2011 Cotton - Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16

Posted Jan 6, 2012

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl

2012 AT&T Cotton

Arkansas 29, Kansas St 16

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
26th Total Offense 96th
52nd Total Defense 73rd
14th Scoring Offense 30th
36th Scoring Defense 70th
80th Rushing Offense 28th
80th Run Defense 38th
13th Passing Offense 109th
26th Passing Defense 104th
59th Turnover Margin 6th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
A   K
4 Quarterbacks 5
3.5 RBs 3
5 Receivers 2
2.5 O Line 3
3 D Line 2
3.5 Linebackers 3
3.5 Secondary 3
4 Spec Teams 5
5 Coaching 5
Arkansas 29 … Kansas State 16
- CFN Thoughts on the Cotton

Arkansas: The Hogs outgained Kansas State 129 rushing yards to 87 … Tyler Wilson completed 20-of-31 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns …Broderick Green ran seven times for 60 yards. … Greg Childs caught five passes for 48 yards, and Jarius Wright caught three passes for 88 yards with a touchdown and returned three punts for 62 yards and a score. … Jerry Franklin made eight tackles. … Jerico Nelson made seven tackles with an interception for 61 yards.

Kansas State: The Wildcats held on to the ball for 33:51. … Collin Klein completed 16-of-30 passes for 173 yards and a score with a pick, and he led the team with 24 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. … Sheldon Smith caught five passes for 50 yards. … David Garrett led the team with ten tackles with two tackles for loss. … Adam David made four tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Explosive returner Joe Adams had one last big highlight to help No. 7 Arkansas end a record-tying season in tall Cotton.

All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson was well short of the record passing performance he had earlier this season at Cowboys Stadium, but did throw two touchdown passes after Adams' fourth punt return for a TD and the Razorbacks beat No. 11 Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.

The Razorbacks (11-2) matched a school record with their 11th victory. Their only losses were to No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, their SEC West rivals who will play for the BCS national championship Monday night.

"Joe Adams has made big plays for us all year long," Wilson said. "We were struggling offensively until he sparked us. Great players make big plays, and he definitely got his."

Adams' 51-yard return early in the second quarter gave the Razorbacks a 10-0 lead before they even gained a first down. It was the first punt return for a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl in 51 years.

"It was another one of those where you just go, Wow!" coach Bobby Petrino said. "You could see when he made the catch he had in mind what he was going to do. We got some good blocks. ... Joe showed great acceleration, made another spectacular play for us."

Adams matched the SEC single-season record with his four punt return TDs. The senior receiver, who had five catches for only 22 yards Friday, was the only FBS player this season with multiple punt returns for TDs, along with rushing and receiving scores.

After fielding the ball near midfield, Adams took a few steps back before squirting through a gap past several defenders. He got all the way to the opposite sideline and got his path cleared by one last block from Javontee Herndon downfield.

"It obviously made a major difference," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "We knew he's a talented player. We knew that he could make you miss him. .... The players were probably tired of me talking about being able to contain Joe Adams and not let him bounce the ball outside. Sure enough he bounced it outside."

The last punt return for a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl also was by a Razorback, when Lance Alworth had a 49-yard return in a 7-6 loss to Duke in the 1961 game.

The only other 11-win seasons for the Razorbacks were by the Lou Holtz-coached team in 1977 and coach Frank Broyles' only undefeated season at Arkansas in 1964. They won 10 games last season with a Sugar Bowl appearance.

"To get this program consistently in the top 10, in BCS bowl games, great bowl games like the Cotton Bowl, hopefully in the top five in the country with 11 wins, it means so much to me personally, and to this group of seniors," defensive end Jake Bequette said. "It's just been such a fun ride."

A member of that 1964 team that won the Cotton Bowl over Nebraska was Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who attended the game in his $1.2 billion stadium that opened in 2009. He was part of a loud crowd of 80,956.

Kansas State also was trying to match its school record with 11 victories, but still finished a surprising season in Snyder's second Wildcats turnaround. K-State won 11 games six times during a seven-year span in Snyder's first tenure before his three-year retirement, and almost reached that mark again in his third season back.

Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein tied the Big 12 record with his 27th rushing touchdown this season and matched the FBS record for quarterbacks.

After being held to 15 yards on 12 carries in the first half, Klein finished the opening drive of the third quarter with a 6-yard TD run that got the Wildcats to 19-16. That came after Klein had a 15-yard run on the previous play.

