Arkansas Rallies Past Mississippi State 24-21;
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Fayetteville, Ark. – Cedric Cobbs’ 15-yard touchdown run with 47 seconds left in the game lifted the Arkansas Razorbacks to a 24-21 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The win improved the Hogs’ record to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the Southeastern Conference, and dropped Mississippi State to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the SEC.
“I’m real proud of our guys, they showed great heart and character,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “Matt Jones is a threat every time he touches the ball. This was Cedric Cobbs’ best performance of the year. This is just a great team win.”
Leading 17-7 with just over five minutes left in the game, the Razorbacks appeared to have victory in hand. But, the Bulldogs battled back with two touchdowns in a span of exactly three minutes to take a 21-17 lead with 2:07 left in the game.
The Razorbacks took over at their 25-yard line with 1:20 left in the game needing a touchdown to win. After an incomplete pass on first down, quarterback Matt Jones scampered 43 yards to the Bulldogs’ 32-yard line. Zak Clark then completed an eight yard pass to George Wilson to the 24-yard line. Clark followed that with a nine-yard completion to Decori Birmingham to the Mississippi State 15.
On the next play, Cobbs went around right end and out-ran the Mississippi State defense to the end zone to give the Hogs’ a 24-21 lead with 47 seconds left in the game. It was Cobbs’ third touchdown of the game and gave him 107 yards rushing for the game.
Mississippi State, however, drove to the Arkansas 48-yard line with 16 seconds left in the game. MSU quarterback Kevin Fant was intercepted by Caleb Miller on fourth down to seal the dramatic victory.
Jones finished the game with 131 yards rushing on 10 carries and was 3-of-6 passing for 75 yards with an interception.
Neither team could manage much offense in the first half as they battled to a 7-7 tie at halftime.
The Razorbacks got on the board first on a five-yard touchdown run by Cedric Cobbs. Cobbs’ run capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive to put the Hogs up 7-0 with 2:37 left in the first quarter.
Mississippi State was held to 53 yards of offense in the first quarter. The Razorbacks held the Bulldogs to minus six yards rushing in the quarter, while the Arkansas offense rolled up 103 yards of offense.
The Bulldogs were unable to muster an offensive scoring threat, but tied the game when Josh Morgan returned Fred Talley’s fumble 23-yards for a 7-7 tie.
After amassing more than 100 yards in the first quarter, the Razorbacks were held to 64 yards of offense in the second stanza. The Razorback defense continued to stymie the Bulldogs as Mississippi State managed only 39 yards of offense in the second quarter.
Arkansas broke the deadlock with 7:05 left in the third quarter on Brennan O’Donohoe’s 19-yard field to make it a 10-7 game. The Razorbacks upped the lead to 17-7 just four minutes later when Cobbs rambled in from 14-yards out for his second score of the day.
The Razorbacks finished the game with 463 yards of total offense with 346 yards coming via the running game. Fred Talley just missed his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season as he had 90 yards on 19 carries.
Mississippi State finished with 257 yards of offense with 170 yards coming in the final quarter. Arkansas had held the Bulldogs to 87 yards of offense through three quarters of play. MSU finished with 65 yards rushing for the game.
Arkansas will finish the 2001 regular season on Friday, Nov. 23, against LSU in Baton Rouge. The game is slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised nationally by CBS.
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