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Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2002 11:56 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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(4) Georgia 30, (22) Arkansas 3
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Arkansas Razorbacks
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GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Georgia Bulldogs
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ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Georgia knew its outside chance at a national title evaporated a few hours earlier. So Musa Smith and the Bulldogs took out their frustrations on Arkansas.

Smith ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns as fourth-ranked Georgia built a 23-point halftime lead and coasted to a 30-3 victory over No. 22 Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome.

The Bulldogs (12-1) captured their first SEC title since 1982, when Herschel Walker led Georgia to a 11-0 regular season and the top ranking in the country. Georgia was denied a national championship when it lost to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.

"It's been a long time. That's a lot of disappointment out there," Georgia coach Mark Richt said of the title drought. "It really didn't dawn on me that it was 20 years until this season. I am happy for all of the Bulldog Nation."

Georgia, currently third in the Bowl Championship Series standings, was still in contention for a national title entering Saturday. But those hopes ended when Miami defeated Virginia Tech earlier in the day.

"We tried not to put too much hope in the (Miami-Virginia Tech) game," Georgia quarterback David Greene said. "The SEC Conference game is big enough. We knew pretty early what was going to happen (in Miami). I am excited to be on a team that won the SEC."

"We may not be national champions, but it's a good start," Georgia defensive end David Pollack said.

The Bulldogs instead will settle for a trip to either the Orange or Sugar Bowl. Georgia matched a school record with its 12th win, set in its national title season of 1980.

Greene completed 17-of-29 passes for 237 yards, including a 20-yard TD pass to Benjamin Watson early in the fourth quarter.

"Our entire offense had a good night," Greene said. "The crowd was a big factor in the game."

Arkansas (9-4) advanced to the SEC title for the first time since 1995 with a last-second win over Louisiana State last week. But the Razorbacks were never competitive on Saturday night before a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome that heavily favored the Bulldogs.

"I wish we could have given a better show. We didn't start the game right," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "They were geared up and did a great job on defense."

Richie Butler had a punt blocked by Decory Bryant on the Razorbacks' first possession, and Georgia took over at the Arkansas 2. Musa, who carried 19 times, went into the end zone on the next play.

"We were real dominant in the first quarter. They couldn't stop us," Smith said.

The Bulldogs kept up the pace on their next possession. Greene completed passes of 18 yards to Terrence Edwards and 22 yards to J.T. Wall and Smith soon followed with 16-yard TD run just 6:11 into the game.

Edwards caught seven passes for 92 yards.

Billy Bennett added field goals of 42, 29 and 39 yards to build the halftime lead to 23-0.

The Razorbacks collected just 139 yards overall, and had a mere eight in the first quarter. They avoided a shutout with a 27-yard field goal by David Carlton in the third quarter.

The three points matched the fewest in an SEC title game. Arkansas had the same total in its 1995 loss to Florida.

Fred Talley was held to 51 yards on 17 carries while Matt Jones, who threw a game-winning TD pass last week against LSU, was just 9-of-17 for 60 yards.

"I am very disappointed. It just didn't happen tonight," Talley said. "We made a lot of foolish mistakes tonight.'

Arkansas' offense struggled so much that it was forced to punt nine times.

The sloppy game featured 22 penalties, including 12 by Georgia for 115 yards.


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