Until that fourth quarter, the day — heck, the week — had unfolded in storybook fashion. Mallett corralled a wild snap on the game’s first play and completed a pass for 31 yards. His next throw went for 43 and a touchdown. A Razorback Stadium-record crowd of 76,808 fans roared along — some of the students had camped since Monday for great seats.
Arkansas’ spotty defense pitched in with two forced turnovers, and the Razorbacks led 17-7 at halftime, and then 20-7 late in the third quarter. A celebration seemed imminent, and there were so many reasons to party.
Arkansas would become 2010’s “it” team. Mallett would play savior, a Michigan transfer-turned-even money Heisman Trophy favorite. And beating No. 1 would transfigure the Hogs — two years ago at this time, they were amid consecutive losses to Alabama, Texas and Florida by a combined 139-31.