Two-Minute Drill: Georgia Outclasses Arkansas With First-half Explosion, 45-32


Jim gets one-on-one interviews with Hunter Henry and Trey Flowers, as well as some time with Martrelle Spaight and Brandon Allen. The last section of this is Bret Bielema’s press conference after the game and his comments. Below the clip you will find Jim’s complete Two-Minute Drill analysis.

The Razorbacks uncharacteristically lost their cool, then started turning the ball over in the worst possible places — all in the first half — and were down to Georgia 38-6 at the half, surrendering 31 of those points in the second quarter. Arkansas hasn’t given up that many points in the first half since trailing Southern Cal 42-10 in Los Angeles in 2005, but this was a lot more the result of a Razorback meltdown. Maybe the first sign that all wasn’t rosy was when John Henson got his extra-point blocked by a linebacker behind the Bulldogs’ line after the Hogs had marched 75 yards in 13 plays on the game’s opening possession. Georgia answered the 6-0 Arkansas lead with a hurried, five-play strike to cover 74 yards, all started by a 48-yard pass play to Chris Conley from Hutson Mason. Razorback cornerback Tevin Mitchel drew an unsportsmanlike penalty on a third-down incompletion that kept a Georgia drive going, and then true freshman running back Nick Chubb took over with touchdown runs of 43 and 3 yards. Then it really got bad: Alex Collins fumbled a quick pitch on the Hogs’ 7, leading to a one-play TD drive (mason to Michael Bennett), and the first sustained Razorback drive since the opening march ended when Brandon Allen was sacked on fourth down, coughed up the ball, and it was returned 54 yards by Dominick Sanders. The Hogs scored 13 points in each of the final two quarters to window-dress the final margin, but the game was over at the break.

Todd Gurley, Georgia’s standout running back who was suspended more than a week ago for allegedly receiving at least $400 for autographs, was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and the best back in the SEC before he was sent to the sidelines before last week’s Missouri game. True freshman Nick Chubb has done everything to make the Bulldog fans not fret Gurley’s absence with back-to-back great games. He carried 38 times for 144 yards in the ‘Dawgs’ 34-0 road blasting of Mizzou. Then it what was supposed to be hostile surroundings for the Bulldogs in Little Rock, Chubb one-upped his effort from last week with 202 yards on 30 carries, a 6.7 yards per carry average, and two second-quarter touchdowns of 43 and 3 yards. On the longer run, Chubb had a wide hole on the left side of the Georgia line and a Razorback linebacker failed to fill the gap; once Chubb got into the second level of the defense, he turned on the speed and ran away from the secondary. Arkansas did a better job on Chubb in the third period when the Razorback defense pitched three straight three-and-outs, but the Bulldog had plenty left in the tank in helping the ‘Dawgs run out the clock in the last five minutes.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said after the contest that he didn’t recognize his team in the first half when it began making a series of mistakes that the Hogs had avoided through six games, and especially in the past two SEC games when the Hogs were one changed play from winning  over Texas A&M or Alabama. Instead, Bielema watched Tevin Mitchel, a senior cornerback who had played well up to this point, draw an unsportsmanlike call against Georgia receiver Michael Bennett (taunting, apparently) in the second quarter, and it allowed Georgia to continue a touchdown drive. Senior linebacker Braylon Mitchell was tossed from the game later after being flagged for targeting with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Georgia quarterback Huston Mason. Arkansas was already down a starting linebacker in Brooks Ellis, who is out two weeks with a knee bruise. Later in the game, UA receiver Demetrius Wilson also was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty and risked ejection with another when he went after a Georgia defender. Throw in the fumble inside the UA 10-yard line by Alex Collins, and interception of Brandon Allen and then a fumble by the quarterback on a sack that turned into a 54-yard touchdown runback for Georgia, and the first half was a nightmare for Bielema and his club. Allen was intercepted in the second half on a deflected pass off the palm of Keon Hatcher, and the Razorbacks lost the turnover battle 4-0. Georgial is plus 9 in takeaways over the past two weeks with its improving defense, in fact.

When Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie took the second half kickoff to midfield through several futile tackle efforts by the Hogs (kicker Adam McFain finally made the stop that got him out of bounds) and Nick Chubb then barreled through a couple of tackle tries on first down, it looked for a moment like Arkansas might be tossing in the towel for the second half, down 38-6. But senior linebacker Martrelle Spaight showed from the very next play that he wasn’t done, making a big hit on Chubb, and the rest of the Razorbacks began to pick up on the senior’s efforts. Spaight was playing for only the third time (and last time) across the river from his hometown of North Little Rock. Spaight finished with three solo tackles and seven assists for 10 total tackles, second on the team. Spaight also had two tackles for 6 yards in losses. Josh Williams, thrust into a starting role with Brooks Ellis’ injury, led everybody with 14 tackles, including six solo stops.

Following its first touchdown to take the lead 7-6, Georgia attempted to keep possession with an onside kick that Arkansas’ Eric Hawkins recovered. At first thought, it appeared Georgia was worried about its defense being able to stop Arkansas after the Hogs had eaten up 7:59 of the clock on their first possession. The worry seemed to be unfounded, however. Arkansas started on the Georgia 45, but the ‘Dawgs brought intense pressure with great speed first from the outside (safety Damian Swann), and Hunter Henry recovered the fumble after a loss to 10 yards charged to Brandon Allen, then a 13-yard loss when strongside linebacker Leonard Floyd appeared to roar through the middle untouched, dropping Allen back to the Hogs’ 32. Allen also fell on the football and had to exit for a play. His brother, Austin, took his first meaningful SEC snap and wisely gave it off to Jonathan Williams for 11 yards. Nine of Arkansas’s next 10 snaps were close to awful: Williams gained 4, then 0 and fumbled but the Hogs recovered; A.J. Derby made a near superhuman-like reception at the Razorback sideline for 14 yards and a first down; Allen threw in complete; Alex Collins lost 1 at the middle; Allen missed Demetrius Wilson, forcing a punt ; Collins rushed for 4, then 3, and Allen was nearly picked after being hurried by Damian Swann, forcing a punt; Collins fumbled for a loss of 3 at his 7-yard line and Georgia recovered, scoring to lead 31-6. Jonathan Williams finally got loose for 24 yards and the first big gain for the Hogs since Derby’s amazing catch.

Jonathan Williams was noticeably trying to protect an injured left shoulder, but he still gained 108 yards, a lot of it on second effort, on 18 carries to lead the Razorbacks. As for receivers, tight end Hunter Henry stepped out in a big way with five catches for 92 yards and one touchdown. Keon Hatcher had five catches for 36 yards and an 8-yard touchdown in the third quarter, the Hogs’ first score since the opening drive. Henry, meanwhile, was wide open for the Hogs’ second score in the third quarter, working across the end zone all alone while Brandon Allen welcomed the blitz and got his arching pass away at the last second. Then in the fourth quarter, Henry flanked outside a couple of times and was able to work his way down the middle of the field for a couple of long catches, including a 38-yarder.

“I love the way they go about their business and handle themselves. But that first half we weren’t ourselves. First guy responsible is me. I told them in the lockerroom, that’s on me. I don’t know what we did differently. I liked the way we went out and scored on the first drive. We execute on first down very successfully and the result is you score. But the first thing, we give up a big play defensively. Our defense was on our heels.” — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema

Arkansas (3-4, 0-4 SEC) has its last nonconference game coming up next Saturday in Fayetteville as Alabama-Birmingham serves as the homecoming foe. Game time is 11 a.m. The Hogs return to SEC play on Nov. 1,  traveling to SEC West co-leader Mississippi State, ranked No. 1 in the country, in Starkville.

georgia Chubb


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,