Arkansas Razorback Football

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – What four touchdowns underdog Arkansas did so defensively effectively to lead No. 4 Georgia 10-5 midway into last Saturday’s third quarter won’t necessarily translate so effectively this Saturday at Mississippi State.

But what sophomore receiver Treylon Burks achieved in Fayetteville against Georgia would translate in Starkville, Miss. and then some if utilized more, first-year Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman implied.

Though eventually losing the season-opener  37-10, Arkansas’ defense  put up a fight far better than the final score indicates.

Arkansas’ own offense directly handed Georgia nine points. Arkansas receiver T.J. Hammonds on a failed trick play fumbled  out of the end zone  for a first-half safety. In the second half Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks  threw a pick-six as two Razorbacks receivers collided, Pittman said. Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes pilfered the pass and returned it for a 30-yard TD game.

Another Georgia score was ultimately table set  by another failed trick play with receiver Burks throwing an interception. 

 Arkansas special teams struggled some, too.  They  yielded lengthy Georgia  kick and punt returns and suffered a punt block.  Combined with Georgia superb punter Jake Camarda pinning the Hogs’ field position plight,  and a delay of game  penalty voiding the 54-yard field goal that Arkansas’ A.J. Reed kicked, all eventually contributed to Arkansas’ defeat.

But an Arkansas defense holding Georgia without a touchdown for nearly 39 minutes and Burks catching 7 passes for 102 yards including that 49-yard first quarter touchdown from Franks shines through the loss.

He’s a really good player,” Pittman said of Burks.   “We certainly have to continue to try to get the ball to him more. He can win contested catches and he’s a special player. We have to continue to run him a little bit more and get the ball to him more.The touchdown grab he made and scored on was an exceptional play. I think that’ll be things to come, but we’ve got to target him more. The defense and Treylon Burks were probably the positives for today.”

Seems Burks and senior running back Rakeem Boyd, 1,133 yards rushing last year but thwarted to 21 yards on 11 carries by a Georgia unit  returning eight starters from last year’s national rushing defense leader, must excel for Arkansas standing a chance to outpoint Mississippi State.

Stopping Georgia’s running game but yielding a 20 for 29 for 211 yards and two touchdowns passing day by Georgia junior off the bench junior quarterback Stetson Bennett, Arkansas’ defense Saturday faces a SEC record-setting passing attack.

 Mike Leach, formerly the Texas Tech and Washington State head coach,  debuted his “Air Raid” offense last Saturday at Mississippi State  with graduate transfer via Stanford to MSU quarterback K.J. Costello. Costello  threw a SEC record 623 yards in a game throwing back, 44-34 reigning national champion  and nationally No. 6 LSU.

So Arkansas mostly shutting down Georgia’s running game doesn’t translate to a Mississippi State throwing 60 passes and running just 16 times against LSU.

Other than defensive confidence gained, Odom’s game plan this week starts from scratch.

“I mean them beating LSU,” Arkansas freshman safety Jalen Catalon said. “That just shows they’re a really good football team.”

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