University of Arkansas true freshman tailback Darren McFadden rushed 31 times for a career high 192 yards and the UA defense knocked out a starting quarterback and certainly played better than it has been doing.
But when playing the No. 4 team in the country at their place, the Razorbacks needed just a little bit more.
No. 4 and undefeated Georgia (7-0, 5-0) had just enough to hold off 20-point underdog and upset-minded Arkansas at the end, taking a 23-20 win over the Razorbacks Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
Arkansas (2-5, 0-4) sprinted 67 yards in 6 plays late in the fourth quarter to pull within 23-20, a drive that took just 2:48 seconds and left the last-place team in the Western Division with a legitimate chance to beat the Eastern Division leader.
Key plays were Razorback quarterback Robert Johnson hitting Felix Jones with a 19-yard screen pass and Jones ran for 37 yards and then McFadden carried it the final yard for a score with 4:53 left in the game.
The Razorbacks - who outgained the Bulldogs 332-213 in total offense - got the ball back, but it was deep in Georgia territory and could not get into position for a game-tying field goal.
Johnson, expected to split time with at least one other quarterback during the contest, instead went the whole way and was 11-for-19 for 116 yards with an interception.
But most of those were low-risk passes as evidenced by the fact that running backs Peyton Hillis (5 catches, 41 yards) and Felix Jones (10 carries, 62 yards rushing and 3 catches for 43 yards) combined for 8 catches.
McFadden, whose 190 yards was the 12th-best rushing effort in school history, broke the freshman single-game rushing record of Darryl Bowles, who had 169 against Texas A&M in 1979.
His big day also pushed him the freshman leader chart for most yards in a season with four games still left in the regular season.
McFadden now has 682 yards, topping Cedric Cobbs' 668 in 1999.
Georgia had just 52 yards rushing in the game and less than 50 total yards in the second half.
The Bulldogs jumped on top on its first possession of the game by going 66 yards in its first 6 plays and just over three minutes.
The drive was culminated when D.J. Shockley hit Bryan McClendon for a 10-yard touchdown pass with Brandon Coutu adding the PAT for a 7-0 advantage.
Shockley was hurt and lost of the game midway through the second quarter with the score still the same, but Tim Jennings' interception of Johnson made for an easy entrance for backup Joe Tereshinski III, who would end up going 5 of 9 passing for 90 yards.
He only had to lead the Bulldogs 22 yards, which he did by hitting his first pass and then handing off to Brannan Southerland for a 1-yard score. Coutu's extra point pushed Georgia ahead 14-0 with 7:03 left in the second quarter.
McFadden sparked Arkansas with a 70-yard run in which he outran all 11 Georgia defenders for a score.
Chris Balseiro's PAT cut it to 14-7 with 4:55 remaining before halftime.
The Razorbacks then had the opportunity to tie the game, but ended up punting and left the home team enough time to get points of its own.
The big play was a 43-yard pass from Tereshinski to Sean Bailey that set up Georgia at the Arkansas 15 with 10 seconds left, enough time for Coutu to drill a 32-yard field goal o put the Bulldogs up 17-7 at intermission.
Georgia fumbled on its first play of the second half, but its defense stiffened and the Razorbacks had to settle for Balseiro's 43-yard boot to cut it to 17-10 with 12:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Tyson Browning's 52-yard kickoff return set up the Bulldogs at Arkansas 47, but the Razorback defense did its own stiffening and held Georgia to Coutu's 48-yard field goal that put Georgia ahead 20-10 at the 9:37 mark of the third quarter.
The Razorbacks then got it to within 20-13 on Balseiro's 35-yard field goal - the result of a drive that lasted over 5 minutes.
Arkansas then had a big chance to tie the game when Razorback cornerback Michael Grant - a Georgia native and one-time Bulldogs signee - intercepted Tereshinski at the Georgia 34.
An illegal procedure penalty on 3rd-and-2 was a killer and the Razorbacks ended having to settle for what would have been a career-long 45-yard field goal by Balseiro, but he was unsuccessful.
Georgia got itself a 23-13 lead soon afterwards after Peyton Hillis fumbled a punt and Coutu kicked a 28-yard field goal with just 7:41 remaining.
Arkansas has next week off before hosting South Carolina in Fayetteville on Nov. 5.
Darren McFadden (5) fights for yardage against Georgia.
Houston Nutt signals a play to the offense.
Vickiel Vaughn makes a tackle against Georgia.
Photos by Tom Ewart
Georgia 23, Arkansas 20
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