Murphy’s Law states “anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” and it was on full display for the No. 8 Arkansas football team Saturday inside Sanford Stadium. Mistakes and miscues only added fuel to the fire as the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs humbled the Hogs between the hedges, 37-0.
Coming into the game, the Razorback defense had not allowed a touchdown to an opposing team in the first quarter this season. That quickly changed as the Bulldogs’ offense drove down the field with ease, and running back Zamir White punched it into the endzone to give them an early 7-0 lead.
Georgia then went on a methodical 12-play, 56-yard drive that resulted in another touchdown for a 14-0 lead. On the ensuing Arkansas drive, the Bulldogs blocked junior Reid Bauer’s punt and recovered it in the endzone to go up 21-0 late in the first quarter.
The Arkansas defense had no answers for the Georgia rushing attack as it piled up 273 yards on 57 carries, continually slicing through the defense at a clip of 4.8 yards per carry.
“Kirby had his team ready to play and I didn't,” Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said after the game. “That’s the bottom line.”
Arkansas was shell-shocked to start the game, continually shooting itself in the foot in a first quarter that saw almost as many penalty yards as total yards. The Hogs faced a 21-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, and after a relatively quiet second quarter, Arkansas went into the locker room trailing the Bulldogs 24-0.
Miscues continued to mount in the second half, as the Razorbacks constantly struggled to move the ball. The offense only mustered 162 total yards and did not sniff the endzone once. The most proficient drive ended at the Georgia 20-yard line with freshman kicker Cam Little’s first missed field goal attempt of the season.
“Obviously the noise played a big factor in the first half,” redshirt senior tackle Dalton Wagner said. “We made too many mistakes, there’s no excuses for it.”
The Razorbacks managed to gain just five first downs, and were 3-12 on third down conversions. Any positive play was seemingly followed by a penalty that killed any sort of momentum they may have had. They were flagged 13 times for 101 yards.
“I really have no idea,” Pittman said of the solution to the penalty plague. “We practiced (being disciplined). I have no idea why they jumped offside, I’m not a mind reader.”
The loss was the first time Arkansas has been shut out since losing 52-0 to Alabama on Oct. 19, 2013. Though Georgia dealt the Hogs their first loss of the year, it is still the best start to a season since 2016.
“(Pittman’s) entire message was we can’t let one loss turn into two,” Wagner said. “Our goals are still our goals. This loss has nothing to do with changing those goals.”
The Razorbacks will get their chance at redemption when they travel to Oxford, Mississippi, next Saturday to take on the No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels. The game is scheduled to kick off at either 11 a.m. on ESPN or 2:30 p.m. on CBS.