Arkansas 19, Tulsa 15

Cobi Hamilton

Arkansas ends Tulsa's seven-game winning streak by rallying for a fourth quarter touchdown and downing the Hurricane 19-15 Saturday afternoon before 64,451 yards at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

This may be the weekend daylight savings time arrives and Arkansas would no doubt like to turn the clock back on this forgettable 2012 season.

But at least Tulsa didn't turn it all the way back to 1976.

That remains the last time the Golden Hurricane has beaten Arkansas as the Razorbacks rallied in the fourth quarter to win 19-15 Saturday before a Homecoming crowd of 64,481 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"It was a good football game and we thought it would be a close game," Arkansas head coach John L. Smith said. "It was kind of two different halves for us. We didn't play in the first half like we would have liked on either side of the ball. We challenged them at halftime and I thought our defense really responded and so did our offense enough to win it."

A trio of Arkansas seniors - wideout Cobi Hamilton, tailback Dennis Johnson and quarterback Tyler Wilson – joined the Arkansas defense with some big plays in the fourth quarter as the home team rallied from a 15-13 deficit.

It allowed Arkansas (4-5) to salvage a split of its four-game non-conference slate and ended a seven-game winning streak for Tulsa (7-2).

"This win was huge," Smith said. "You go to the practice field and it will carry over and be positive for us…You won't believe these guys. They go work hard and give us everything they have."

Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said the plan was to blitz Wilson and turn to the throwing game on offense despite averaging 248.8 rushing in the first eight games.

"We were committed to being aggressive," Blankenship said. "We thought it was the way to win the game. We felt like we were outplaying them, but we didn't out score them. Credit Arkansas for making the plays they had to make.

"We are a tough team mentally. And we played against a big, physical SEC defensive line. That pushed us into the passing game and I thought we operated that very well."

Johnson – who had 22 carries for 109 yards rushing and caught three passes for another 43 yards - scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10:08 left.

That came after Wilson completed two big passes to Hamilton, who had 11 catches for 177 yards on the day and was named the Crip Hall Award winner as the outstanding senior performer in the homecoming game.

Hamilton, who had catches of 41 and 14 on that drive, now holds the single season mark for catches with 69 for 1,077 yards.

"What do you say about Cobi?" Smith asked. "He made a couple of plays the second half that were just outstanding. Great receivers will do that. They will go up and get the ball and come down with it. Which he did a couple of times that second half."

Hamilton was all smiles with his big day. He's had some monster games earlier this season, but they were mostly in losses. He could celebrate the record since it came in a victory.

"I didn't even know I was close," he said of passing Jarius Wright's mark of 66 catches last season.

"I was in the locker room when Coach (Paul) Petrino told me. He said congratulations. It's fun when it comes in a victory. We can enjoy this victory. That's what playing is all about, getting a victory. It means more because we won.

"Everybody is happy. The locker room is happy. The atmosphere is happy. It's just fun."

Petrino said, "It's great for Cobi. It's all about winning and losing. You can't jump up and down after a loss no matter what you do."

Hamilton has had six 100-yard receiving games this season, 11 for his career.

"He's had an amazing year," Petrino said, "when you consider that he didn't play much in the opener -- he was hurt after three plays -- and didn't get anything against Alabama. He only played about a half against Kentucky. So he's gotten all of that in less than seven games.

Wilson was 21-of-31 passing for 272 yards and without a touchdown. He threw one interception. He said Hamilton was his primary target because the Hurricane was afraid of his deep routes.

"They were playing off Cobi to the field, so we let him be a running back," Wilson said. "He made some nice runs after the catch. We were taking the easy completions to Cobi some of the time. But he made two big-time plays in our winning drive. He's a guy who understands what is needed and he's knows how to make a play."

Arkansas had a chance to add to its cushion, but Zach Hocker – who booted field goals of 31 and 46 on the day – missed a 26-yarder with 3:35 left.

But the much-maligned Arkansas defense did not allow Tulsa to get a first down on the ensuing series – which ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down.

"They played in the second half like we expected them to play," Smith said.

Arkansas failed to convert on a 4th and 1 with Johnson running the ball instead of kicking a field goal that would have take the lead to seven points.

"There wasn't much thought," Smith joked. "Here's the deal – if it was more than (1-yard) we probably would have kicked the field goal. We had just hit in up in there and Dennis had a big run. I thought let's win it right here, put it in his hands and see if he can get it done."

