While Arkansas is assuredly better than its recent incarnations — 3-7 last season, 2-10 before that and 2-10 before that — the Razorbacks’ performance on Saturday signals that Arkansas is not back to being a power reminiscent of the Frank Broyles era. Indeed, the team’s evisceration on Saturday probably did more to fuel questions about the strength of Texas A&M, a preseason playoff contender that lost by 10 to Arkansas last month, than it did to herald the start of a dynasty, or even something much more modest, in Fayetteville.
Arkansas did, however, win the coin toss.
The Razorbacks deferred until the second half and, after a touchback, invited Stetson Bennett, Georgia’s second-string quarterback, to trot out in the place of JT Daniels, the injured signal caller who had started for the Bulldogs against Clemson, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
The snap came from the 25-yard line. Bennett, who averaged under 7 yards per carry last season, kept the ball and sped toward his right, nearly picking up a first down. The next play brought the next offensive outburst, this time with the arm of a running Bennett: a 16-yard pass to Ladd McConkey, a redshirt freshman who caught it as two Arkansas defenders drew close a step or two too slowly.
When Georgia’s drive at last looked ever so slightly imperiled — the Bulldogs faced third-and-1 — the tailback Zamir White zipped through for a touchdown, his third of the season and the first of his two on Saturday.
Georgia’s nine-play, 75-yard, shutout-starting drive, which consumed just more than four minutes, soon counted as a relative pleasure for an Arkansas team that gave up 273 rushing yards to the Bulldogs.
The Razorbacks, uncomfortably positioned for their offensive debut near the chest-painted fans in the first row of Georgia’s student section, lined up with KJ Jefferson at quarterback. He had shown skill in the season’s first games and entered Saturday as the lone SEC quarterback with at least 800 passing yards and 200 on the ground this season.
But Southern hospitality goes only so far on game day, here or in any other SEC town. Jeers and roars swept through the stadium.