7:45 PM ET, September 19, 2009
Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
Cox throws for 375 yards, 5 TDs as Georgia scores shootout win over Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- In his third game as Matthew Stafford's successor, Joe Cox joined him in the Georgia record book.
Cox threw five touchdown passes, tying a school mark and leading the No. 23 Bulldogs to a wild 52-41 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night. Georgia turned the ball over three times in the first half but moved the ball pretty much at will after that.
• Georgia improved to 25-4 in SEC road games under Mark Richt.
• The Bulldogs and Razorbacks combined for more than 1,000 yards and 93 points.
• Georgia quarterback Joe Cox tied a school record with five touchdown passes to go along with his 375 passing yards.
• In his SEC debut Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett broke a school record with five touchdown passes of his own.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Stafford, the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft, is one of three other Georgia players to throw five touchdown passes in a game.
"It's pretty cool," Cox said. "It's definitely not something I expected to happen. We didn't know it was going to be a shootout like that, but if a team wants to make it a shootout, we've got to find a way to answer."
Cox was 18 of 26 for 375 yards with an interception. It was the second straight high-scoring win for Georgia, which edged South Carolina 41-37 last weekend.
Ryan Mallett set two school records for Arkansas, throwing for 408 yards and five touchdowns. The Razorbacks (1-1, 0-1) led 35-34 in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs' struggling defense held Arkansas to two short field goals the rest of the way.
"Especially in games like that, when we know we're moving the ball and we can score points, when the defense holds them to a field goal that's a win for us," Cox said. "Those stops are huge."
The teams fell short of the Southeastern Conference record of 104 points in a non-overtime game, set when South Carolina beat Mississippi State 65-39 in 1995. The lead changed hands four times in the third quarter alone.
After Mallett's 2-yard touchdown toss to D.J. Williams put Arkansas up 35-34, Georgia needed only two plays to take the lead for good when Cox threw a 44-yard scoring pass to Orson Charles. After that, the Bulldogs (2-1, 2-0) lined up to go for 2. A penalty pushed the ball back, but with the Arkansas defense offering no resistance, Georgia went for 2 anyway from the 8-yard line.
Cox found A.J. Green open in the corner of the end zone for a 42-35 lead.
Green put the Bulldogs ahead 49-38 with a 28-yard touchdown catch with 10:46 left in the game. He finished with seven catches for 137 yards.
Georgia improved to 25-4 under coach Mark Richt in SEC opponents' stadiums, although the Bulldogs looked shaky early, losing two fumbles and an interception.
"We've got to do a lot of things better," Richt said. "We really need to stop turning the ball over and putting our defense in a bad spot."
Arkansas led 21-10 in the second quarter and had just intercepted Cox near midfield when the Razorbacks suddenly lost their discipline. Razorbacks linebacker Jerry Franklin was called for two personal fouls and ejected, and Arkansas was called for an illegal block on the next play that wiped out a big gain.
"It's a shootout," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "In a shootout, you have to make every play count."
As Georgia was starting its next drive, the Razorbacks were hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Bulldogs then backed themselves up with a penalty of their own, but Richard Samuel found a gaping hole for an 80-yard touchdown run that turned the game around.
The Bulldogs gained 201 yards in the quarter and took the lead on a 25-yard pass from Cox to Green one play after Georgia converted on fourth down. The Bulldogs led 27-21 at halftime.
Mallett threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter. His 18-yard TD pass to Joe Adams opened the scoring. After Cox answered with a 21-yard scoring pass to Aron White, the Razorbacks ran a reverse on the ensuing kickoff and Cobi Hamilton returned it to the Georgia 48. Mallett found Jarius Wright for a touchdown on the next play.
Childs made it 21-10 with the catch of the night, a full-extension dive to haul in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Mallett.
"They are playmakers and they showed that time and time again tonight," Mallett said. "They made great plays when I got the ball anywhere near them."
Childs caught five passes for 140 yards, and Wright added four receptions for 108 yards.
The teams committed 25 penalties for 193 yards.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... With about 5 minutes left to play, Caleb King ran Georgia to the Arkansas 11. The Dawgs settled for a field goal and took a two-possession lead.
Gameball goes to... Joe Cox, who threw for five touchdowns and is in a four-way tie for most TDs thrown in Georgia history. He went 18-of-26 for 375 yards.
Stat of the game... 14. The Bulldogs were charged with 14 penalties for 93 total yards. Arkansas also saw a few flags -- 11 penalties for 100 yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-13||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-2|
|TD||12:23||Joe Adams 18 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Alex Tejada Kick)||0||7|
|TD||09:56||Aron White 21 Yd Pass From Joe Cox (Blair Walsh Kick)||7||7|
|TD||09:37||Jarius Wright 48 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Alex Tejada Kick)||7||14|
|FG||02:26||Blair Walsh 35 Yd||10||14|
|TD||00:13||Greg Childs 30 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Alex Tejada Kick)||10||21|
|TD||10:56||Richard Samuel 80 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick)||17||21|
|TD||01:51||A.J. Green 25 Yd Pass From Joe Cox (Blair Walsh Kick)||24||21|
|FG||00:00||Blair Walsh 37 Yd||27||21|
|TD||09:37||Greg Childs 40 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Alex Tejada Kick)||27||28|
|TD||07:51||Tavarres King 50 Yd Pass From Joe Cox (Blair Walsh Kick)||34||28|
|TD||05:15||D.J. Williams 2 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Alex Tejada Kick)||34||35|
|TD||04:34||Orson Charles 44 Yd Pass From Joe Cox (Joe Cox Pass To A.J. Green For Two-Point Conversion)||42||35|
|FG||01:20||Alex Tejada 23 Yd||42||38|
|TD||10:46||A.J. Green 28 Yd Pass From Joe Cox (Blair Walsh Kick)||49||38|
|FG||07:21||Alex Tejada 23 Yd||49||41|
|FG||02:10||Blair Walsh 31 Yd||52||41|