FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)—Georgia moved the ball with ease and clamped down on Arkansas’ short-handed offense. The Bulldogs also hurt themselves with penalties, turnovers and missed kicks.
They preferred to concentrate on the positives.
“I was thankful for the victory,” coach Mark Richt said after No. 10 Georgia beat Arkansas 20-14 on Saturday night. “We could beat ourselves up, or we could just be happy with the win. We were extremely frustrated with the (missed) field goals and the fumbles, but there is no time to cry.”
David Greene threw for a career-high 382 yards and two touchdowns, Fred Gibson caught six passes for 169 yards and a touchdown and Reggie Brown had seven receptions for 107 yards. Thomas Brown rushed for another 107 yards for Georgia (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference).
The Bulldogs let Arkansas stay in the game with two lost fumbles, nine penalties for 80 yards and two missed field goals.
Greene, who was 22-for-29, said he was surprised that Georgia scored only 20 points on 513 yards total offense.
“It’s almost impossible to do that these days,” he said. “We found a way to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Arkansas’ offense lacked much of its punch, with quarterback Matt Jones hobbled by a groin injury. He played most of the game, but the Razorbacks had just 278 yards total offense. They fumbled the ball four times, losing it twice, and were scoreless in the second half.
Jones was 12-of-21 for 181 yards passing with a lost fumble and 21 yards rushing. He could not live up to his reputation as a dodging, evasive runner and was hounded in the backfield by Georgia, which sacked him twice and forced him to throw the ball away several times.
“He was pretty close to full speed at the beginning of the game, but at halftime he wasn’t the same,” said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. “I thought we could still win it in the fourth quarter, even with (Robert) Johnson in there.”
Johnson was 0-for-2 in relief of Jones.
Arkansas (3-4, 1-3) led 14-10 at halftime. But DeCori Birmingham fumbled on an option in the third quarter and it was recovered by the Bulldogs’ Derrick White, who returned it 8 yards to the Arkansas 34. Five plays later, Greene hit Leonard Pope for a 10-yard touchdown pass to take a 17-10 lead.
Andy Bailey added a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the winning margin.
Bailey was wide from 31 yards with 2 seconds left in the first half and, later, from 46 yards out. And on their first drive of the second quarter, Georgia had first-and-goal at the Arkansas 7 and moved the ball to the 1-yard-line in three plays. But tailback Danny Ware was gang-tackled on fourth down one foot shy of the goal line.
Georgia turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage when Greene hit Brown at the Arkansas 27 and safety Lerinezo Robinson forced a fumble. Darius Vinnett recovered and returned the ball 4 yards for the Razorbacks. Arkansas drove to the Bulldogs 7, but Chris Balseiro missed a 24-yard field goal attempt.
On their next possession, Arkansas drove to the Georgia 17, where Jones hit Marcus Monk in double coverage for a touchdown.
Georgia then got on the scoreboard with a 59-yard drive on eight plays, the last a 31-yard field goal by Bailey.
Georgia took a 10-7 lead with 3:21 left to play in the half, taking over on the 50 and driving to the Razorbacks 5 before Greene completed a slant pass to Gibson for the touchdown.
The defense answered for Arkansas. With Georgia facing third-and-2 from their own 25, defensive end Jeb Huckeba sacked Greene, who fumbled while trying to unload the ball. End Marcus Harrison picked the ball up and ran it in 18 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead with 1:29 to go in the half.
“We felt like we were in it the whole game,” Birmingham said.