FAYETTEVILLE -- After months of uncertainty and a three-week delay, Sam Pittman made his debut as a head coach, and the Arkansas Razorbacks are no doubt better.
They're just not good enough to run with the big dogs of Georgia.
In the end, no coach could have done more to advance a team that hadn't won a conference game in 1,066 days.
Georgia flexed its No. 4-ranked muscle in the second half and dominated for a 37-10 victory.
It began when Georgia junior Stetson Bennett replaced redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis at quarterback.
The Razorbacks had no answer for Bennett as he completed 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus he ran for 20 yards and a two-point conversion.
Why he didn't start is anyone's guess, but he was clearly the difference in a game that Arkansas controlled until he entered.
Behind his running and passing, the Bulldogs outscored the Hogs 22-3 in the third quarter. That made the final quarter a formality.
Probably no one in the world thought the 28-point underdog Razorbacks -- yes, the betting line moved further Friday toward Georgia -- would be leading at the half 7-5.
Maybe in baseball, but football?
Granted, the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot so many times with penalties in the first half that they shouldn't have had any toes left.
The Dawgs were penalized once in the second half and 11 times in the first for 98 yards, including two pass-interference calls on the Razorbacks' 91-yard touchdown drive, but the dazzling touchdown play made the penalties forgotten.
Feleipe Franks sidestepped a sack and rolled left, where he spotted Treylon Burks down the sideline a step ahead of his defender. Franks delivered with a picture-perfect pass that gave the Hogs a 7-0 lead.
They gave up a safety and a 38-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, but the Razorbacks went into the locker room knowing they were knocking heads with the No. 4 team in the nation.
As expected, the Georgia defense basically shut out the Razorbacks' running attack, holding them to 77 yards on 28 carries by six different Razorbacks.
The biggest question coming out of the locker room was how long Arkansas' defense could thrive after residing on the field for 18:04 in the first half.
Plus the Dawgs had the momentum, having kicked a field goal to end the half and getting the ball to start the second.
They came out running and drove to the Hogs' 47, but a fumble led to the Razorbacks' final scoring drive, which covered 43 yards for a 25-yard field goal and short-lived 10-5 lead.
All game, the Dawgs got way too many yards on kick and punt returns, and the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Georgia 43. It took just six plays to take the lead, and a two-point conversion run by Bennett made it 13-10 with six minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Hogs went three and out and shanked the punt to give the Dawgs the ball at the Hogs' 24. The Razorbacks' defense barely had time to get a drink of water before coming back to face another ugly situation.
Just four plays later, it was 20-10.
And the dam had burst.
Franks gave up a pick-six, and with 2:53 to play in the third quarter it was 27-10 as Georgia scored three touchdowns in 3:07.
The glorious afternoon and a long-held lead by the Hogs were gone. There was improvement in energy, fundamentals and discipline, but the Bulldogs were just too talented and deep.
Now comes a week of covid-19 testing and getting ready for a road trip to Mississippi State, which beat LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday.