Here are some things you might not realize if you watched the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday: Arkansas had 29 first downs to Georgia's 18. The Hogs outgained the Dawgs, 422-386. Arkansas ran 82 plays to just 56 for Georgia. The Razorbacks had 22 fewer penalty yards and a nine-minute edge in time of possession.
Arkansas lost the game by 13 points, and it could have been worse.
Part of the distorted stat sheet comes from a furious Arkansas comeback attempt that saw the Hogs outscore Georgia 26-7 in the second half. Part of it comes from the fact that Arkansas turned the ball over four times, to none for Georgia.
Still, despite the dashed hopes of an upset win that would mark the return of the Razorbacks, it's not impossible to see some signs of improvement there. A team that looked thoroughly deflated for most of the first half did manage to almost make it a game at times in the second half. The Hogs took body blow after body blow from Georgia -- and kept going. That's not going to make them a contender for the SEC West this year, but it continues to provide a reason to believe that the Razorbacks might get there soon. Arkansas had to all but abandon the running game late, given the size of the Georgia lead, but the Hogs climbed back into the game, more or less.
For Georgia, meanwhile, the style points don't matter. And, even if they did, there were plenty of then in the 31-point second quarter. Nick Chubb was sensational, carrying the ball 30 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns. It would be stupid to say "Todd who?" -- but the Dawgs have now won two straight games without their star running back. Any questions about how Georgia might do without Gurley have been answered. And Huston Mason was efficient (10-of-17 passing for 179 yards, two touchdowns, no picks) -- which is all he needs to be when the running game is working.
The win today in some ways simplifies the race for the division title. If Georgia wins its next two games, against Florida and at Kentucky, then the Dawgs will go to the SEC Championship Game regardless of what happens against Auburn if Missouri loses again; they can go by winning out if Mizzou doesn't lose. And even if Georgia should drop one of the two remaining divisional games, the three teams that could plausibly catch them (Kentucky, Florida and Missouri) all have more than enough land mines on their schedule to help the Dawgs out.
In short, Georgia is already where Arkansas wants to be. Saturday's game showed that Arkansas is close. It also showed why the Hogs are not quite there yet.