Athens, GA (UofA) - Behind another big day for junior quarterback Ryan Mallett, the University of Arkansas went to 3-0 for the first time since 2003 as the 12th-ranked Razorbacks defeated the University of Georgia, 31-24, at Sanford Stadium.
The victory was only the second for the Razorbacks at Athens since joining the Southeastern Conference, and started the league season for Arkansas at 1-0. The Bulldogs drop to 1-2 on the year and 0-2 in league play.
The game appeared in hand for Arkansas with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, but Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray went twice to Kris Durham for big pass plays to set up two scores that tied the game entering the final minute.
Murray closed strong after a rough first half, but Mallett got the final drive.
With just 47 seconds to work with, Mallett took Arkansas 73 yards in just three plays. He connected with senior tight end D.J. Williams twice over the middle, the first for 18 yards and the next for 15 to the UG 40 yard line.
Without using a time out, Mallett brought Arkansas to the line and spied Greg Childs down the right sideline. Childs made one move to shake his defender and broke for the end zone and the game winner with 14 seconds to play.
For the day, Mallett finished with 21-33-0 for his 380 yards and three touchdown passes. His 380 yards moved the junior to sixth all-time at Arkansas in career passing with 4,705 yards. He also moved to ninth in total yardage at Arkansas with 4,708 after today's game.
Joe Adams led the Razorback receivers with six catches for 130 yards while Williams also had six for 61.
Before Mallett's heroics, Georgia pulled within a score with a touchdown catch by Tavarres King
King pulled down two key receptions for the Bulldogs on the drive which brought them within seven, 24-17, with 7:52 left. His 25-yarder kept the drive going at midfield, then King pulled in a crossing pattern and slipped into the end zone from 10 yards out for the score.
Durham's second big catch, this one of 31 yards, set the stage for Washaun Ealey's four-yard touchdown run, and Walsh tied the game at 24-24 with 3:55 left.
Arkansas enjoyed a commanding halftime lead. An 11-play drive for Georgia took the Bulldogs deep into Arkansas territory for the first time since the opening possession. The Razorback defense stiffens, and Georgia settled for a 43-yard field goal from Blair Walsh at 2:44 in the third and a 17-10 deficit.
Mallett took Arkansas 74-yards on seven plays in just under three minutes to close the third quarter, finishing up with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Wingo, Jr.
Mallett play fake on third down locked the Bulldogs to the line of scrimmage. Selling the play after the drop, Mallett looked up to a wide open Chris Gragg With a 10-yard cushion behind the Bulldog secondary thanks to the play call, Gragg took the pass in stride for the 57-yard touchdown strike, the 8th of Mallett's UA career over 50 yards.
Georgia responded by mixing run and pass early before Murray connected with King for 47 yards. Aaron Murray's 1-yard run capped the 8-play, 73-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:35 in the quarter.
The teams traded drives for the balance of the first quarter until Arkansas marched 71 yards, again at the arm of Mallett. Three key passes, the first to Childs for 27 yards, then Adams for 24 set the stage for a crossing pattern to Williams of 18 yards that takes the ball to the UGA 1 just after the start of the second quarter. After back-to-back UG penalties, Knile Davis, had the one-yard run for the TD.
Razorback defense shut down the Bulldogs for the entire second quarter, while Arkansas picked up three more as the period ended.
Arkansas marched from its own 20 in the final minute, setting the stage for freshman Zach Hocker to boom a 48-yard field goal and send the teams to halftime with the Razorbacks up, 17-7.