ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia quarterback David Greene made big throws against the Hogs' man-to-man coverage to lead the Bulldogs to a 34-23 victory Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.
Arkansas came up with its highest point total since the middle of last season, thanks to Marvin Jackson's 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Hogs' offense improved in the passing game, but could produce only a field goal in the second half as the Bulldogs pulled away.
The Hogs fell to 1-3 on the season and 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia, which had not played in three weeks because of an open date and a postponement, is 2-1 and 1-1 in SEC play. Arkansas plays host to Weber State on Oct. 6 in Fayetteville in a makeup game.
Georgia faced only one third down in driving 72 yards in nine plays to start the game. A holding penalty in the secondary on what would have been an incomplete pass on that lone third down, a third-and-14 at the UA 34 was the only time the Hogs looked close to slowing the Bulldogs. David Green had completions of 18 and 16 to start the march. The Hogs had three consecutive penalties in the middle of the march, two for jumping offside in the middle of the line. Jasper Sank carried for six and two on the final two plays to make it 7-0.
Arkansas answered with a 7-play, 78-yard march that was as impressive as the Bulldogs' opening drive. Zak Clark found Nathan Ball on a bootleg for 16 on the first play, then checked to a sideline route to George Wilson for 31 on the third play. He hit Richard Smith on a bubble screen for 14 to convert third-and-9. Brandon Holmes, stuffed on his first three carries, circled his right end for the final 7 yards to make it 7-7 with 10:23 left in the first quarter.
Georgia was three-and-out on its next two tries, the resulting field position gave the Hogs the ball at their own 49-yard line. Arkansas marched 32 yards in nine plays to take a 10-7 lead on Brennan O'Donohoe's 37-yard field goal. Clark scrambled to find Richard Smith for completions of 8 and 17 yards to move the chains twice. The Hogs stalled at the 19-yard line when Clark scrambled for 1 yard on third-and-11.
Georgia responded with Billy Bennett's 55-yard field goal that had plenty of distance to tie it at 10-10 with 1:09 left in the quarter. Reggie Brown's 35-yard kickoff return to the UG 37 started the march. Musa Smith rolled 16 yards on the second play, before the Hogs shut down the Bulldogs at the UA 38-yard line.
Arkansas had to start from its own goal line on its next possession. Lawrence Richardson dropped the kick, and only could make it back to the 15-yard line. The Hogs fell back to the 5-yard line when Nathan Ball and Shannon Money jumped on consecutive plays. The Hogs would convert that second-and-20 when Holmes made 12 and the screen to Smith went for 9 yards. But, the Hogs made only 3 yards on a third-and-5 pass to Holmes and had to punt.
Georgia then turned up the heat in the passing game, streaking 70 yards in five plays for a 17-10 lead. Green hit five straight passes in the drive, the final one for 7 yards and the TD on a screen to Terrance Edwards. Arkansas safety Ken Hamlin protested that Edwards was down just short of the goal line, and bounced across the goal line on the third-down play.
The Hogs turned to their passing game to march to the Georgia 4-yard line before settling for O'Donohoe's 21-yard field goal with 8:37 left in the half. With Georgia playing eight men in the box, Clark had man-to-man coverage and took advantage with sharp passing. The Bulldogs helped with two pass interference penalties. Clark hit George Wilson for 22 yards for the big play. He also had two passes dropped in the drive. On third-and-10 from the 11-yard line, Matt Jones, lined up at quarterback in the shotgun, took it 7 yards to the 4-yard on the draw. O'Donohoe's chip shot reduced the Georgia lead to 17-13.
Georgia got that trey back with a nine-play, 68-yard march to the UA 7-yard line. Bennett was good on a 24-yard field goal to make it 20-13 with 5:05 left in the half. Green had back-to-back strikes of 18 and 25 yards, both on play-action, for the big plays in the drive.
Both teams suffered pass interceptions in the closing minutes, with Georgia getting the last chance. Bennett's 55-yard field goal on the final play of the half was a knuckleball and hit at the 15-yard line and was short to leave the halftime score at 20-13.
The Hogs got even on Marvin Jackson's 74-yard punt return for a TD, the first such play by the Hogs since 1992 when Orlando Watters did it against Tennessee. Tony Bua, who almost blocked Jonathan Kilgo's punt, got the last block. Jackson's cutback at the outset set up the wall.
It took Georgia less than two minutes of game clock to answer with the go-ahead touchdown. Green had completions of 18, 15 and 15 on the drive. A pass interference penalty against Eddie Jackson at the goal line on third-and-6 gave the Bulldogs the ball at the UA 2-yard line. Muse Smith powered over on the next play to make it 27-20 with 7:30 left in the second quarter.
The next sequence was the oddest of the game. Georgia actually tried three field goals, missing two and making one. One of the misses was nullified by an Arkansas personal foul. The made field goal was nullified by a procedure penalty against the Bulldogs. Finally, Bennett's 32-yarder ... with no penalties ... hit the right up right and was no good.
The Hogs took advantage of two big penalties to drive to O'Donohoe's 31-yard field goal to make it 27-23 with 11:11 left in the game. The Hogs went 67 yards in 15 plays for their points. One of the penalties was huge. It came after Clark caught his own pass on third down, losing 10 yards. But the Bulldogs brought him down by the face mask and it cost them almost 30 yards and a first down since it was a 15-yard penalty from the previous line of scrimmage. The other penalty was for holding.
A 40-yard kickoff return on what was a short kick by David Carlton gave the B