That matched the Big 12 record for rushing touchdowns held by 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams of Texas. The only other FBS quarterback with 27 rushing touchdowns in a season was Ricky Dobbs for Navy in 2009.

Klein finished with 42 yards on 24 carries, while completing 16 of 30 passes for 173 yards.

The Razorbacks played their second game at Cowboys Stadium this season, three months after they overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Big 12 team and future SEC foe Texas A&M 42-38.

In the return trip, Arkansas led the Big 12 opponent at halftime and had mostly throttled Klein and the Kansas State offense. It was the first game for new Razorbacks defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, who was hired in December after Willy Robinson resigned.

Wilson, who threw for a school-record 510 yards in that Oct. 1 game at Cowboys Stadium, was 20 of 31 for 216 yards against Kansas State. Jarius Wright, who had 13 catches for a record 287 yards against the Aggies, and three catches for 88 yards and a 45-yard TD in the Cotton Bowl.

The Cotton Bowl was the only non-BCS game with both teams in the top 15 of the Bowl Championship Series standings - Arkansas came in sixth, Kansas State eighth. It also is the only bowl featuring the SEC vs. the Big 12, the top two conferences in the BCS computer rankings.

The Razorbacks didn't even get a first down until 12 1/2 minutes left in the first half when Dennis Johnson opened a drive with a 28-yard run. That drive ended with the second of Zach Hocker's three field goals, a 22-yarder.

Arkansas led 19-0 when Wilson threw a 45-yard TD pass to Jarius Wright with 4 minutes left in the first half.

Kansas State, which has lost its last four bowl games since beating Arizona State in the 2002 Holiday Bowl, blocked the extra point and Nigel Malone returned it for two points.

It was 19-9 at halftime after Klein threw a 3-yard TD pass to Andrew McDonald with 26 seconds left in the first half. That score was set up after Wilson was sacked by Adam Davis and fumbled at the Razorbacks 13.

Wildcats defensive end Meshak Williams was injured at the end of the first half, when he made helmet-to-helmet contact with Emmanuel Lamur when both were trying to tackle Wilson, who put his head down to avoid the hit.

Williams remained down on the field for several minutes being tended to by medical personnel and then placed on a stretcher. He gave a thumbs-up signal when being placed on a cart, then when he was being driving off the field extended his right arm high and flashed a Wildcat sign.

Kansas State officials said after the game that Williams had already been released from the hospital and was going back to the hotel to join the team. They said he was moving all extremities and doing OK.

Arkansas led 3-0 after Bequette sacked Klein and forced a fumble, setting up Hocker's 26-yard field goal.

Tenarius Wright, the Razorbacks' other defensive end, jumped over a pile to recover the loose ball at the Kansas State 13.

Klein's fumble came on a second-and-33 play after a sequence that started with his 20-yard run to inside Arkansas territory being wiped out by an illegal shift penalty. He was sacked on the next play before a holding call and a false start pushed the ball all the way back to the 20.

"We got off to an awfully bad start and really couldn't overcome the damage that we did," Snyder said. "And most of it was pretty obvious."

Kansas State (10-2) vs. Arkansas (10-2) Jan. 6, 8 pm, FOX

Here's The Deal … This might not technically be a BCS game, but it might as well be.

It's a far better matchup – at least in the rankings – than the Sugar Bowl between No. 11 Virginia Tech and No. 13 Michigan, and both teams are ranked ahead of No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 15 Clemson, and No. 23 West Virginia. In fact, it could be argued that No. 6 Arkansas vs. No. 8 Kansas State is the third most important game of the bowl season.

So what that this isn't technically a BCS game? Jerry Jones has wanted the Cotton Bowl – now played in his building – to be an extra BCS game and this gets its own night to itself.

And it's on free TV.

Now it's up to the Wildcats and Hogs to live up the level of the first four BCS games played, including an Orange Bowl that had its own sort of interesting twist with West Virginia's offense putting on a show. These two have had their moments of thrills this season, and now each one wants to prove that the season really has been special.

Kansas State came from out of nowhere to finish 10-2 in the program's rebirth under head coach Bill Snyder. It was seven mediocre years between BCS games, and 2002 was the last time the Wildcats won a post-season game. This year's team was expected to be okay, and it was supposed to be just good enough to squeak into a bowl game, but no one saw this coming.

