Chubb, defense lead Georgia past Arkansas, 45-32
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) Nick Chubb provided an encore performance more than worthy of his well-known predecessor.
The Georgia freshman, again filling in for the suspended Todd Gurley at running back, followed last week’s breakout game with another dominating performance in a 45-32 victory over Arkansas on Saturday.
Chubb ran for 202 yards and two touchdowns as the No. 10 Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) won their fifth straight game and maintained their spot atop the East Division. With Gurley once again suspended because of alleged rules violations, Georgia continued to rely on its newfound star in the backfield in the 5-foot-10, 228-pound Chubb.
A week after touching the ball 42 times in a shutout win over Missouri, Chubb had 30 carries in the win over the struggling Razorbacks (3-4, 0-4). He has 345 yards rushing on 68 carries in his first two career starts, a remarkable start to a career.
”I felt more comfortable back there in the backfield,” Chubb said. ”… Todd has big shoes to fill, but I’m coming in here and playing hard”
While Chubb provided the offensive force, the Georgia defense overwhelmed Arkansas in the first half in its way to a 38-6 halftime lead. The Bulldogs forced three first-half turnovers, and they finished with four for the game – a week after having five turnovers in a 34-0 win over Missouri.
”We felt very in control,” Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd said. ”We felt they (were) ready to tuck their tails and run.”
Arkansas didn’t fold in the second half, despite the first-half onslaught by the Bulldogs. Led by Brandon Allen’s career-high 296 yards passing on 28-of-45 passing, the Razorbacks closed to 45-32 midway through the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by Alex Collins.
The rebound was far too late, however – leading to Arkansas’ 16th straight SEC loss. The Razorbacks longest conference losing streak in school history is a 20-game stretch from 1940-43 when the school was in the Southwest Conference.
Arkansas, which was led by Jonathan Williams’ 108 yards rushing, is 0-12 in the SEC under second-year coach Bret Bielema.
”That first half, we weren’t ourselves,” Bielema said. ”And the only person responsible for that is me. I guarantee 100 percent; I told them that’s on me. I don’t know what we did a little bit different.”
Arkansas had fourth-quarter leads in each of the last two weeks before losing to Texas A&M and Alabama, but the outcome wasn’t in doubt for long after it was overwhelmed by the Bulldogs in the first half Saturday.
After Alex Collins put the Razorbacks up 6-0 on the game’s opening drive, Georgia scored 38 straight points – capped by Dominick Sanders’ 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the first half. It was the third forced turnover of the half by the Bulldogs, who scored 21 points off turnovers on Saturday a week after holding Missouri to 147 yards on 43 plays.
”I would love to know we are going to get four turnovers a game from here on in,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ”Man, I would start maybe making plans, but I don’t know if you can count on that.”
Arkansas finished with 422 yards of offense, but Allen was briefly knocked out of the game following back-to-back sacks in the first half and the Razorbacks struggled to slow the Georgia pass rush until the second half. Allen threw two interceptions as the Razorbacks became the first SEC West team to lose to a team from outside its division.
West teams were 26-0 against outside competition entering the week.
”We gave Georgia (21) points,” Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry said. ”You can’t do that against a SEC team, especially a team like Georgia.”
While the Razorbacks struggled offensively in the first half, the Bulldogs had little problem carrying over the momentum from the Missouri game.
Hutson Mason accounted for three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, in the win – finishing 10-of-17 passing for 179 yards. Chris Conley led Georgia with 128 yards receiving and a touchdown, a 36-yard strike that put the Bulldogs up 45-19 early in the fourth quarter.
The game was already long since out of hand at that point.
”Obviously, the first half was about as good as you could ever hope a first half to go,” Richt said. ”I’m very impressed with how we played.”