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Surprising No. 8 Hogs to challenge No. 2 Georgia’s defense

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson scrambles out of the pocket before throwing a pass in the...
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson scrambles out of the pocket before throwing a pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)(Tony Gutierrez | AP)
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 8:28 AM CDT
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No. 8 Arkansas (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 2 Georgia (4-0, 2-0), Saturday at noon EDT (ESPN).

Line: Georgia by 18 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Georgia 11-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Arkansas is looking for its first 5-0 start since 1998. Georgia can bolster its ranking with a second win over a top-10 team. The Bulldogs will try to improve to 4-0 in home games against top-10 teams under coach Kirby Smart. Arkansas will be looking for its third win over a top-15 team. Each team is trying to extend its unbeaten start in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia’s defense, which leads the nation with 5.8 points and 181.8 yards allowed per game, will be tested by a Razorbacks offense averaging 35.8 points.

KEY MATCHUP

Arkansas running back Trelon Smith against Georgia’s run defense. Led by Smith, who has rushed for 298 yards and three touchdowns, the Razorbacks rank second in the SEC with 262 yards rushing per game. Georgia leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation with its average of 66 yards allowed on the ground. Keys to the run defense include defensive linemen Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter and Devonte Wyatt.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arkansas: QB KJ Jefferson (6-3, 245) brings unusual size and is dangerous as a runner and passer. He is second on the team with 230 yards rushing. He is the only quarterback in the SEC with at least 800 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Jefferson’s top target is WR Treylon Burks, who has 19 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns.

Georgia: Freshman TE Brock Bowers has been a surprise, leading the team with 18 catches for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Bowers also has a 12-yard scoring run. Bowers, only the eighth true freshman to start a season opener under Smart, could have added competition for playing time at the position if Darnell Washington returns from a foot injury.

FACTS & FIGURES

Arkansas was unranked only three weeks ago before gaining respect with wins over No. 15 Texas and No. 7 Texas A&M. ... Arkansas is 4-0 for the first time since 2003. ... Georgia QB JT Daniels is 7-0 as a starter. Daniels was not cleared from a knee injury when Georgia opened the 2020 season with a 37-10 win at Arkansas. ... Georgia has held its first four opponents to a combined 23 points, including an interception return for UAB’s only points in the Bulldogs’ 56-7 win. ... DE Tre Williams, a Missouri transfer, leads Arkansas with four sacks, including two against Texas A&M.

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