Henry Heave changed course of SEC in ’15

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - WALLY HALL

The Heav­enly Heave or Henry Heave or Hunter Heave — call it what­ever you want — on the af­ter­noon of Nov. 7, 2015, in Ox­ford, Miss., was like a spir­i­tual in­ter­ven­tion.

The CBS-tele­vised game eas­ily could have been ranked higher than No. 5 in our se­ries of most mem­o­rable games since Arkansas joined the SEC 25 years ago.

Twice it ap­peared Ole Miss had es­caped and would move one step closer to a Western Di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship, but Hog hero­ics ap­peared in mam­moth pro­por­tion.

Brandon Allen had tied the game with his sixth touch­down pass of the game with just 53 sec­onds to play, and the de­fense held to force over­time. Over­time gen­er­ally

fa­vors the home team, un­less that team is play­ing the Razorbacks.

The Rebels scored first on an 8-yard run by quar­ter­back Chad Kelly, who ran for 3 touch­downs and 110 yards and passed for 368 yards and 3 more touch­downs.

Arkansas, start­ing at the Rebels’ 25, ended up go­ing the wrong way. Allen had a rare in­com­ple­tion, then the Hogs were hit with a 5-yard penalty for de­lay of game be­fore Allen was sacked for a 10-yard loss. An­other in­com­plete pass set up fourth and 25 at the Ole Miss 40.

A bomb could have gone off in Vaught-Hem­ing­way Sta­dium and no one would have heard it. Vic­tory seemed to be one snap away, and when Allen hit tight end Hunter Henry for 14 yards — 11 short of the first down — pan­de­mo­nium poured through Ox­ford.

But Henry, at 6-6 and 255 pounds, was not com­ing down eas­ily. As he started to top­ple, he in­ten­tion­ally fum­bled the ball back­ward, heav­ing it in the di­rec­tion of sev­eral Ra­zor­back jer­seys.

The ball one-hopped into run­ning back Alex Collins arms, who streaked to the 11 where he was gang-tack­led. Not re­al­iz­ing he al­ready had a first down, he fum­bled, but wide re­ceiver Do­minique Reed re­cov­ered for the Hogs at the 11 for a first down. Two plays later, Allen passed for 9 yards to Drew Mor­gan for a touch­down, and the Razorbacks lined up to go for two and the vic­tory.

More hero­ics, and luck, were whistling down High­way 72, and it was a whole Hog con­voy.

Ole Miss came into that game look­ing to win the SEC West ti­tle. The Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville was look­ing to get one game closer to bowl el­i­gi­bil­ity.

The Rebels had jumped from No. 15 in The As­so­ci­ated Press poll to No. 3 af­ter beat­ing Alabama 43-37 in Tuscaloosa. De­spite later los­ing to Florida, the Rebs were 4-1 in SEC play.

At­lanta and the SEC Cham­pi­onship Game were in Ole Miss’ grasp.

The Razorbacks were 4-4 over­all and ear­lier had suf­fered a three-game los­ing streak.

That day, though, in over­time they trailed 52-51 when Allen rolled to his right on the two- point con­ver­sion but couldn’t avoid Mar­quis Haynes, who got one big hand on him and took him down. The other hand was full of Allen’s face­mask, and in that mo­ment be­fore the yel­low flag flew, the Ole Miss side­line was pho­tographed in a pre­ma­ture cel­e­bra­tion.

With an­other shot, of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dan Enos then called a play no one on the other side of the ball was ex­pect­ing.

Allen took the snap and rolled right again, but this time he pulled up short, cut against the grain and dove into the end zone. The guy who had passed for 442 yards and six touch­downs had put the team on his back and used his legs and block­ing to beat Ole Miss 53-52.

It was a game that will never be for­got­ten in Arkansas, and rarely men­tioned in Mis­sis­sippi. The Rebels would not lose an­other game and go to the Sugar Bowl, but it was Alabama — thanks to the Hogs’ vic­tory — who won the Western Di­vi­sion, the SEC cham­pi­onship and the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

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