No one discredited Georgia. No one said anything but good things about Joe Cox, the Georgia quarterback who averaged almost 21 yards on his 18 completions.
Still, in the Arkansas post game media conference, head coach Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Willy Robinson talked about what the Razorbacks did to beat themselves in a 52-41 SEC loss.
Cox completed 18 of 26 passes for 375 yards, but one of the UA leaders self destructed on his one miscue. Linebacker Jerry Franklin got two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for shoving his hand into the face mask of a Georgia player twice. Then, he bumped into the back of an official, earning him an ejection.
All of that happened at the end of the lone interception Cox threw, perhaps the only time the Hogs played the post route correct all night. Tramain Thomas did his job, playing deep centerfield for the interception. The Hogs should have had the ball near midfield holding a 21-10 lead.
It's hard to say which hurt the Hogs most, losing 30 yards in field position on a chance that ultimately resulted in a punt, or losing Franklin for the game.
"That hurt us," Petrino said. "The official said he didn't see Jerry bump into him. That is what disturbed me. It was a big play. We had a chance to go score and that backed us up 30 yards. We still had our chances, but that hurt."
Robinson said, "That swung the momentum. It came on an interception. You can't beat yourselves like that. It's a selfish penalty."
Franklin found Robinson on the field afterwards. He said something, then Robinson answered. What did they talk about?
"I just told him it was a hard lesson for him to learn," Robinson said. "I told him it should tell him how important it is for him to stay on the field."
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett had a record night and played brilliantly at times. But Petrino thought his bell cow "lost focus" when there were more TDs to be had.
"I don't know if it was so much focus as losing my technique," Mallett said. Later, he described it as "not getting his body aligned. That could have made a difference a couple of times."
Petrino said, "We are a better team, but not good enough to win a game like this. We had too many penalties, too many blown assignments that allowed (Georgia) to score quickly."
It was a tough night for the Arkansas defense after Franklin's ejection. They gave up big plays time after time. Robinson said he was "embarrassed, but not discouraged."
All you had to do was take a look at the defensive goal board in the team room where the media gathered afterwards to understand the embarrassment. Of the 12 goals on the chart, the defense got only a couple. The one that they failed biggest: three or less big plays (runs over 15 yards, pass plays over 20).
They actually came close on one of their big ones, to limit the Bulldogs to 3.9 yards or less per run. Because of Richard Samuel's 80-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter, Georgia's run game averaged 4.3. The Bulldogs made just 75 on their other 35 runs, almost the same as Arkansas on 24 runs.
"You take away that one long run and we did alright," Robinson said. "Unfortunately, it happened. You can't take any plays away. That was a big one and it really hurt. I'll have to look at the film to be sure, but I think we had two guys just flat out miss him.
"But it was a bad call by me. Put that one all on me."
Georgia's TD plays covered 21, 80, 25, 50, 44 and 28.
"We were in three deep zone at times and gave up big plays," Robinson said. "You can't give up the go route in a three deep zone. We are not doing something right there. Everything starts with the eyes. I think it was the eyes on every single one. The eyes go one place and the feet follow."
What did Petrino see from the UA secondary?
"It's hard to comment," Petrino said. "We gave up a whole lot of yards. We didn't stop them. They threw at will."
Robinson said, "We came out to take away No. 8. Then they threw to No. 7. We stopped that and then they went to No. 82. They took advantage of our matchup there. The quarterback, give him credit. We gave him some things on third downs he hadn't seen and he converted on that, too."
Hogs Self Destructed against Bulldogs
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