UGASports - PFF Matchup: UGA at Arkansas
football Edit

PFF Matchup: UGA at Arkansas

Georgia (0-0) will open up the 2020 season on Saturday afternoon against Arkansas (0-0) in Fayetteville. The Bulldogs were 12-2 (7-1) a year ago, completing the year with a Sugar Bowl victory over Baylor. Arkansas has a new coach, Sam Pittman, after finishing 2-10 (0-8) a season ago.

Analyst Trent Smallwood uses Pro Football Focus (PFF) season grades to compare each unit for the upcoming game at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia Passing Game vs Arkansas Defensive Backs
Georgia OFF Grade Arkansas DEF Grade

WIDE RECEIVER

George Pickens

Demetris Robertson

Kearis Jackson

Matt Landers

Jermaine Burton (FR)


85.5

65.6

58.7

55.5

N/A

CORNERBACK

Montaric Brown

LaDarrius Bishop

Jarques McClellion

Greg Brooks Jr.

Jerry Jacobs (Ark St)


65.0

61.5

59.7

49.8

N/A

QB AND TIGHT END

Dwan Mathis (RS FR)

John FitzPatrick

Darnell Washington (FR)


N/A

58.0

N/A

SAFETY

Jalen Catelon

Myles Mason

Joe Foucha


85.2

54.9

51.1

What will we see out of the Bulldogs' passing game? Nobody really knows at this point. We do agree Georgia has one of the most talented wide receivers in college football in George Pickens. Pickens was targeted 77 times as a true freshman, hauling in 49 receptions (63.6 percent) for 726 yards and eight touchdowns. Demetris Robertson was the second highest targeted receiver in 2019 with 50. He hauled in 30 receptions (60.0 percent) for 333 yards and three touchdowns. After these two, there's a lot of uncertainty. Kearis Jackson only caught five of his 15 targets (33.3 percent) for 79 yards in 2019, but is expected to have a big role this season. Matt Landers struggled with drops, and received 10 of his 23 targets (43.5 percent) for 105 yards and a touchdown. Look for a couple true freshmen to show up, as the Bulldogs pulled in a talented receiver class in 2020. One specifically to watch is Jermaine Burton, who might even be in the starting lineup on Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Dwan Mathis is expected to get the start at quarterback. Mathis did not play in 2019, after having brain surgery to remove a cyst. I would expect the Bulldogs to implement more RPO's with Mathis at the helm, as the 6-foot-6, 205 pound quarterback can really run. At tight end, graduate transfer Tre' McKitty is expected to miss the game with an injury, and John FitzPatrick is expected to get the start. FitzPatrick was only targeted two times in 2019, while hauling in one reception. True freshman Darnell Washington will likely get some playing time at the position as well.

Montaric Brown returns at one cornerback position for the Hogs. Brown allowed only 18 receptions on 35 targets (51.4 percent) for 198 yards and four touchdowns in 2019. He could very well draw the match-up with Pickens. Jerry Jacobs is a grad transfer from Arkansas State and will get the nod at the other cornerback position. Jacobs actually played against the Bulldogs in 2019, with the Red Wolves, and was targeted two times without allowing a reception. Greg Brooks Jr. will start at the nickel position in a physical tackle on the edge. He struggled in coverage in 2019, while allowing a 76.7 percent completion percentage when targeted.

Georgia Running Game vs Arkansas Front 7
Georgia OFF Grade Arkansas DEF Grade

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

LT- Jamaree Salyer

LT- Xavier Truss

RT- Owen Condon

RT- Warren McClendon


81.3

71.4

62.6

60.1

EDGE

DE- Eric Gregory

JACK- Dorian Gerald

JACK- Mataio Soli

DE- Julius Coates


70.1

59.5

58.6

N/A

OFFENSIVE GUARD

RG- Ben Cleveland

OC- Trey Hill

LG- Justin Shaffer

OG- Warren Ericson


77.8

73.8

73.2

65.5

INTERIOR LINE

Jonathan Marshall

Isaiah Nichols

Xavier Kelly (Clemson)

Taurean Carter (FR)


77.8

55.9

51.1

N/A

RUNNING BACK

Kenny McIntosh

Zamir White

James Cook


76.0

73.1

71.1

LINEBACKER

Grant Morgan

Bumper Pool

Andrew Parker


65.7

54.6

39.8

Georgia lost four of its top five offensive linemen from 2019, and there's a lot of uncertainty on the Arkansas defensive line as well. Two names do return: Bulldog center Trey Hill and Razorback defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall. Both of these players are very talented—a match-up to watch on Saturday.

Hill had an 80.2 pass block grade and 70.7 run block grade a year ago. Hill allowed only one sack and two pressures on the season. Jamaree Salyer moves out of left tackle to take over for first round pick Andrew Thomas. Salyer had a 76.4 PBLK and 80.8 RBLK last season. He allowed two quarterback pressures. Owen Condon takes over at right tackle for first round draft pick Isaiah Wilson. Condon only played in one game in 2019. Two seniors that have played a lot of snaps in their careers will be the offensive guards. Ben Cleveland will be at right guard; he has been one of Georgia's top offensive linemen when healthy. In 2019, he boasted a 78.5 PBLK and 76.7 RBLK grade. Cleveland allowed nine quarterback pressures and no sacks on the season. Justin Shaffer will be at left guard after going down with a season-ending neck injury in 2019. The senior played the first six games and had an 86.9 PBLK and 72.7 RBLK grade. He allowed no quarterback pressures in 70 pass blocking opportunities.

Marshall tallied a 76.6 run defense grade for the Hogs in 2019. He also was able to pressure the quarterback 18 times on the season. Xavier Kelly is a grad transfer from Clemson, and will be at the other defensive tackle position. He wasn't able to get a ton of snaps for the Tigers in 2019, but looks to end his career on a high note with the Razorbacks. True freshman Taurean Carter will also be counted on for important snaps on Saturday.

Montai Soli hopes to gives Arkansas an edge-rush, as he tallied 11 quarterback pressures in 2019. Dorian Gerald will be the starter at the Jack position where he had five quarterback pressures a season ago.

Georgia continues to trot out talented running backs; this year will be no different. Expect Zamir White and James Cook to get most of the touches for the Bulldogs, with Kenny McIntosh and true freshman Kendall Milton getting some touches as well. Cook is expected to double as a weapon on the passing game. White rushed for 408 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. Cook had 188 yards and two touchdowns. McIntosh added 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Arkansas Passing Game vs Georgia Defensive Backs
Arkansas OFF Grade Georgia Def Grade

WIDE RECEIVER

Treylon Burks

Trey Knox

De'Vion Warren

Mike Woods


67.9

66.2

64.2

58.6

CORNERBACK

Eric Stokes

Tyson Campbell

DJ Daniel

Tyrique Stevenson


81.4

76.4

73.6

69.9

QB AND TIGHT END

TE- Hudson Henry

QB- Feleipe Franks (Florida)

TE- Blayne Toll


64.4

61.8

N/A

SAFETY

Richard LeCounte

Lewis Cine

Mark Webb


81.9

73.7

71.2

Graduate transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks played three seasons at Florida before transferring over to Arkansas to take over as the starting quarterback. He matches up with what might be the most talented secondary Kirby Smart has had since he took over in Athens. Franks had a career 58.8 percent completion percentage during his career with the Gators, but was off to a great start in 2019 before going down with an injury. Franks completed 54 of his 71 attempts during the first three games, while tossing five touchdown passes and three interceptions. Franks has been very good with a clean pocket, but struggled when the pocket was pushed and pressure was applied.

Franks will benefit from a talented wide receiver with Treylon Burks. Burks hauled in 29 of his 58 targets (50.0 percent) in 2019 for 475 yards, but was not able to get in the end zone. Trey Knox was also targeted 58 times, hauling in 28 receptions (48.3 percent) for 385 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Woods was targeted the most, with 64, and tied for the team lead with 33 receptions (51.6 percent). Woods tallied four touchdowns during the season. Like Georgia, tight end is a question mark, as Hudson Henry was only targeted three times a season ago, catching all three (100 percent) for 15 yards.

