"We choke in almost every big game," said Hog safety Greg Lasker in the huddle shortly after the score. But that was the last big play Arkansas's quick, move-and-stick D would allow. Adept at stuffing the run because they face the wishbone constantly in practice, the Razor-backs' smallish defenders held Baylor's runners to just 51 yards, forcing Muecke and Carlson into long-yardage passing straits. "The second half just got away from us," Muecke said.
A Baylor fumble and an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty gave the Hogs the ball on the Baylor 29. Six plays later they had their first touchdown, but missed the point-after attempt. Following a third consecutive Baylor turnover—an interception by Richard Brothers—fullback Marshall Foreman bumped and ground six yards to make the score 14-12 with 10:21 remaining. Arkansas went for two points, but Thomas's pass to All-SWC wide receiver James Shibest fell incomplete. The 'bone had begun to take its toll on the Bears' D.
Thomas, a sophomore from San Angelo, Texas, wanted to go to Baylor. Teaff courted him but didn't offer a scholarship, urging him to walk on. Moreover, Thomas feared Teaff would switch him to defensive back. "Being a black quarterback, I wanted to continue to be a quarterback," Thomas says. "It puts the challenge in you."
On Saturday, Thomas ran the 'bone flawlessly. For the game winner, he faked run and then threw the bomb to Franklin that broke the Bears. The play was probably better suited to starting tight end Theo Young, who's bigger, stronger and faster than Franklin. "Well," says Franklin, "I'm lower to the ground." And the Hogs are closer to the Cotton Bowl.