FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Overcoming early offensive struggles and a halftime deficit, the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0 SEC) opened the 2020 season with a 37-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (0-1, 0-1 SEC) Saturday afternoon before 16,500 spectators at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and an SEC Network audience.
With the victory, Georgia improved to 97-27-3 all-time in season openers, including a 5-0 mark under head coach Kirby Smart. Wearing throwback uniforms honoring the 1980 national championship team, the Bulldogs increased their series advantage over the Razorbacks to an 11-4 margin.
“We didn’t execute well early, and when we did, we had penalties,” said Smart. “I thought the defense played with a lot of heart, but we’re not going to beat many football teams playing like we played.”
Junior quarterback Stetson Bennett, who entered the game in the second quarter, finished 20-for-29 with 211 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, junior tailback Zamir White posted 71 yards rushing on 13 attempts and one touchdown, while redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kearis Jackson tallied 62 yards on six receptions. Overall, the Georgia offense finished with 387 yards.
“(Stetson) brings a lot of reps,” said Smart. “Here’s a kid who took every single rep as a No. 2 last year. He understands what defenses are trying to do to him. He knows where to hurt them. He used a lot of the tools around him, made good decisions.”
On the defensive front, sophomore linebacker Nakobe Dean led with seven tackles, followed by sophomore safety Lewis Cine and sophomore linebacker Nolan Smith with six apiece. Senior safety Richard LeCounte hauled in two interceptions for the second-consecutive game, increasing his career total to a team-leading seven.
Junior punter Jake Camarda led a strong showing by the Georgia special teams with seven punts for 349 yards, averaging 49.9 yards per kick with a long of 63. Additionally, the Bulldogs’ return game netted 148 yards, including 91 from sophomore kick returner Kenny McIntosh.
Georgia will play host to No. 8 Auburn (1-0, 1-0 SEC) next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. The latest edition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will be broadcast on ESPN and will be the first playing of the game outside of November since 1936.