31-yard field goal with 2:10 to play.
The attendance of 74,210 is the fifth-largest in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium history. It is the most since Oct. 25, 2008, when 74,168 watched Arkansas play Ole Miss.
Download: ark, uga football_ar02.pdf