Getting ten fourth quarter points to get by Eastern Kentucky 10-7 in the opener didn't exactly set the tone for the season, and shutting out Kent State didn't put the Wildcats on the map. And then, from out of the blue, things started to click.

The offense worked against Miami. The defense held on late against Baylor. The offense held on to the ball for what seemed like five days against Missouri. The offense came up with shootout wins against Texas Tech and Kansas. And then, all of a sudden, the spotlight was on for the 7-0 Wildcats.

The coaching and the want-to were there all year, but the talent is merely average across the board. That became obvious in a blowout loss to Oklahoma, but the Cats bounced back to give Oklahoma State everything it could handle in a thriller that came down to the final missed pass in the end zone.

Between the 52-45 loss to the Cowboys, and the 53-50 four overtime thriller against Texas A&M, KSU proved it could hang around with any offense in America, but is it all a mirage? Nine of the 12 games were decided by a touchdown or less, with KSU on the right side of eight of those. On the one side, it's always impressive to have the toughness to win so many close games, but the team was also this close to a merely average record.

Arkansas wasn't merely average, and a case could be made that it's the third best team in college football.

The Hogs suffered a major setback when it lost star running back Knile Davis to an offseason injury, and they had to overcome the loss of quarterback Ryan Mallett to the New England Patriots, but it was business as usual after a brilliant 2010 and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

There were some rocky spots – like a struggle to put away a miserable Ole Miss team and a problem getting past Vanderbilt – but for the most part, Arkansas was terrific with dominant November wins over South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State, and a strong comeback victory over Texas A&M. The two losses came to Alabama and LSU both on the road, and while they were blowouts, there's no shame in that this year.

Arkansas was as high as No. 3 in the polls before the LSU game, and while it's not likely to move back into the spot in the final rankings, a top five finish is possible with a dominant win. However, to do that will require bucking a bad trend.

Arkansas has been a historically miserable bowl program, going 12-23-3 since first tying Centenary in the 1933 Dixie Classic. Since 1985, the Razorbacks have gone a horrific 3-14 in bowl games with the lone win of note a 27-6 win over Texas in the 2000 Cotton. Kansas State hasn't been any better in the bowls, going 1-4 since beating Tennessee in the 2001 Cotton.

Considering the two schools are a not-that-far 350 miles away by driving – and far shorter as the crow, or plane, flies, it's a bit of a shock that the two haven't met since 1967, and hopefully they can give the Cotton Bowl a good game for the first time in several years. The last four games and five of the last six – including a 38-7 Missouri win over Arkansas in 2008 – have been blowouts, and the SEC has won seven of the last eight.

Why Arkansas Might Win: There's a chance Arkansas simply outblasts the Wildcats.

Kansas State held up well against most of the Big 12 teams with tons of firepower, but they weren't able to slow down Oklahoma or Oklahoma State and the secondary isn't there to keep the Hogs from bombing away at will. Arkansas get power the ball when it needs to, but its bread and butter is the best passing game in the SEC that hits home runs in bunches.

Everyone throws in the Big 12, but still, Kansas State had its problems almost everyone with a strong quarterback, giving up over 500 passing yards to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and getting lit up by Robert Griffin for 346 yards and five scores. Wildcat safeties Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman can hit, and corner Nigel Malone picks off passes, but the secondary gives up yards in bunches and it's about to have a rough time with the talent of the Arkansas receivers. Kansas State has speed on the outside, but the Hogs are faster.

The biggest problem for the Wildcats is a lack of pass rush with no ability whatsoever to get into the backfield. While the defense comes up with takeaways, the line doesn't generate any pressure meaning Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson will have all day to let the big plays develop down the field. The Arkansas O line isn't exactly a rock, but it'll get the night off.

Defensively, Arkansas is big in the middle and strong on the outside, doing a nice job of shutting down the Mississippi State ground attack and held most running quarterbacks under wraps. For the most part, the Hogs did a good job against teams with running quarterbacks. But …

Why Kansas State Might Win: It's not like it's been a brick wall against the run. LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn were able to run at will, and Vanderbilt came up with 222 rushing yards with 66 from QB Jordan Rodgers. Everyone has sold out to stop the Kansas State running game, but it's been easier said than done with Collin Klein always finding the right hole to run through to get to the second level in a hurry thanks to a line that does just enough to wall off linemen.

