As he went to the line of scrimmage, Lunney began to pray. Please, God, he mumbled. Please, God. Lunney rolled left and found receiver J.J. Meadors in the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point was good. Arkansas's season turned on that win over the SEC West's former bullyboys.
It wasn't luck. Hill, a tough, speedy back who's convinced he is destined to turn the Razorback program around, has been a revelation this season, rushing for 1,151 yards and 14 touchdowns. Todd Latourette, a freshman walk-on, has emerged as one of the steadier kickers in the conference. The Razorback defense, especially, has been superb, riding an intense off-season conditioning program and the wide-open, unpredictable blitzing schemes of coordinator Joe Lee Dunn to the third-best defense in the SEC.
"Do they have the best players? No," says Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill. "Are they playing the best? Yes. They are playing above their heads."
That was the case on Saturday, for everybody except Lunney. He uncharacteristically threw two interceptions, doubling his total for the season, but he doesn't care much. "I know I'm doing my job if we win," he says.
And after cutting through the crowd on the field, there was this: Lunney found his dad and the two hugged tightly as the stadium shook. None of the carping fans, critical columnists or doubting coaches mattered anymore. Speaking of it later, Lunney's eyes got moist. "That was a nice moment," he says. He tells how he plans to ride home to Fort Smith with his family later this day, all 2� hours filled with the winning. "We're going to get to soak it up and talk about it. What a long way we've come in a year. It means a lot for my family."
It means almost everything.