ATHENS, Ga. – Ryan Mallett threw a 40-yard scoring pass to Greg Childs with 15 seconds remaining and No. 12 Arkansas picked up a huge win on the road after blowing a two-touchdown lead, beating Georgia 31-24 on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a 24-10 deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game on Washaun Ealey's 3-yard touchdown run with 3:55 remaining.
Georgia got the ball back with a chance to win it, but Jake Bequette halted the drive with a ferocious sack of Aaron Murray, ripping off his helmet in the process. A poor punt by Drew Butler gave Arkansas (3-0, 1-0) the ball back at its own 28 with 47 seconds left.
Plenty of time for Mallett, who completed three straight passes — the last of them to Childs, who faked out a defender at the 25 and went the rest of the way untouched for the winning score.
Mallett boosted his Heisman hopes by throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns, all of them on badly blown coverages by the Bulldogs. He went 57 yards to Chris Gragg just 2½ minutes into the game and hooked up with Ronnie Wingo Jr. on a 22-yard scoring play in the final seconds of the third quarter, giving Arkansas a 24-10 lead heading to the final period.
Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray rallied the Bulldogs, hooking up with Kris Durham on two long passes that set up a pair of touchdowns. Ealey punched over the second of those, tying the game at 24. The Bulldogs had all the momentum but couldn't hold on at the end.
The Razorbacks won on the road for just the second time in Bobby Petrino's three seasons as coach to set up a huge game next week at home against top-ranked Alabama.
Playing its third straight game without star receiver A.J. Green, Georgia slipped to 0-2 in the SEC for the first time since 1993. Green is serving a four-game suspension for selling a bowl jersey for $1,000 to someone considered an agent by the NCAA.
Murray passed for 253 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King with 7:52 remaining, and ran for Georgia's first TD on a fourth-and-goal bootleg from the 1. Durham had five catches for 101 yards.
Joe Adams was Mallett's favorite receiver, hauling in six passes for 130 yards.
Georgia had hoped to get back Green for the crucial game, but his appeal was turned down Friday evening, less than 24 hours before kickoff.
The game started like a repeat of last year's shootout in Fayetteville, when Mallett and Joe Cox each threw five TD passes in Georgia's wild 52-41 victory.
Arkansas stunned the Bulldogs before many of the fans had settled into their seats for the noon kickoff. On third-and-1 from his own 43, Mallett completely fooled the Georgia defense with a fake handoff, holding the ball behind his back until Gragg could get into the clear. No one was within 30 yards of the receiver as he cruised into the end zone.
Georgia responded. Murray hooked up with King on a 47-yard throw, then Murray pulled a bit of chicanery on fourth down from the 1. He faked the handoff to the right, then took off to his left and dived into the corner of the end zone for the tying touchdown.
Knile Davis scored on a 1-yard run to give Arkansas a 14-7 lead, and the defenses began to toughen. Zach Hocker knocked through a 48-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the half to send the Razorbacks to the locker room with a 17-7 lead.
Blair Walsh connected from 43 yards to pull Georgia to 17-10 before Wingo got loose along the right sideline, hauling in the 22-yard touchdown pass that gave Arkansas its seemingly comfortable lead.