ATHENS, Ga.It didn't look like Arkansas was going to ring the bell with a couple of minutes left. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray dropped back with intentions to convert yet another third and short.
That's when Jake Bequette and Greg Childs began to fulfill their Friday night promise to each other. They each made a huge play to help the Hogs escape Sanford Stadium with a 31-24 SEC road victory.
"Our Friday night ritual on the road is to go to the fitness room and the pool, get our usual workout," Bequette said. "I told Greg I had visions of him catching the winning touchdown pass. He said he had visions of me making a big sack at the end of the game."
Bequette crunched Murray on the third-and-4 with 54 seconds left, the first stop by the Hog defense since early in the final quarter. Childs then finished off a three-play, 74-yard scoring drive with a 40-yard catch and run with 15 seconds left.
"They were in cover two, the same as the first two plays, and they went down on D. J. Williams real hard since he had hurt them," Childs said. "The corner came down and I knew I was open. There was only the safety left and when I got by him, I knew it was a touchdown. You get the pre-snap read and you know what it is -- that after the safety there isn't anyone left."
Ryan Mallett found D. J. Williams for plays of 18 and 15 yards to start the drive. The big quarterback said it was just a matter of executing the two-minute game.
"We needed that," Mallett said. "We just ran the same plays and Greg made a great play to get in the end zone.
"We call that our bread and butter plays. It's our two-minute package and they kept giving us the easy one. I guess they thought we were going deep and we ate that up."
Childs said, "It was just a gap because of what D. J. had done to them. That was nice because that's exactly what Bequette told me was going to happen. We laughed about that in the dressing room."
After ringing the bell. The Hogs filled Sanford Stadium with the sound of their bell as players swung the rope as they entered the locker room.
"That's the sweetest it's ever sounded," Bequette said. "It was a heckuva lot of fun. We take it on the road, but this is the most fun it's been to ring it."
Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said the defense was owed a favor.
"That last drive, there was a lot riding," McGee said. "We had the lead and then left our defense out there. We had an obligation to our defense to get that last touchdown after leaving them on the field. It was a big drive for our program."
Willy Robinson said it's a matter of taking turns.
"There was a lot of eb and flow to this game," Robinson said. "We'd done a good job of getting off the field and holding onto the rope. We gave up some big plays in the fourth quarter, but then Bequette made a big play. That's when our offense grabbed (the rope) and took it over.
"We didn't hit on all cylinders in the game. We went in spurts. When offense and defense and special teams all click together, it's hard to manage and cage it. "
Bequette said the Hogs were effective for three quarters with some games up front.
"We wanted to have some late movement to get them off balance," Bequette said. "That was the plan all week. Then they caught up to that a little and we stopped it. We just didn't make enough plays in the fourth quarter, until the end."
Robinson said, "They tried to slide their protection away from Jake at the end and just slid a back down to cut him. Our coverage was just good enough to give him time to get to him after the cut by the back."
Bequette thought he had forced a fumble.
"I thought the ball came loose, but it was his helmet," Bequette said. "I don't know how he didn't fumble. That's as hard as I could have hit him. Hats off to him to hanging on with that hit."
Mallett said, "That was a heckuva play by Bequette. That got us the ball back. We had to do something with it.
"This is a big victory. But it's time to go back to work. We can't dwell on it. We made some mistakes in the second half, but we showed some toughness at the end to get the victory."
Wide receiver Joe Adams, who had six catches for 130 yards, said it came down to making plays after the catch.
"Coach always talks about breaking tackles," Adams said. "You knew D. J. Williams wasn't going to go down easy and when I saw Greg get that last catch, I knew he wasn't going down. I tried to make some plays after the catch and I'm the little one."
There was an emotional moment after the game when someone made a telephone call to Dennis Johnson back home.
"Dennis got out of the hospital today," Mallett said. "We called him and he counted it down in the locker room after the victory. He's from my hometown so it was pretty emotional for me."
It wasn't always pretty in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs had the momentum for most of the period.
"Our offense put the defense in a bad position," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "But Ryan showed maturity and knowledge at the end. Our sideline was poised and the communication was good at the end. I can't say enough about the way we executed at the end."
Georgia's two fourth quarter TDs were the result of the offense sputtering, Petrino said.
"We weren't happy with that," he said. "But we did do a good at the end of the first half in our two-minute and at the end of the game. The key is what you do on that first play in those situations. You hit the opening play in those situations and you go for it.
"I thought they had a hard time tackling Joe Adams. We made some plays after the catch."
There was a little talk about Alabama after the game.
"This was a big one to go on the road and win, then we get the No. 1 team in the country back at our place," Bequette said. "But this was a heckuva victory. We had to get this one today. We knew that. We knew how big it was and now it's time to go home and get ready."
Adams did a little talking on the field and delivered a push out of bounds in the fourth quarter that cost the Hogs a personal foul. He apologized for that, then said the Hogs need to do something about what they didn't do in Tuscaloosa last year.
"That wasn't one of our better games," Adams said. "We know we can play better than that. We want to do better this week when Alabama comes to our place."
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