In fact, the visitors probably thought the Arkansas junior tailback was responsible for the 5.2 earthquake that was shaking the ground as they drove away from Fayetteville.
Johnson had 252 all-purpose yards and Tyler Wilson and Jarius Wright connected for two touchdown passes as the No. 7 Razorbacks downed the No. 9 Gamecocks 44-28 before 73,804 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in the SEC's much less-publicized match-up for top 10 BCS teams.
The win on Homecoming – coupled with No. 1 LSU's 9-6 win at No. 2 Alabama - kept Arkansas' hopes for an SEC West championship, a BCS bowl berth and even a national title alive. The Razorbacks (8-1, 5-1) – the winner of five straight – must win home games against Tennessee and Mississippi State to set up the showdown with LSU.
After edging both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, Arkansas started fast and then finished strong against a more respected foe.
"I like our team," Petrino said. "I like the way we compete. You saw a tremendous amount of competitive spirit from our team and our seniors We've pulled out close ones on the road for the past few weeks and it has pulled us together as a team. We don't point fingers, we've just come closer together as a team and you can't say enough about them winning in close game."
The only negatives were a few dropped passes, a pick and a few stalled drives that kept the game – which saw Arkansas' 24-14 hafltime lead to 30-28 early in the fourth quarter - from being a total rout.
Still touchdown runs by Ronnie Wingo and Broderick Green and a couple of South Carolina turnovers put the game away on a night when the home team had a 435-207 total offense advantage.
"I felt we were the faster team on the field," Petrino said. "I really did. The whole game I didn't think they could cover our receivers. We felt like we were running the ball well. Dennis was hitting holes. We just needed to score more touchdowns. There easily could have been 60 points on the board. We made some mistakes, but one thing we didn't do was get down when we made the mistakes. We just kept competing."
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) no longer controls its own destiny for the SEC Eastern title with Georgia now alone in first.
Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier gave Arkansas its due.
"Arkansas played very well and they were a lot better than we were tonight – certainly on offense, defense and special teams," Spurrier said. "Their special teams were very good, ours were not so good tonight. It's one loss, it's a game where we didn't play our best."
Johnson had 252 all-purpose yards with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, rushing 15 times for 86 yards, catching 4 passes for 36 yards and adding in another 32 yards of kickoff returns.
Both times South Carolina took a lead, Arkansas responded with a big play – the first Johnson's 98-yard return on which he had great blocking led by freshman kicker returner Keante Minor.
That turned a 7-3 deficit into a 10-7 lead with 2:13 left in the first quarter.
"It was awesome," Petrino said. "It was very well-blocked and he got to the seam. He set it up real well. It was a right return and he brought the ball toward the middle and set it perfect, hit the crease and then went the distance.
"I was really happy to see Keante Minor and his block, being smart with it and being a true freshmen with that kind of effort."
Wilson was 20-of-37 passing for 299 yards with the two touchdowns and an interception that was returned for a score.
"I thought he played real well," Petrino said of Wilson. "He competed hard and distributed the ball. He was really into it. He had the one play where he was just trying to do too much on the interception for a touchdown."
That aforementioned interception came when Wilson was about to be sacked.
His pass was picked by South Carolina's Devin Taylor and ran back 48 yards to give South Carolina a 14-10 advantage.
That lasted just 15 seconds as Wilson hit Wright on a 68-yard touchdown strike on which he put a move on the last two defenders and raced to the end zone.
Zach Hocker's PAT gave Arkansas a 17-14 lead with 12:49 left before halftime.
The pair would connect again before intermission on a 16-yard toss that surged the Razorbacks ahead 24-14 at the 4:11 mark.
Wison's success was due in part to only being sacked one but by a vaunted South Carolina defensive front.
"I was really happy with our O-line," Petrino said. "They took a lot of pride coming into the game. I think as the week went on they got tired of hearing about their defensive front. We competed real well and Tyler really helped by getting it out of his hand quick and really moving in the pocket a few times. Our timing was better in our passing game and it really helped."
Wright was named the Crip Hall award winner as the outstanding senior in the Homecoming game.
He had 4 catches for 103 yards.
"We had a big night tonight," Wright said. "Tyler came out and threw the ball well. We were lucky and able to answer each time they made a big play, which really helped us."
Had that not been announced with 10 minutes left in the game, perhaps Jake Bequette (three of his team's season-high five sacks) might have least got a share of the award.
The Arkansas defense allowed just 49 yards total offense in the first half and just 207 for the game.
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw had 54 positive rushing yards, but lost 35 while being sacked five times.
He was 16-of-25 passing for 128 yards, but was knocked out of the game late.
"I thought the whole defense played well for us," Petrino said. "Jake got some real big sacks for us and that is the most sacks we have had this year. Our pressure was good and we certainly did a good job except for stopping the quarterback draw. We even knew it was coming and we couldn't stop it. So they executed it well."
Arkansas won despite Wingo and Cobi Hamilton dropping two sure touchdown passes and the normally reliable Zach Hocker making just three of five field goals.
"That shocks you," Petrino said. "That is something that they (Wingo and Hamilton) never do and it just so happens that they both did it at the same time – or in the same game. I thought we responded well to it."
Hocker made field goals of 44 in the first half and 21 and 25 in the second half.
He sandwiched those around two misses of 45 and 29 yards in the second quarter, but he also recovered a fumble.
"He wasn't as good as he usually was on the field goals, but I thought he did a really good job on his kickoffs," Petrino said. "Even the one that they returned, he put the ball into the corner. I was shocked they got that many yards because that was probably one of his best kickoffs of the night.
"He missed a couple of field goals and that's not like Zach," Petrino added. "It was great to see him come back in the second half and respond and kick it threw the uprights."
Hocker's first field goal on Arkansas' initial possession of the game put the Razorbacks ahead 3-0 at the 11:33 mark.
It was the 12th straight game that the Gamecocks had failed to score first in.
After going in down 24-14 at half, South Carolina made a run.
Shaw scored on a 9-yard run and a 1-yard dash around two Hocker field goals.
When he got in the second time, the Gamecocks were within 30-28 with 10:30 left in the game.
Johnson returned the ensuing kick to the 32 and the Razorbacks went 63 yards in eight plays with Wingo cashing in from 4 yards out for a 37-28 lead with 8:09 remaining.
Alonzo Highsmith's interception of Shaw gave Arkansas a chance for a knockout punch, the Razorbacks failed on fourth down and goal at the 1.
Shaw was hit by Bequette and injured, giving Arkansas the ball at the South Carolina 1 and Green scored with 4:07. Hocker's PAT capped the scoring at 44-27 on a night when Petrino lauded the atmosphere in his team's first home game in nearly a month.
They'll have another home game next Saturday against Tennessee at a time that will be announced in the next two days.
"It's great to be back home," Petrino said. "The hog walk before the game was awesome and I think that's the most people we've had at it. The fans' energy is great for us and playing at night was perfect because it allowed us to get back into a routine, which is good for our players."
Dennis Johnson finishes off his 98-yard kickoff return.
Tyler Wilson completed 20-of-37 passes for 299 yards with a pair of touchdown and one interception.
Jarius Wright was named the Crip Hall Award Winner for the top senior performer in the Arkansas' Homecoming game. He had 4 catches for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Jake Bequette ended up with three sacks on the night.
Bobby Petrino thought the Hogs were physical.
Alonzo Highsmith returns an interception.
Chris Gragg had three catches.
Jake Bequette sacks Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
Tyler Wilson completed 20 of 37 passes.
Photos by Marc F. Henning