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Saturday, September 18, 2010

First quarter blog

1:41 left in first quarter, still 7-7

Georgia fans can breathe a sigh of relief, after a 62-yard touchdown punt return by Arkansas was nullified by a penalty.

It seemed an obvious call. But the flag wasn't thrown until the runner was at about the Georgia 40, clearly headed for the end zone.

Arkansas' sideline didn't protest it too much, though during the timeout Bobby Petrino called the referee over for an explanation.

By the way, Drew Butler appears to be back in form. His punt went 52 yards and hung in the air awhile.

The bad news for the Bulldogs is their offense went three-and-out. A reverse to Rantavious Wooten lost yardage on first down - strange call deep in your own territory considering Wooten hasn't played much so far.

3:37 left in first quarter, still 7-7

Answer to previous question: No.

The Georgia defense had a big series there, stopping Arkansas on third down for the second time on the drive. Allowing the Razorback punter to get the first down did cost the team some field position. But the Bulldog defense had to gain a measure of more confidence, showing it could stop Ryan Mallett and company again.

The tackling is much better. Georgia is very, very physical so far.

And Arkansas has not been able to run. It has negative yardage on first down so far.

5:50 left in first quarter, still 7-7

Did Georgia's special teams fail it again?

Arkansas just had what should have been a three-and-out on its second drive. But punter Dylan Breeding then scrambled for the first down, after a muffed punt snap. It was a close call, but Breeding appeared to barely get to the marker.

Georgia then called timeout before the next play.

Given that this could be a shootout, clearly that's not the kind of thing that needs to be happening for the Bulldogs.

The good news for the Bulldogs is their run defense has tightened up a lot. At least so far. The Hogs aren't getting anything on the ground, and the Bulldogs are indeed telling Ryan Mallett to beat them.

7:49 left in first quarter, Georgia ties it at 7

So, anybody already having a flashback to last year?

Georgia has tied it at 7 on a 1-yard, fourth-down keeper by Aaron Murray. Georgia might be expecting a high-scoring game too, so it decided to go for the seven rather than take the sure field goal. And it worked.

A somewhat daring play call, having Murray fake the handoff, spin left and go into the left corner. One Razorback was close to Murray in the backfield, but the quarterback got away.

The score was set up by a 47-yard completion by Murray to Tavarres King.

Aaron Murray play-faked the Arkansas defense, which was stacked at the line, almost daring Georgia to do something without A.J. Green. Well, the Bulldogs still had Tavarres King.

King caught it for 47 yards. King was actually stride for stride with the Arkansas defender when the pass went in the air, but got him turned and got free for the pass.

From there Georgia tried a couple direct snaps to Washaun Ealey, netting eight yards to get close to the end zone.

Fred Munzenmaier, starting in place of the injured Shaun Chapas, also had a nice one-handed grab earlier in the drive.

12:27 left in first quarter, Arkansas takes 7-0 lead

Georgia's defense followed up a great start to the game with a bad few mental errors, and now Arkansas has a 7-0 lead.

Ryan Mallett hits tight end Chris Gragg for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Arkansas had third-and-inches, and off play-action Ryan Mallett hit Gragg wide open downfield, and Gragg sauntered into the end zone.

Georgia's defense bought the play fake hook line and sinker. We're trying to figure out if it was ... oh no ... safety Bacarri Rambo who was to blame.

This came after a false start by Georgia, on what would have been third-and-six. And this after a good Bulldog start to the game's opening drive.

It's always good, defensively, to start the game with a six-yard loss. Especially when the tackle is by the player (Rambo) who was called out this week for being too timid in the previous game.

That's just what happened for Georgia as its game opened. Problem is, two plays later Arkansas star quarterback maneuvered in the pocket and found Greg Childs over the middle for a long gain and a first down.

Three plays later, Arkansas should have had third-and-six. Then it became third-and-short, and you know the rest.

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