Athens, GA (Sports Network) – Ryan Mallett threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Greg Childs with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as 12th-ranked Arkansas opened SEC play with a thrilling 31-24 victory over Georgia at Sanford Stadium.
Mallett finished 21-of-33 for 380 yards with three touchdowns for the Razorbacks (3-0, 1-0 SEC), who snapped a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. Arkansas hadn’t won in this series since a 20-10 road triumph on October 2, 1993.
Georgia (1-2, 0-2) rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game on Washaun Ealey’s three-yard touchdown run with 3:55 left.
The Bulldogs trailed 24-10 after Mallett found an uncovered Ronnie Wingo Jr. streaking down the right sideline for a 22-yard TD with eight seconds to play in the third quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray led Georgia on consecutive scoring drives sandwiched around an Arkansas punt.
Murray hit Tavarres King in the middle of the field and he broke a couple of tackles before leaping into the end zone for a 10-yard score.
Forced to punt from his own goal line, Dylan Breeding’s kick was downed at the Georgia 48-yard line. Murray completed a 35-yard pass to Kris Durham on first down, and Ealey capped the drive four plays later.
After an exchange of punts, Arkansas got the ball back with under a minute remaining and Mallett moved the Razorbacks 73 yards on three plays.
Mallett completed passes of 18 and 15 yards to D.J. Williams to put the ball at the Georgia 40. He then threw a strike to Childs, who sidestepped one defender and rumbled down the left sideline for the decisive score.
Brandon Boykin returned the ensuing kickoff to the Georgia 36, and the Razorbacks prevailed when Murray’s long toss was knocked down in the end zone.
“It was a hard football game,” said Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. “They came back in the second half. We were able to execute our two-minute offense and score to win the game.”
Murray was 15-of-27 for 253 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a score.
“We got better today, but we just didn’t finish,” said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. “We got back into it, the crowd got into it. We had all we could hope for with time offensively, but we didn’t get any points on the board. We had a chance to stop them, but we didn’t. We punted them down and they had a long way to go, but they got it done and we didn’t.”
Arkansas wasted no time early, driving 79 yards in six plays on the game’s opening series. Mallett’s 15-yard completion to Childs moved the chains on 3rd-and-12 from the Razorbacks’ 19-yard line. Following an incompletion by Mallett on first down, Broderick Green ran for a modest gain before an offsides penalty set up a 3rd-and-1. Mallett finished the drive by hooking up with Chris Gragg for a 57-yard touchdown.
The Bulldogs responded on their first offensive sequence, tying the game on Murray’s one-yard score.
Knile Davis burrowed his way into the end zone from a yard out to put Arkansas up 14-7 early in the second quarter, and Zach Hocker extended the lead to 10 with a 48-yard field goal in the waning moments of the first half.
Blair Walsh drilled a 43-yard field goal to trim Georgia’s deficit to 17-10 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
Arkansas has won eight of its last nine games dating back to last season…Joe Adams had 130 yards on six receptions for the Razorbacks…Ealey ran for 87 yards on 18 carries…Durham caught five passes for 101 yards…Arkansas improved to 10-9 in SEC openers…The Bulldogs still hold a 9-4 edge in the series with the Razorbacks.