Razorback defensive end Chris Smith then sacked and stripped Tulsa quarterback Cody Green and Byran Jones recovered to seal the game.

"We stayed aggressive with them," Smith said. "We're not bad when we get aligned where we are supposed to and cover who we are supposed to. They accepted the challenge the second half."

Tulsa tailback Trey Watts – the son of congressman and former Oklahoma star J.C. Watts led the way with for his team with 81 yards rushing and 53 yards receiving.

Hurricane quarterback Cody Green – completing just over 50 percent of his passes coming into the game – was 22-of-37 for 222 yards.

Arkansas scored on its opening drive – a seven-play, 75-yard jaunt featuring Johnson and Hamilton.

Johnson, who had 86 yards of total offense on seven touches in the first quarter, finished it off with a seven-yard dash into the end zone.

"I thought Dennis ran the ball hard and the offensive line did a good job," Smith said.

He was also prominent on the second drive – a nine-play, 61-yard one that was capped by Hocker's 31-yard field goal with 4:06 showing.

In between those two scoring drives, Tulsa's Daniel Schwarz missed a 42-yard attempt.

The Hurricane cut it to 10-6 with the benefit of a questionable roughing the kicker penalty. Schwarz drilled a short field goal, but went down with a soccer-worthy flop after being brushed by Tevin Mitchell.

Tulsa eventually pushed it in on fourth-and-goal when 6-1, 260-pound Alex Singleton bulled in from the 1-yard line at the 11:42 mark.

Arkansas punter Dylan Breeding flipped the field, penning Tulsa at its own 2 with a 69-yard beauty over the head of the return man.

Nate Holmes followed up with a 25-yard punt return, but Arkansas could gain only one yard after he took it to the Hurricane 30. But, the Razorbacks settled for Hocker's 47-yard field goal that pushed Arkansas ahead 13-6 with 6:02 remaining before intermission.

After gaining 141 yards in the first quarter on its two drives, the Hogs had only 17 yards in the second quarter. They have scored only 27 points in the second quarter since the season opener while giving up 82 in the same time frame.

"I wish I knew what it was in the second quarter," Wilson said. "We talked about that in meetings this week. Today, we were trying to be aggressive. We went with the flea flicker on our first play of the quarter so that signals the mindset we tried to bring in the second quarter. We just seem to get our of rhythm. I don't know the answer. You guys ask me, but I don't know or we'd sure fix it."

Blankenship said the quick start by the Hogs was something he warned his team about.

"Arkansas has jumped on everyone early with the way they move the ball," Blankenship said. "Dennis Johnson is something we don't practice against or face often. Once we got up to game speed defensively, we were okay. I love the way our team competes and plays, and it sticks in your gut because I felt we should have won."

Tulsa cut it to 13-12 on Watts' 29-yard run with 2:49 left in the half, but failed to tie it when the PAT was blocked by D.D. Jones. It was the first PAT block by Arkansas player since Jeremy Harrell in 2004 against New Mexico State.

The Razorbacks appeared on their way to scoring on their first possession of the second half, but wideout Julian Horton fumbled inside Tulsa's 20. DeMarco Nelson returned the fumble into Arkansas territory and Schwarz finally found success on a 29-yard field goal to put the visitors up 15-13.

Mitchel made a touchdown-saving tackle on Watts and broke up a third-down pass in the end zone. Trey Flowers then batted down Green's pass to keep the Hurricane from padding their lead.

The Tulsa quarterback was upset that his team came produced just 15 points.

"We thought we had it, so it will sit bad for a while," Green said. "We wanted it, but know we have to live with it. It hurts worse because we got down into the red zone and we didn't get points. We have to put points on the board down there."

Arkansas will travel to face South Carolina at 11 a.m. next Saturday.

Chris Smith closes in on Tulsa quarterback Cody Green.

The football pops free as Chris Smith makes contact for the sack.

Chris Smith finishes off Green as Byran Jones closes for the fumble recovery to clinch the victory.

Cobi Hamilton had 11 catches for 177 yards.

Hamilton hauls in a pass in the second half.

Tyler Wilson launches a pass against Tulsa.

Julian Horton (2) fights for yardage after a first-half catch.

Dennis Johnson rushed for 109 yards on 22 tries.

Otha Peters (5) makes a tackle against Cody Green.

Ross Rasner takes down Keyarris Garrett.

Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated Recommended Stories