ATHENS, Ga. (ESPN.com news services) -- D.J. Shockley watched the second half from the bench. His left knee was propped up and heavily wrapped. A pair of crutches was at his side. With its senior quarterback sidelined by a sprained knee, No. 4 Georgia hardly had the look of a championship contender.
Little-used Joe Tereshinski took over for Shockley and the Bulldogs barely survived against Arkansas, a nearly three-touchdown underdog that gave Georgia all it could handle before losing 23-20 on Saturday.
Coach Mark Richt doesn't think Shockley will need surgery or miss the rest of the season, but he's doubtful for the annual "Cocktail Party" game against bitter rival Florida next weekend.
"We're expecting to get him back this season," Richt said. "We just don't know when."
Shockley's roommate, Tyson Browning, and his father, Don Shockley, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that team doctors said Shockley had suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament. Team doctor Ron Courson wouldn't comment on the injury.
So Tereshinski will spend the upcoming week preparing for his first career start against a team the Bulldogs have beaten only twice in the last 15 meetings.
"We can still accomplish our goals. We will accomplish our goals," nose tackle Ray Gant vowed. "No one man makes the Georgia Bulldogs."
But the Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) weren't nearly as effective on offense after Shockley went down with about 10 minutes to go in the first half. They finished with only 217 yards -- less than half of their SEC-leading average of 454 --
despite facing a defense that ranked 11th in the conference at 424 yards per game.
After Tereshinski came in, Georgia basically turned the game over to its defense and special teams.
The Bulldogs didn't take any chances in the red zone, settling for three field goals by Brandon Coutu.
Tim Jennings made a leaping interception just four plays after Shockley was hurt, leading to a touchdown that gave Georgia a 14-0 lead. Tyson Browning had a 52-yard kickoff return that set up a field goal. Coutu's final 3-pointer came after Peyton Hillis
fumbled a punt, with Mike Gilliam recovering for the Bulldogs at the Arkansas 19.
"The defense definitely had a lot of pressure on it after D.J. went down," Gant said. "The things he can do, he means so much to this team. To lose a guy like that is devastating."
Tereshinski did just enough to keep the Bulldogs on course for a spot in the SEC championship game. They would likely clinch the Eastern Division title with a victory over the Gators.
"When your number is called, you've got to be ready," said Tereshinski, who was 5-of-9 for 91 yards. "I think I'm ready."
The junior came up big on his third snap of the game, converting a third-and-5 with a 16-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi just short of the end zone. Brannan Southerland dove over for a 1-yard touchdown on the next play.
Tereshinski also completed the longest pass of his career, a 43-yarder to Sean Bailey. That led to Coutu's 32-yard field goal just before halftime and sent the Bulldogs to the locker room up 17-7 -- just enough of a cushion, as it turned out.
The Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4) managed to keep things close, largely because of Darren McFadden. He rushed for 190 yards to set a couple of Arkansas freshman records. He also scored a pair of touchdowns, the first on a stunning 70-yard run.
"I've never been more proud of a football team than I am today," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "They laid their hearts and guts out for 60 minutes. They went toe-to-toe with the No. 4 team in the country."
McFadden scored on a 1-yard run with 4:53 remaining, pulling Arkansas within a field goal. But Gordon Ely-Kelso punted Arkansas back to its own 7-yard line with just more than two minutes left, and Georgia's defense held. Will Thompson had a big sack to help
finish off the Razorbacks.
Shockley, who waited three years behind David Greene for his chance to start, came into the game as the top-rated passer in the SEC and 13th nationally. He also provided a threat with his running ability, but that's what got him in trouble when he took off up the middle on a third-and-15 play, went down awkwardly on the tackle and twisted his left knee.
Shockley hobbled to the bench and was in obvious pain as the training staff worked on his leg. Just before halftime, he limped to the locker room to a standing ovation from the Sanford Stadium crowd, done for the day, though he did return to the sideline on
crutches to watch the second half. From time to time, teammates came over to console him.
Tereshinski, normally used in mop-up roles, had a couple of crucial mistakes, botching a handoff (leading to a fumble that was recovered by Arkansas) and throwing an interception. But Georgia remained unbeaten, which was the main priority.
"I didn't feel nervous," Tereshinski said. "I just focused on what I had to do out there. Everyone stepped up when they had to for us."
McFadden took advantage of an injury depleted Georgia defense, setting Arkansas freshman records for rushing yards in a game -- he broke the old mark by the end of the third quarter -- and a season, with four more games to add to his mark.
The Razorbacks kept everyone guessing on their quarterback, giving four players work with the first team during practice. After all that, sophomore Robert Johnson started his seventh straight game and went the distance. He completed 11-of-19 for 116 yards.
Chris Balseiro kicked a pair of field goals for Arkansas but also missed a 45-yarder early in the fourth quarter that might have altered the outcome.
"Well, it's good to win," a relieved Richt said. "We certainly could have lost it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero says he's ready to move on from episode in which his decision to vote incorrectly as a Pac-12 rep led to a public admonishment from the commissioner.
SEC Network's Paul Finebaum reacts to the Ole Miss uproar after ESPN's KC Joyner predicted the Rebels will go 7-5 in 2016.
AP's Ralph Russo joins The Paul Finebaum Show to break down what could happen if the Big 12 extends its conference.
Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson joins Highly Questionable to share the craziest offers he received while being recruited by colleges, as well as recounts why he decommitted from Oklahoma to go to SMU.
With so many departures and holes to fill across the division, no team is in great shape at linebacker.
ESPN'S KC Joyner joins The Paul Finebaum Show to give his take on the Rebels' strength of schedule and impact of replacing important starters.