Fayetteville, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks exploded for 21 points in the second quarter and piled up 482 yards of total offense to cruise to a 45-13 season-opening victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday night at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.Arkansas (1-0) got 294 yards rushing, including 145 from tailback Cedric Cobbs, and 188 yards through the air in notching its seventh straight season opening win.
Richard Smith led all receivers with 122 yards on three receptions, including one for a score. Matt Jones hit 6-of-10 passes for 72 yards and had one carry for 53 yards. Ryan Sorahan was 5-of-9 for 116 yards and a TD.
The victory also improved the Razorbacks to 17-0 under head coach Houston Nutt in regular-season non-conference games.
The Razorbacks held Tulsa (0-2) to 371 yards of total offense and did not allow the Golden Hurricane to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
“It’s always a good feeling when you win the first one,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We did some good things tonight and I’m proud of our effort. We have a lot to work on. We need to get better tackling and in a hurry. But, the main thing you want is to come out of this game at 1-0 and we did that.”
The Razorbacks took the opening kickoff and needed only six plays to find the end zone. On third down and one at their 43-yard line, Jones ran an option right and pitched to tailback Cobbs who ran untouched 57 yards for a 7-0 Arkansas lead.
The touchdown was the first for Cobbs since the second game of the 2002 season against South Florida.
Tulsa answered the Hogs’ score on the ensuing possession. On fourth down inside its 30-yard line, Jorma Bailey took a short snap on a fake punt and rambled 30 yards for a first down. After a 10-yard pass to the Arkansas 20-yard line, the Golden Hurricane lost yardage on a bad snap from center.
Tulsa settled for a 48-yard field goal from Brad DeVault to cut the Arkansas lead to 7-3 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Following a missed field goal by Tulsa, the Hogs marched to another score. Sorahan hit Smith on a 48-yard throw-and-catch to put the Razorbacks inside the Tulsa 20-yard line. A pass interference call in the end zone against Tulsa put the ball inside the five-yard line.
De’Arrius Howard ran in from the two to give the Razorbacks a 14-3 lead with 14:54 left in the first half. The score capped a five-play, 64-yard drive that took 2:18 off the clock.
Midway through the second quarter the Razorbacks extended their lead to 21-3 when Sorahan hit George Wilson on an eight-yard touchdown pass. It was Wilson’s 11th career touchdown catch, tying him for sixth on the Razorbacks career receiving touchdowns chart with Boo Williams (1999-2000).
With three minutes left in the first half, Jones pushed the Arkansas lead to 28-3 with a 54-yard run on an option keeper. Jones’ run gave the Hogs 168 yards rushing in the first half.
Tulsa opened the second half with a four-minute drive that resulted in a 31-yard field goal by DeVault that made it a 28-6 game.
Late in the third quarter the Razorbacks extended their lead to 35-6 when Howard ran in from the five for his second touchdown of the night. The score capped a four-play, 46-yard drive.
The Golden Hurricane found the end zone for the first time with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Uril Parrish bounced off a trio of Arkansas defenders and plundered in from five yards out to cut the Razorbacks’ lead to 35-13.
Arkansas quickly answered with a four-play drive that culminated in a 41-yard touchdown strike from Jones to Smith to push the lead to 42-13 with 8:27 remaining in the game.
Chris Balserio pushed the Arkansas lead to 45-13 and closed the scoring with a 29-yard field goal following a punt by the Golden Hurricane.
Arkansas will travel to Austin, Texas, next Saturday to take on the fourth-ranked Longhorns. The game will be regionally televised by ABC at 11 a.m. CT.