The Wildcats don't blast away, but they know how to get the rushing options into space. The Arkansas defensive front doesn't make plays behind the line, and if defenses don't get to Klein before he has a shot to make a decision, he's five yards down the field with a head of steam.

Kansas State is able to come up with wins by having everything right go its way, from time of possession to turnovers to special teams. The machine only works if it has the ball, ranking third in the nation in time of possession keeping it close to 34 minutes on offense, while Arkansas is 104th in the country. Kansas State doesn't commit a slew of penalties, screwing up just 56 times on the year for a miniscule 35.6 yards per game. Arkansas isn't bad, but it's going to lose the penalty edge.

And then there's the turnover battle. Kansas State probably can't win without getting a slew of breaks and taking advantage of every one of them. Arkansas has been decent at hanging on to the ball, but Kansas State has been great, giving it away just 13 times all season and not turning it over in either of the last two games. Klein doesn't throw picks and the team has lost just four fumbles since the opener.

What To Watch Out For: It's not fair that Collin Klein wasn't in the Heisman race, and a case could be made that he was more deserving than Robert Griffin. He ran for 1,099 yards and 26 touchdowns as he carried the offense throughout the season. A perfect fit for the offense and what it needs to do, he keeps the mistakes to a minimum, has improved his passing, and he's a proven workhorse handling the ball 26 times or more in each of the last five games. As good as he has been, the team showed against Texas that it can win when the big game isn't there, being held to just four yards on 26 carries. He won't get stopped cold by the Hogs.

Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson was bad against LSU, mostly because he was being swarmed over. He only threw for 185 yards against Alabama, having no luck getting anything going deep. Against everyone else – winning against everyone else – he was terrific, throwing for 224 yards or more in every game. It's not a coincidence that the two losses came on his two worst passing games, and Kansas State gives up 267 yards per game through the air. Wilson will get his 224 yards or more.

Wilson has to stay away from Kansas State JUCO transfer Nigel Malone, who stepped in right away and became an instant star with a Big 12-leading seen picks and 57 tackles with nine broken up passes. The 5-10, 176-pound playmaker from City College of San Francisco is wiry thin, but he's lightning-quick with a nose for the ball. He'll have to keep Jarius Wright under check, but he'll also have to deal with the other terrific Hog receivers.

Wright is the star of the show with 63 catches for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he's hardly alone. 5-11, 190-pound senior Joe Adams has been steady with 49 catches for 630 yards and three touchdowns, and he's a solid punt returner. Junior Cobi Hamilton brings 6-3, 209-pound size, and tight end Chris Gragg is an athletic tight end and a good safety valve who caught 40 passes for 492 yards and three scores. Wilson has plenty of weapons to work with.

What Will Happen: Kansas State doesn't have the weapons. It's not a fraud by any means, and it has the ability to control the ball and the clock long enough to keep the game from getting out of hand, but Arkansas is loaded with too much of a passing game. The key to this game is time; the Arkansas defense had a month to prepare. Given a few days during the heat of the season to figure out Klein and the Wildcat attack, defenses struggle. With a month to get ready, the Hogs will stop him early. Arkansas will take a big lead, Klein will throw to make it interesting, but the cushion will be too great.

CFN Prediction: Arkansas 48 … Kansas State 31
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Arkansas -7   O/U: 64
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Kansas State is about to get obliterated. Arkansas will have more than a month to figure out how to stop Collin Klein from running.
By Richard Cirminiello 
Offense, offense, offense. In terms of pure entertainment, this could wind up being the most fun bowl pairing of this winter's 35-game slate.

By Matt Zemek
Once again, the jamboree at JerryWorld is one of the very best non-BCS bowl matchups. The contrast in styles is delicious, and the quality of coaches is considerable. This will be a football connoisseur's delight in suburban Dallas.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Arkansas finished No. 6 in the country, but out of the BCS thanks to LSU and Alabama. Disappointing, no doubt, but a trip to Jerry World isn't a bad consolation.

By Russ Mitchell
Arkansas ended the season ranked #6 in the BCS (too high). If Kansas State and Snyder are patent, I think they've got this one sewn up.

