Shoeless Jones Almost Gets It Done

After throwing an incomplete pass on third down in the first quarter, Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones lost his shoe as he was forced out of bounds by Georgia defensive end David Pollack.

Jones, surrounded by Bulldogs players, calmly collected his black adidas and carried it across the field before lacing it back up on the Arkansas sideline.

As he jogged across the field, it was typical Jones. He was as nonchalant and cool as ever, but Jones clearly wasn't himself during Saturday's 20-14 loss to the Bulldogs.

Last week, Jones missed practice time after suffering a groin injury in the 38-20 loss at Auburn. Clearly still hobbled by the injury, Jones turned in one of his most courageous performances in his four seasons as a Razorback.

"He was in pain," said receiver Steven Harris. "It was impressive just him being out there, but he fought through. He's so resilient because he just loves to be out there."

Jones didn't want to use the groin injury as an excuse. He did strain his hamstring late in the fourth quarter on a play in which he fumbled inside the Arkansas 10.

"I was about 90 percent at the start of the game," Jones said. "(The hamstring) was bothering me the series before, but then, it really cramped up.

"They said it was because I was overcompensating for my groin, trying not to hurt it."

The Hogs' senior completed his first three passes and was 9 of 13 for 122 yards and a touchdown to lead the Razorbacks to a 14-10 halftime lead. He also ran four times for 28 yards (minus sack yardage), including a 36 yarder on an option keeper in which he used his speed to split a pair of Georgia defenders.

With the yardage, Jones surpassed Mississippi State's John Bond for the Southeastern Conference rushing record for quarterbacks. Jones now has 2,324 career rushing yards.

"(Georgia) probably has the best front four (defensive linemen) in the SEC," Jones said. "Our defense played great, it might have been our best defensive game all year, we just got to score some points for them."

On third-and-7 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Jones scrambled before being sandwiched between Pollack and DeMario Minter. Pollack stripped the ball and recovered a fumble at the Arkansas 8 which led to a field goal and a 20-14 lead for the Bulldogs.

This time, however, Jones was slow to get up and couldn't return. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Robert Johnson on the Hogs' ensuing series.

During the following defensive series, Jones was on the sidelines lobbying with Arkansas coach Houston Nutt for some time.

"I really wanted to be in there," Jones said. "But I told the coaches that I felt like I would be hurting the team if I went back out there.

"Robert was fully healthy, so I had a lot more confidence in him being in there."

Johnson was sacked twice and didn't complete a pass as Georgia's defensive linemen were able to pin their ears back more than they had all game.

"They knew I was going to pass, so they were coming pretty hard and fast," Johnson said. "I made some mistakes and have a lot of learning to do, but that comes with experience."

The courage Jones exhibited up to that point didn't go unnoticed by teammates.

"(Jones) was just fighting through it," said freshman receiver Marcus Monk. "I could tell he wasn't 100 percent, but he lasted a lot longer that I thought he could.

"He was hurting, but he still gave us everything he had."

As for Jones, he said the injuries shouldn't cause him to miss any playing time, especially with a week off before playing at South Carolina.

"We've got a week off so I should be all right," Jones said. "Now, we've just got to move on and try to get us four (wins) in a row."

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