Arkansas makes for unfriendly reunion with Longhorns
Posted: Saturday January 01, 2000 09:04 PM
Hoppin' Hog: Arkansas' D.J. Cooper shares his excitement after sacking Texas QB Major Applewhite. AP
DALLAS (AP) -- Beating Texas would have been good enough for Arkansas fans. Seeing the Razorbacks score often and pound Longhorns quarterbacks and running backs only made it better.
Cedric Cobbs scored on a 30-yard catch and a 37-yard run and Michael Jenkins had a 42-yard touchdown run, all in the second half, as No. 24 Arkansas returned to the Cotton Bowl and beat No. 14 Texas 27-6 Saturday.
"Very few Arkansas teams have beaten Texas, much less 27-6 -- that's awesome," Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt said. "To beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl is something our program and our fans will never forget."
Arkansas (8-4), which ended a seven-game bowl losing streak that dated to December 1985, broke open a tight game by scoring on four straight drives in the third and fourth quarters.
The defense came up big, too, making eight sacks and holding the Longhorns (9-5) to minus-27 yards rushing -- the worst in school history. Arkansas also had a goal-line stand that kept Texas from tying the game at 10.
The Longhorns, whose leading receiver and top defensive lineman were suspended Thursday, ended the season with three straight losses. They didn't score an offensive touchdown over the final 10 quarters.
"It was a bad day at the ranch," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We got whipped."
Hogs fans set the tone. Although the school sold only 21,000 tickets, its followers made up more than half the crowd of 72,723 and seemingly all wore red for the first meeting since 1991 of the former Southwest Conference rivals.
Razorbacks rooters were loud before and during the game, even cheering "S-E-C" as a reminder of the league they joined after bolting the SWC. They continued screaming long after the game.
Players responded by carrying the Cotton Bowl trophy, Arkansas' first since 1976, to a corner of the stadium where the band was, triggering more chants of "Pig! Sooie!"
While some players shared hugs and handshakes at midfield, others threw and kicked footballs into the seats. Cheerleaders stood in line, arms locked, and kept cheering, too. Nobody seemed willing to leave.
The game began like one of the old-time Texas-Arkansas clashes, when teams kept the ball on the ground and fought for field position as much as points. It was tied at 3 at halftime, although it had more to do with bad offenses than good defenses.
The Razorbacks began taking control early when rover Chris Chalmers took the Longhorns out of field-goal range with a third-down sack, stalling Texas' first drive.
The punt pinned the Razorbacks at their 3, and the next two plays were nearly safeties. But quarterback Clint Stoerner bailed them out with a 47-yard pass to Anthony Lucas, then a few plays later, he threw the TD pass to Cobbs.
The Longhorns answered by driving to the Razorbacks' 1, but the defense stopped them on first and second downs, then pushed them back to the 5 on third down. Texas settled for a 23-yard field goal by Kris Stockton to get within 10-6.
Then Jenkins, a little-used senior, took his first carry of the day for a touchdown and Cobbs ran for his score on Arkansas' next offensive play. Tony Dodson capped the final drive with a 27-yard field goal.
"Our offensive line kept telling me they're tired," Nutt said. "When you can run the football, you can make big plays in the passing game."
Texas' offense could not recover from the absence of receiver Kwame Cavil, who caught 100 passes for 1,188 yards during the season.
"We can't say that hurt us," Ryan Nunez, the other starting receiver, said. "We had to put it behind us."
The Longhorns had planned to use both Major Applewhite and Chris Simms at quarterback, but had no choice after Applewhite left with a knee injury early in the fourth quarter.
Neither was very productive. Applewhite was 15-of-21 for 121 yards and Simms was 9-of-18 for 91 yards. The Longhorns threw for just 33 yards in the first half but finished with 212.
The Razorbacks gave much of the credit for their defensive effort to interim coordinator Bobby Allen, who's been doing the job since Keith Burns became Tulsa coach last month.
"He was the unsung hero throughout the year," Nutt said.
Stoerner was 12-of-23 for 194 yards with two interceptions and Cobbs had 98 yards on 15 carries.
Cobbs, a freshman, was selected offensive MVP, and linebacker D.J. Cooper, who had two sacks and another tackle for a loss, was the defensive MVP.
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