September 16, 2010

Last year's Arkansas game an offensive delight

Tight end Aron White said he could barely catch his breath. Wide receiver Tavarres King called it a "high energy" game as he could ever recall.

Either way, last year's 52-41 shootout over Arkansas in Fayetteville is a game the Bulldogs won't soon forget and one that has them wary of what might be in store Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium (12:01 p.m., ESPN).

"We haven't had too many shootouts since I've been here at Georgia," White said. "It was just back and forth. They'd score, we'd score, you could liken it a little bit to LSU (a 52-38 UGA win in 2008), but that game was really not that close. Arkansas was actually knocking on the door the whole time."

Actually, it was the Bulldogs who had to find the key.

Arkansas roared out to a 21-10 first-quarter lead on touchdown passes of 18, 48 and 30 yards from quarterback Ryan Mallett before the Bulldogs responded with 17 in the second to take a 27-21 halftime lead.

There were plenty more points to come.

The two teams actually swapped leads twice in the third quarter before Georgia's defense held the Razorbacks to a fourth-quarter field goal and the offense responded with its sixth touchdown to finish with the nine-point win.

It's a game King said he will never forget. With good reason:

King caught his first career touchdown in last year's contest, a 50-yard bomb from former quarterback Joe Cox, a play which helped the Bulldogs regain the lead at 34-28.

"That was exciting, a high-energy game," King said. "Talk about a shootout. It was just really exciting to be a part of that. That was the game that let me know I could play on this stage and be effective. It did a lot for my confidence."

White, who scored one of Georgia's six touchdowns on a 21-yard pass from Cox, said the tempo was something he will never forget.

"We were making plays all over the place," White said. "I don't think there was a position that wasn't making a play at least twice during that one. We were spreading the ball all over the place."

Said King, "Honestly, as a receiver it's the game you dream about being in."

So, what about Saturday's game?

The 12th-ranked Razorbacks still have Mallett, who seemingly sets a new Arkansas passing mark every time he steps on the field, plus the bulk of last year's receiving corps.

Georgia, meanwhile, has plenty of questions that still need to be answered, the biggest of which is whether or not A.J. Green[/db will be available to play.

Last year, Green led the Bulldogs with seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns, but with his hearing set for Friday morning with the NCAA's appeal committee, his availability for Saturday's contest remains very much in doubt.

That's not all.

Considering the Bulldogs are coming off a 17-6 loss to South Carolina, King admits the offense could use an early confidence boost come Saturday.

"I think it's huge, real huge," king said. "But we've practiced hard all week and I feel like we're going to execute. Everybody's got their head on straight and so far we haven't made a lot of mental mistakes in practice. I feel we're destined to get something done."

Obviously, a lot will depend on quarterback [db]Aaron Murray.

Despite the defeat, Murray has held up well and been impressive enough in Georgia's first two games where both head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have suggested they'll start giving the redshirt freshman more offensive responsibility.

King said Murray's ready to execute whatever coaches have in the mind.

"The kid's swagger is high, it always has been," King said. "I was happy they made those statements, not only for him but for our offense. Aaron's a heckuva player and I'm glad they're going to let him play."

King added that knowing coaches now have that kind of confidence in the quarterback provides a huge boost to the morale of the entire offensive side of the ball.

"That just does tremendous things to the mind," he said. "Everybody knows the playbook is open out there. Just knowing that gives everybody an extra bump."

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