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Updated: Thursday, January 1, 2004 1:05 AM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL RECAP
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Arkansas 27, Missouri 14
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Arkansas Razorbacks
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MISSOURI TIGERS
Missouri Tigers
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SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (Ticker) -- Cedric Cobbs helped Arkansas run over its neighbor.

Cobbs rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown to lead a fierce ground attack, leading Arkansas to a 27-14 victory over Missouri in the Independence Bowl.

Despite being from neighboring states, the Tigers and Razorbacks were meeting for the first time since 1963.

Cobbs helped the Razorbacks (9-4) even the all-time series at two wins apiece as he carried 27 times. His 41-yard touchdown run in the second quarter opened a 21-7 lead.

Led by Cobbs, Arkansas amassed 300 yards against the nation's 64th-ranked run defense. Backup DeCori Birmingham added 85 yards on 10 carries and quarterback Matt Jones gained 74 yards on seven attempts.

"I know this is a real big win for the seniors," said Cobbs, who set a school record with his seventh 100-yard game of the season. "We wanted to go out there and be totally concentrated, and we did that and came out with a win."

The Razorbacks also took advantage of three turnovers by Missouri, which led Division I during the season with just 11 turnovers in 12 games.

Arkansas also got timely defense, twice stopping Missouri inside its 10-yard line in the second half.

With the running game clicking and their defense making plays, the Razorbacks won for just the second time in their last 12 bowl games.

"It gets the monkey off our back," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "We won a good bowl game and beat a good Missouri team."

Zack Abron and quarterback Brad Smith ran for touchdowns for the Tigers (8-5), who were making their first postseason appearance since defeating West Virginia in the Insight.com Bowl in 1998.

It was a mistake-prone night for the Tigers, especially on special teams.

In the second quarter, punter Brock Harvey had a snap sail over his head to set up a touchdown for the Razorbacks. On the final play of the first half, backup quarterback Sonny Riccio was intercepted on a fake field goal. And in the fourth quarter, Michael Matheny had a field goal blocked.

"Obviously, it's disappointing to end our season in this fashion," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I'm very, very disappointed in the amount of mistakes we made. It was enough for the entire season."

Smith, a sophomore, fell just shy of becoming the first player in NCAA history to have two seasons with 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards.

Smith rushed for 96 yards on 20 attempts and completed 17-of-30 passes for 155 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He fell 23 yards shy of 2,000 passing yards and finished the season with 1,406 yards on the ground.

Smith ran five yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds left in third quarter, pulling the Tigers within 24-14. But the talented signal-caller was unable to rally Missouri in the final 15 minutes.

After Charlie Balseiro kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 27-14 with 12:57 to play, Smith led the Tigers inside the Razorbacks' 10. But he threw incomplete on 4th-and-goal.

"They made it tough on us with good defense and all we could do in those situations was try to make something happen and hope for the best," Smith said. "And unfortunately, we didn't get the breaks in those situations."

Balseiro kicked four field goals, also connecting from 33, 28 and 25 yards.

On the first drive of the second half, Smith was intercepted by Lorenzo Robinson on 4th-and-goal from the 1.


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