Little Rock, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks remained unbeaten after a 31-7 victory over the North Texas Mean Green Saturday evening at War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas improved to 3-0 with the win while North Texas dropped to 1-3 with the loss. The Razorbacks will next travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The game will be nationally televised by CBS and will kick off at 2:30 p.m.
“I’m very proud of our team tonight,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We had great energy, especially on special teams. The turnovers we created late in the first half really took their momentum and turned the game in our favor. We have to go back to work, continue to get better and get ready for Alabama next weekend.”
Tailback Cedric Cobbs rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries to lead all rushers. Cobbs has hit the 100-yard mark in the first three games of the season, marking the first time since 1975 that a Razorback has eclipsed the century mark in the initial three games of a season. In 1975, Jerry Eckwood rushed for 100-plus yards in the first five games of the season.
The Razorbacks finished with 143 yards rushing and 183 yards passing. Matt Jones hit 6-of-8 passes for 67 yards and one score while Ryan Sorahan hit 8-of-15 passes for 116 yards.
George Wilson led all receivers with 100 yards on four receptions with a score.
North Texas tallied 197 total offensive yards with 116 yards on the ground and 81 yards passing.
Kevin Moore led the Mean Green with 76 yards on 20 carries, while quarterback Scott Hall hit 4-of-8 pass attempts for 31 yards. Andrew Smith finished 2-of-6 for 50 yards.
After recovering a surprise onside kick to open the game, the Razorbacks promptly marched 47 yards and capped the drive when Cobbs rambled in from eight yards out to give the Hogs a 7-0 lead with 12:26 left in the first quarter.
North Texas quickly answered the Arkansas score when Smith connected with tight end Andy Blount on a 43-yard touchdown play to even the game at 7-7. The Mean Green needed only five plays to march 65 yards to find the end zone.
With 9:33 left in the first half, Arkansas linebacker Sam Olajubutu picked off a Smith pass inside the North Texas 30 yard line. A personal foul on the Mean Green on the interception return set the Hogs up at the 17-yard line.
The North Texas defense tightened, however, and David Carlton connected on a 31-yard field goal to give the Razorbacks a 10-7 lead.
After forcing North Texas to punt, the Razorbacks took over at the Mean Green 47-yard line. Sorahan then hit Wilson on a 39-yard throw-and-catch to put the Razorbacks inside the 10.
After a short gain by Cobbs to the one, the Mean Green stuffed De’Arrius Howard on second down and Sorahan on a sneak on third down. On fourth down, Howard burst through the middle of the line to push the Arkansas lead to 17-7 with 4:01 left in the half.
The score was Howard’s fifth of the season and 12th of his career.
With a little more than two minutes left in the half, the Razorbacks forced another turnover. Desmond Sims recovered a fumble caused by Elliott Harris at the North Texas 26-yard line.
On the ensuing play, Jones hit Wilson on an out pattern and Wilson scampered into the end zone to give Arkansas a 24-7 lead with 2:11 left in the half.
Lightening struck again as Michael Robinson forced a fumble on the kickoff return and the Hogs recovered at the 28-yard line. Jones hit Jason Peters on a 22-yard pass. Cobbs carried the ball across the goal line on the next play to give Arkansas a 31-7 lead.
Arkansas’ 24 points in the second quarter were the most in a single stanza since putting up 28 points on Louisiana-Monroe in the third quarter on Oct. 7, 2002. The Hogs’ 31 points marked the most in the first half since tallying 35 against South Florida on Sept. 14, 2002.