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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs with the ball during the Bulldogs' game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Photo by Walt Beazley/ Courtesy UGA Sports Comm)

Following No. 4 Georgia’s 37-10 road victory against Arkansas to begin the season, The Red & Black graded each position group’s performance.

Quarterback

D'Wan Mathis was pulled early in the second quarter in favor of Stetson Bennett after struggling to maintain a drive on offense. Mathis looked uncomfortable to start the game, throwing a poor interception and running out of bounds early to force a punt. He was effective in the run game while struggling to find his footing through the air and avoid pressure. Offensive play calling hurt Mathis, but mental lapses like taking sacks and big hits did him no favors. Bennett was erratic in his early possessions with his passes, but led a much-needed drive into Georgia’s field goal range to end the half, going 5-for-7 for 59 yards. Bennett finished 20-for-29 for 211 yards and two touchdowns, adding 20 yards on five carries including a diving effort for a two-point conversion attempt to increase the lead to three. — Griffin Callaghan

Grade: C

Running backs

Had Georgia’s first half ground game returned for the final 30 minutes, the running backs would have received an F on the day. Pounding the middle generated just 48 total rush yards in the first half, with junior James Cook securing a team-high 20 yards on six attempts. Redshirt sophomore Zamir White recorded six yards on four attempts. As with the rest of the team, however, Georgia’s backfield looked energized after halftime. A run-heavy opening drive looked promising until Cook coughed up the ball on a third down push. But that was the running backs’ last mistake of the afternoon. White found his footing, picking up chunks of yardage here and there and opening up the Bulldogs’ passing attack. His lone touchdown at the top of the fourth quarter was Georgia’s only rushing score in the game, a disappointing result given the team’s need for a reliable rush to offset its quarterback flip-flopping. — William Newlin

Grade: B

Receivers

Georgia entered searching for its No. 2 receiver to pair with sophomore George Pickens at a position with plenty of talent and depth, but there wasn’t enough from the group in the opening possessions to warrant an answer. After a first half consisting of just 10 receptions between Georgia’s wide receivers, Pickens hauled in a 19-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the day with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Redshirt sophomore Kearis Jackson maintained a significant role for the Bulldogs alongside Pickens and finished as the team’s leading receiver in receptions with six and receiving yards with 62. Pickens finished with four receptions for 47 receiving yards and one touchdown. — Austin Roper 

Grade: B-

Offensive line

Georgia’s offensive line was pushed around for most of the game by the Arkansas defensive front. The Bulldogs struggled to establish the run and saw tosses and screen passes blown up at the line of scrimmage. Redshirt sophomore Warren Ericson was a part of the rotation with junior Trey Hill throughout the afternoon at center, as the two struggled in spurts throughout the evening. The offensive line opened up running lanes in the second half for a solid resurgence after James Cook lost a fumble on the opening drive. Georgia finished with an average of 3.0 yards per carry after being stifled by the Arkansas defense in the first half, and finished with 121 total rushing yards. The group allowed pressure to rattle Mathis and Bennett in the first half but also improved on pass protection as the game progressed. — Griffin Callaghan 

Grade: B-

Front seven

Georgia’s run defense didn’t miss a beat after its dominant 2019-20 campaign. The Bulldogs forced a safety in the first half and held Arkansas to just 77 rushing yards on the day. The Razorbacks’ lead back Rakeem Boyd was neutralized for the majority of the game as the Georgia front seven held him to 21 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Similar to last season’s woes, the Bulldogs' interior defense did struggle to get pressure on the quarterback in the first half. That turned around some in the second half with Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean teaming up for a sack inside the 10-yard line to hold Arkansas to a field goal midway through the third quarter. The Bulldogs ended with two total sacks. — Andy Walsh 

Grade: A-

Secondary

Despite a top-SEC running back in Rakeem Boyd, Arkansas secured a meager 77 total rushing yards on the day. Accuracy issues prevented redshirt senior quarterback Feleipe Franks from generating a serious threat through the air, although Arkansas receivers found plenty of space early on in the gaps created by Georgia’s zone defense. Senior safety Richard LeCounte got beat on a crossing route in the first quarter to allow Arkansas its only touchdown. He came back with an interception on the following drive to give Georgia its best chance to score in the first half. The secondary emerged late in the third quarter, led by a pick-six from junior Eric Stokes and a second interception by LeCounte a minute later. Franks accumulated just 70 passing yards in the final two frames, and Georgia’s defensive backs proved their veteran group can pick up where it left off last season.  — William Newlin 

Grade: A

Special teams

First-year special teams coordinator Scott Cochran has to be pleased with his unit’s performance despite Georgia’s concerning struggles overall. Junior Jake Camarda’s first four punts of the game all pinned the Razorbacks inside their own 10-yard line, giving a clear early advantage in the game's field-position battle. Camarda finished with seven total punts — his longest being a 63-yarder — for an average of 49.85 yards. Redshirt freshman kicker Jack Podlesny handled all placekicking duties for the Bulldogs, finishing a perfect 2-for-2 in field goals and 3-for-3 in extra points. — Austin Roper 

Grade: A

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