Cotton Bowl - Ark. 29, KSU 16
- Is Arkansas the No. 3 team in America. Oregon and Oklahoma State have something to say about that, but if the Hogs want to make the case, it's hard to argue against it.
- This was a dominant performance that had a bit more midgame drama than there needed to be. A blocked kick for a two-point conversion shouldn't be needed to provide a spark, but it did.
- Slowly but surely, we're learning one thing this college football bowl season: we're done with the spread. It works if a team has other options, but Kansas State's offense was Collin Klein, and hope for the best. The Arkansas line stopped Klein, and that was just about it for the Wildcats' ideas.
- Charles Davis is terrific.
- The one positive for Kansas State is the defensive front got into the backfield. Three sacks is a month for this D, but Adam Davis led the way for a decent pass rush.
- But Arkansas came up with seven sacks, and not all of them were because he was scrambling.
- And to think, the Hogs are getting Knile Davis back.
- Be honest. Is there any difference between the Cotton Bowl played in a place like JerryWorld and the Orange Bowl? It sure looked like a BCS game, and it might as well be one.
- There was one difference between this bowl and the Orange. The stadium was loaded with fans.
- Give the Kansas State defense some credit. It held the Arkansas offense to 100 yards under its average.
- The SEC is having a terrific bowl season, but it's true; the offenses stunk. Arkansas was one of the few teams in the league with a high-powered attack, and it hardly exploded.
- Yes, it's possible the SEC was top-heavy, and the offenses all stunk, and the defenses were all great.
- Somewhere, some Hog fan is going to sleep wondering if this team would've been playing on January 9th if it was in any other league but the SEC.
Of all the non-BCS games, the Cotton Bowl was the one that I looked forward to the most. Boy, was I disappointed by the sloppy overall play delivered by Kansas State, in particular, and Arkansas.
No one had a bigger night than Arkansas' Paul Hayes, the program's new defensive coordinator. His kids had the pads popping all night, winning the line of scrimmage, and holding K-State 17 points below its season average.
I felt a year ago that Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson would someday be a better pro than predecessor Ryan Mallett. I still do. The junior oozes franchise quarterback, throwing a great deep ball, fitting passes into tight windows and showing unexpected quickness outside the pocket.
Rough night for Wildcats QB Collin Klein, but don't let it cloud your opinion of his future. Yeah, he's a raw passer, but he also has the physical gifts, work ethic and general intangibles to make another quantum leap in 2012.
Neither of the Big 12 schools that contended for higher profile bowl bids, Kansas State and Baylor, proved worthy of landing a spot in a BCS bowl game. Arkansas, however, clearly got screwed by a system that caps the number of participants that can come from one league.
The Hogs secondary was outstanding, but the Jake Bequette-led D-line was even better, spearheading the team's best defensive effort of the 2011 season.
By Matt Zemek
-- You can knock the throwing motion (and consistency) of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, but this was and is a player who deserved to be a Heisman Trophy finalist… and Arkansas's defense smothered him for three full quarters, allowing him to break free only for a brief time early in the third quarter. This was one of the most impressive defensive performances a Bobby Petrino-coached team has delivered, especially for the Razorbacks. If this was a night in which Arkansas wanted to build momentum for a national championship run in 2012, the Hogs made the right moves. Some defensive heft to go along with all that pitch-and-catch potency – yes, that will work.
-- Kansas State fell short, but the Wildcats looked like they were going to be Clemsoned (i.e., embarrassed in a big way) when Arkansas took a 19-0 lead. Instead, this game was a legitimate fight for 58 minutes, until the moment when it became apparent that KSU wasn't going to score with very much time left on the clock (if it ever did score, which it didn't). Les Miles worked magic in 2011 and Brady Hoke established himself as the next superstar in the profession, but Bill Snyder was the best FBS head coach in the United States of America.
-- Boise State and Arkansas. On a neutral field. Next Friday night before the 2012 NFL Divisional Playoff extravaganza. It wouldn't be for any kind of championship, but boy, you'd be thoroughly interested, wouldincha?
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
- If this is the kind of defense that Paul Hayes is bringing to Arkansas, go ahead and welcome the 2012 Razorbacks to the National Title race. Arkansas held the potent Kansas State offense to just 260 total yards, essentially using a translator to convert Hayes' defense to Arkansas terminology in the process. That'll work.
- I know, I know...Kansas State is incredibly one-dimensional, and if you're one-dimensional, you're beatable. But Arkansas' defense has had issues in the past stopping teams with zero dimensions. Make no mistake, Friday's performance was a big deal.
- Nobody should ever punt to Joe Adams...ever.
- If you haven't watched Arkansas much, it is normal for quarterback Tyler Wilson to look uncomfortable in the pocket. He got hit on virtually every play this year. Aside from fixing the defense, getting him some protection is Job No. 1.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
- Arkansas should have won this game by a much wider margin but allowed Kansas State to get back in the game by having a kick blocked. When will coaches start giving special teams the necessary attention it deserves during bowl preparation?
- Tonight's contest demonstrates exactly how big the gap is between the SEC and everyone else. The Big 12 was arguably the nation's second best conference this season, and their conference runner-up could not hang with the third place team in the SEC West.
- Will Arkansas end up third in the final polls? If tonight's victory is any indication, it could very well happen. Kansas State moved the ball almost at will against Oklahoma State, but could not do anything against the Arkansas defense.
- The Razorback front four came to play tonight. The defensive line was in the backfield on literally every play, and sacked QB Collin Klein six times.
- Of course, all of those dropped passes by Kansas State certainly contributed to Arkansas' success on defense.
- After watching how well Broderick Green recovered from a devastating knee injury, the Razorbacks can only hope that RB Knile Davis has a similar recovery. With a healthy Davis running behind an offensive line that returns three starters, Arkansas should contend for the SEC West Crown next season.
- Despite the loss, Kansas State still had one of the biggest turnarounds in college football this season. Improving from 3-5 in conference play last year to 7-2 this season speaks volumes about how great of a coach Bill Snyder is.
- Was this a BCS bowl? It had the feel of one with two more deserving teams than some of the others.
- And the SEC just keeps going....and winning...yet again. Argue it away all you want, but the SEC is the best league right now by all measures and accounts. Arkansas was the third best team in the SEC West. Let that sink in for a moment.
- If anyone thought that Bill Snyder's first run at Kansas State was a fluke of a perfect storm, he's providing proof that he still knows how to cook with the old recipe. Despite the loss, it was a putting-the-program-back-on-the-map type of year.
- Still, you got the feeling that Kansas State wasn't really ready to play with the biggest of big boys and this game was exhibit A. The Wildcats haven't arrived yet, but under Snyder they'll be good, you just wonder how much Snyder has left in him.
- Didn't you think that Arkansas would take a step backwards after the departure of Ryan Mallet? Not so. This year--though overshadowed by Alabama and LSU--is arguably better than with Mallet. Credit Bobby Petrino.
- The SEC is now 5-2 in Bowls, but the Big Twelve is having a banner year despite this loss. The much maligned conference will finish 6-2 and is technically guaranteed a better winning percentage than the SEC--though Alabama vs. LSU is a bit unfair because someone has to lose.