By Terry Johnson
Kansas State-Arkansas game might be the best non-BCS game of 2011. Although QB's Collin Klein and Tyler Wilson play the position much differently, each should have no trouble keeping the chains moving.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
This is a BCS worthy match up and one that will go along way towards the comparison of whether Oklahoma State should have gotten a shake at the title game or not. Big Twelve vs. SEC with common opponents.
Best Bowl Moments

Best Wildcat Bowl Moment: Kansas State's one win in a signature January game was the December 1997 thumping of Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl. There were two 1997 Fiesta Bowls due to the quirks of the Bowl Alliance system used at the time. Penn State defeated Texas in January of 1997, but Kansas State squeezed the Orangemen on December 31 of that same year. Michael Bishop outdueled Donovan McNabb at quarterback, giving KSU coach Bill Snyder a win which joins the 2003 Big 12 Championship Game as his most special triumph.

Best Razorback Bowl Moment: The Hogs have been victorious in less than a third of more than three dozen bowl appearances, and only a handful of times in the last two decades. One of their sweetest wins came in the 1978 Orange Bowl against heavily- favored and second-ranked Oklahoma. Arkansas got a bowl-record 205 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving from third-string tailback Roland Sales, cruising to a 31-6 win over the Sooners. Sales was pressed into action when the team's top two backs were suspended for the game.

Cotton Bowl History  
2011 LSU 41, Texas A&M 24
2010 Ole Miss 21, Oklahoma State 7
2009 Ole Miss 47, Texas Tech 34
2008 Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
2007 Auburn 17, Nebraska 14
2006 Alabama 13, Texas Tech 10
2005 Tennessee 38, Texas A&M 7
2004 Mississippi 31, Oklahoma St 28
2003 Texas 35, LSU 20
2002 Oklahoma 10, Arkansas 3
2001 Kansas State 35, Tennessee 21
2000 Arkansas 27, Texas 6
1999 Texas 38, Mississippi St. 11
1998 UCLA 29, Texas A&M 23
1997 BYU 19, Kansas St. 15
1996 Colorado 38, Oregon 6
1995 USC 55, Texas Tech 14
1994 Notre Dame 24, Texas A&M 21
1993 Notre Dame 28, Texas A&M 3
1992 Florida St. 10, Texas A&M 2
1991 Miami, Fla 46, Texas 3
1990 Tennessee 31, Arkansas 27
1989 UCLA 17, Arkansas 3
1988 Texas A&M 35, Notre Dame 10
1987 Ohio St. 28, Texas A&M 12
1986 Texas A&M 36, Auburn 16
1985 Boston College 45, Houston 28
1984 Georgia 10, Texas 9
1983 SMU 7, Pittsburgh 3
1982 Texas 14, Alabama 12
1981 Alabama 30, Baylor 2
1980 Houston 17, Nebraska 14
1979 Notre Dame 35, Houston 34
1978 Notre Dame 38, Texas 10
1977 Houston 30, Maryland 21
1976 Arkansas 31, Georgia 10
1975 Penn St. 41, Baylor 20
1974 Nebraska 19, Texas 3
1973 Texas 17, Alabama 13
1972 Penn St. 30, Texas 6
1971 Notre Dame 24, Texas 11
1970 Texas 21, Notre Dame 17
1969 Texas 36, Tennessee 13
1968 Texas A&M 20, Alabama 16
1967 Georgia 24, SMU 9
1966 LSU 14, Arkansas 7
1965 Arkansas 10, Nebraska 7
1964 Texas 28, Navy 6
1963 LSU 13, Texas 0
1962 Texas 12, Mississippi 7
1961 Duke 7, Arkansas 6
1960 Syracuse 23, Texas 14
1959 Air Force 0, TCU 0
1958 Navy 20, Rice 7
1957 TCU 28, Syracuse 27
1956 Mississippi 14, TCU 13
1955 Georgia Tech 14, Arkansas 6
1954 Rice 28, Alabama 6
1953 Texas 16, Tennessee 0
1952 Kentucky 20, TCU 7
1951 Tennessee 20, Texas 14
1950 Rice 27, North Carolina 13
1949 SMU 21, Oregon 13
1948 Penn St. 13, SMU 13
1947 Arkansas 0, LSU 0
1946 Texas 40, Missouri 27
1945 Oklahoma St. 34, TCU 0
1944 Randolph Field 7, Texas 7
1943 Texas 14, Georgia Tech 7
1942 Alabama 29, Texas A&M 21
1941 Texas A&M 13, Fordham 12
1940 Clemson 6, Boston College 3
1939 St. Marys 20, Texas Tech 13
1938 Rice 28, Colorado 14
1937 TCU 16, Marquette 6

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