The trio of wide receivers will go up against a talented secondary for the Bulldogs, who return everyone except for starting safety JR Reed. Eric Stokes leads Georgia's talented group. He allowed 37 receptions on 65 targets (56.9 percent) for 356 yards and two touchdowns. DJ Daniel or Tyson Campbell will man the other cornerback spot. Daniel only allowed 25 receptions on 53 targets (47.2 percent) for 304 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell battled injuries throughout the season, but allowed only eight receptions on twenty targets (40.0 percent) for 94 yards and no touchdowns. Richard LeCounte returns as the leader of the secondary at safety. He has struggled some against the pass, but has a tendency to make the big play—he had a team high four interceptions in 2019.

Arkansas Running Game vs Georgia Front 7
Arkansas OFF Grade Georgia DEF Grade

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

RT- Dalton Wagner

LT- Myron Cunningham

RT- Noah Gatlin


58.9

58.7

N/A

EDGE

Azeez Ojulari

Jermaine Johnson

Nolan Smith


78.0

72.1

69.6

INTERIOR LINE

OC- TJ Clary

RG- Beaux Limmer

OC- Ricky Stromberg

LG- Brady Latham

OG- Shane Clenin


69.0

67.3

65.0

64.9

54.0

INTERIOR LINE

DE- Malik Herring

DT- Devonte Wyatt

NT- Jordan Davis

DE- Travon Walker

DT- Jalen Carter


90.5

77.2

72.2

56.9

N/A

RUNNING BACK

Rakeem Boyd

A'Montae Spiver

Trelon Smith


80.4

49.8

N/A

LINEBACKER

Nakobe Dean

Monty Rice

Quay Walker


74.3

73.5

59.3

Rakeem Boyd comes back to lead the Razorback running game as he had a big season in 2019. Boyd finished the season with 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry on the season. I would expect Pittman to rely on his talented back in this game.

One issue with that is that Boyd is going up against a talented Bulldogs group that led the country in run defense a year ago. Georgia only allowed two rushing touchdowns the entire season. Defensive end Malik Herring tallied an 85.0 run defense grade while also adding 23 quarterback pressures. Defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt had a 75.4 run defense grade while applying 36 quarterback pressures and a sack. The Bulldogs have a talented nose tackle in Jordan Davis as well, who is athletic and requires a double team in the middle.

The Bulldogs also have one of the top outside linebackers in the country in redshirt sophomore Azeez Ojulari. Ojulari led the team in sacks in 2019 with six, and had 38 quarterback pressures. Jermaine Johnson is another talented outside linebacker who plays the run very well with an 82.4 grade. Nolan Smith is a pass rush specialist, as he had five sacks a season ago with his 19 quarterback hurries.

Arkansas offensive tackles Dalton Wagner and Myron Cunningham will have their hands full with the talented edge rushers for the Bulldogs. Wagner allowed five sacks and 24 quarterback pressures in 2019. Cunningham only allowed one sack but a team-high 27 quarterback pressures. Although the offensive line struggled at times protecting the quarterback, the unit in the interior blocked fairly well in the running game: right guard Beaux Limmer (68.6 run block grade), left guard Brady Latham (67.7 rblk grade), and center Ricky Stromberg (67.3 rblk grade). Saturday will be a big test against this talented Bulldogs front.

Head to Head Grades
Georgia Grade (Natl Rank) Arkansas Grade (Natl Rank)

TOTAL OFFENSE

92.5 (7th)

TOTAL DEFENSE

67.2 (112th)

PASS OFFENSE

86.9 (10th)

COVERAGE

62.3 (110th)

RUSH OFFENSE

83.9 (38th)

RUSH DEFENSE

65.9 (108th)

PASS BLOCKING

87.3 (3rd)

PASS RUSH

77.1 (78th)

RUN BLOCKING

87.9 (2nd)

TACKLING

66.9 (68th)

TOTAL DEFENSE

92.7 (5th)

TOTAL OFFENSE

66.1 (105th)

COVERAGE

91.5 (5th)

PASS OFFENSE

55.2 (109th)

RUSH DEFENSE

91.8 (8th)

RUSH OFFENSE

78.4 (72nd)

PASS RUSH

82.4 (23rd)

PASS BLOCKING

61.7 (92nd)

TACKLING

90.0 (3rd)

RUN BLOCKING

63.0 (76th)

SPECIAL TEAMS

78.7 (32nd)

SPECIAL TEAMS

70.8 (89th)

OVERALL

94.1 (3rd)

OVERALL

68.9 (116th)