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Turnovers key to title game

Arkansas, Georgia's opponent, is the SEC's leader in turnover margin and rank second in the country with a +21 margin. That averages out to almost +2 turnovers for the Hog per game, an amazing statistic.

There is little doubt that turnovers the key to upsets. And with Georgia as a 9-point favorite for this Saturday's SEC Championship game, the Dawgs are concerned about the turnover war.

"Turnovers are always the first key to the game," explained Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. Richt led Georgia to its first appearance ever in the SEC Championship game this season.

Arkansas, Georgia's opponent, is the SEC's leader in turnover margin and rank second in the country with a +21 margin. That averages out to almost +2 turnovers for the Hog per game, an amazing statistic.

Arkansas has been winning the turnover battle with a balanced attack on both sides of the ball. The Razorbacks offense has lost only 5 fumbles on offense all season long, less than half of Georgia's 12 lost fumbles.

While the offense has only given up a total of 15 turnovers all season long, the Hog's defense has produced turnovers by the boatload. The Razorback defense has caused 36 turnovers (17 recovered fumbles and 19 interceptions) in 2002.

Richt and the Dawgs are a little envious of Arkansas' ability to win the turnover war. Georgia ranks 5th in conference and 35th in the nation in turnover margin with + 6.

"If one team has more turnovers than the other," Richt said, "you can just about count on that team losing."

A positive for Georgia is that almost half of the Hogs' forced turnovers came against Boise State (7), Troy State (4), Louisiana-Lafayette (4), and Mississippi State (2). Those teams have a combined 21-27 record.

Dean Legge can be reached here: dean@dawgpost.com


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