FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - After turning the Volunteers away time and again throughout the game, the Arkansas Razorbacks were unable to fend off a fourth-quarter rally as Tennessee came away with a 13-3 victory Saturday night at Razorback Stadium.
Playing in heavy rain and thunderstorms that caused play to be suspended twice, the Hogs and Vols battled in a defensive contest that didn't allow a touchdown until the final minute of the game.
"It was a tremendous effort by our defense," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "We hung in there for three quarters, but we just couldn't put an offensive drive together."
The game began after a brief delay due to intense lightning. When the two teams finally kicked off, it was the Razorbacks who would draw first blood.
After an exchange of possessions, the Hogs were set to take over at their 20-yard line with 4:58 remaining in the first quarter.
But, Mother Nature had other plans as heavy lightning again caused play to be suspended for 21 minutes.
After play resumed, the Razorbacks began their only scoring dive of the night. Quarterback Ryan Sorhan hit George Wilson for 25 yards to the Arkansas 43-yard line.
Tailback Cedric Cobbs then burst up the middle for a 40-yard gain to the Tennessee 13-yard line. The run put Cobbs over the 1,000 yard career rushing mark.
From there, the Vols defense stiffened as they held the Hogs out of the endzone. Kicker Brennan O'Donohoe booted a 24-yard field goal in a steady downpour to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 advantage.
The Razorbacks dominated the first quarter of play, outgaining Tennessee in total offense 95 yards to just 64.
From there, however, Tennessee's defense would limit Arkansas to minus three yards of total offense and keep the Hogs off the scoreboard.
"I was proud of our effort. We just need to find a way to move the ball more consistently," Nutt said.
Defensively, Arkansas proved up to the challenge as it swept the Vols away from potential scores several times.
The Vols pushed to the Arkansas four-yard line midway through the second quarter and were headed for a possible touchdown until Hogs' defensive back Tony Bua knocked the ball loose from running back Travis Stephens to force a turnover. The fumble was recovered by Arkansas' Ken Hamlin.
Time and again in the second and third quarters the Arkansas defense held the Vols in check.
But, the Vols got a break early in the fourth quarter to set up their first score of the night.
Punting from his own endzone, Arkansas kicker Richie Butler slipped as he kicked and the ball traveled only 16 yards to the Razorbacks' 24-yard line.
The Hogs' defense held firm, though, and forced the Vols to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Alex Walls to tie the game at 3-3 with 9:44 remaining in the game.
After an Arkansas punt on the ensuing possession, Tennessee drove 35 yards in seven plays to take a 6-3 lead on a 25-yard field goal.
On the Razorbacks' ensuing possession, Sorhan was intercepted by the Vols' Eddie Moore and returned 18 yards to the Hogs' 21-yard line.
From there, Tennessee took six plays, capped by Stephens' three-yard plunge, to find the endzone for a 13-3 lead.
"Tennessee is a good team, no question about that," Nutt said. "They are the No. 7 team in the country. I wish we could have those last couple of series back. But on a positive note, we found out we can play with anybody in the country."
The Razorbacks will take on North Texas at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 15, at Razorback Stadium.