Posted: Saturday January 01, 2000 05:32 PM
DALLAS (Ticker) -- Arkansas could not have picked a better game in which to lay a whipping on its old rival.
The Razorbacks captured the Cotton Bowl for the first time in a quarter-century, routing 18th-ranked Texas, 27-6, behind a defense that frustrated then knocked out Major Applewhite and a strong performance by freshman running back Cedric Cobbs.
Arkansas (8-4) won for only the 20th time in 74 all-time meetings with the Longhorns (9-5). The schools met 60 straight times as members of the Southwest Conference before the Razorbacks departed for the Southeastern Conference before the 1992 season.
"This is a big win for our program," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "The seniors took us out the right way. Very few Arkansas teams have beaten Texas. To beat them in the Cotton Bowl is something our team or fans will not forget."
Arkansas sacked Applewhite and backup Chris Simms eight times, knocking Applewhite from the game with a left knee injury 3 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter. It was the Razorbacks' best defensive effort against Texas since a 42-6 rout in 1938.
The Longhorns set school and Cotton Bowl records with minus-27 rushing yards.
"These two teams match up very well and for them to beat us by 21 points in embarrassing," said Texas cornerback Ahmad Brooks.
"The game was even at halftime, but when you don't make plays you deserve to lose. They just outfought us today."
Cobbs, a product of Little Rock, Arkansas, hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Clint Stoerner with 5:44 left in the third quarter to snap a 3-3 tie. He also scampered 37 yards for a score early in the fourth to make it 24-6.
The 6-2, 216-pound Cobbs carried 15 times for 98 yards and became the first player in Arkansas history to rush for a touchdown and catch a scoring pass in a bowl game.
"I thought that our guys were stronger on the line than theirs were," Cobbs said. "They are strong in the weightroom, but it's better to be strong on the field. I thought we wore them down and that gave me the opportunity to get into their secondary and make some plays."
Tony Dodson kicked a pair of field goals and Michael Jenkins added a 42-yard TD run for the Razorbacks, who snapped a two-game Cotton Bowl losing streak, winning the Classic for the first time since defeating Georgia on New Year's Day 1976.
In breaking a seven-game postseason losing streak, the Razorbacks improved to 4-5 in the Cotton Bowl. It's their first postseason victory since topping Arizona State in the 1985 Holiday Bowl.
The game brought to a conclusion an emotional week for Texas. On Thursday, coach Mack Brown suspended star receiver Kwame Cavil, linebacker Jamal Joyner and defensive ends Aaron Humphrey and J.J. Kelly for violating team rules. All four players were sent home.
Applewhite completed 15-of-21 passes for 121 yards for Texas, but the Razorbacks took away the deep ball, something made easier by the loss of Cavil, who set school records this season for receptions and receiving yards.
"We just couldn't get things on track," Applewhite said. "We got into a hole early and committed a lot of penalties. Then we got into a groove and drove it down the field but weren't able to punch it in."
Simms, who as planned saw limited action in the first half, was 8-of-19 for 91 yards and directed a last-minute drive that ended on downs deep in Arkansas territory.
With the game tied, 3-3, Stoerner delivered the afternoon's biggest play. From his own 1, he threw a 47-yard strike down the middle of the field to Anthony Lucas.
"I screwed up because I should have given Anthony a go route instead of a slant," Stoerner said. "After I saw the coverage and they had jumped offsides, 'I thought what the heck, let's give it a shot.' So I threw it up and Anthony made another great catch."
Shortly thereafter, Stoerner's floater to the right was hauled in by Cobbs, who raced down the sideline for a touchdown that completed a nine-play, 97-yard drive.
"I think the difference in the ballgame was two plays," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We had a chance to get a safety on two straight plays on the goal line and don't make it. Then they call and out-and-up and make a perfect throw. Two plays after that we almost get the sack, but then he gets away and they score a touchdown."
Texas answered as Kris Stockton's 22-yard field goal cut the deficit to 10-6, but the Razorbacks responded with a quick 86-yard drive and grabbed an 11-point lead when Jenkins went yards up the middle for a score. He totaled 82 yards on six carries.
Cobb scored a little over two minutes later and Dodson, who connected from 25 yards in the first quarter, was good from 27 yards with 2:46 remaining to complete the scoring.
Texas, which is 10-10-1 in the Cotton Bowl, also received a 35-yard field goal by Stockton just over seven minutes into the second quarter.
Copyright © 2000|
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.