NEW ORLEANS – The University of Arkansas football team was outlasted by Ohio State in the 77th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday in the Louisiana Superdome 31-26. The Razorbacks fell short of a comeback victory while scoring 16 second-half points to OSU’s three. UA was led by standout performances by quarterback Ryan Mallett and running back Knile Davis. UA finished the 2010 season with a 10-3 (6-2, SEC) record, marking the first time since 2006 an Arkansas team won 10 games.
Head coach Bobby Petrino, the first coach in NCAA history to lead two schools to their first BCS game, was proud of his team’s efforts against OSU and throughout the season.
"I’m very proud of this football team," Coach Petrino said. "What they accomplished throughout the year, and then they showed their character and toughness in the second half."
Mallett broke the school record for passing yards in a season with his 277-yard performance to finish the 2010 season with 3,869, passing his 2009 mark of 3,624. His outing against the Buckeyes was his 11th 200-yard passing game of the season. Mallett tossed two touchdown passes against the Buckeyes to finish his junior campaign with a school-record 32 touchdown passes.
"You really can’t say enough about what Ryan’s done for the program," Coach Petrino said. "Ryan’s done an unbelievable job with his leadership, his competitive spirit. He lifts everybody around him to compete and play better."
Davis finished with 139 yards rushing for his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season. Linebacker Jerry Franklin also scored a highlight finish for the Razorbacks, concluding the season with the team lead in tackles for the third straight season. Franklin, a junior, is just the second Arkansas football player to accomplish the feat since 1960.
UA opened the second half with points from freshman kicker Zach Hocker, who was good on a 46-yard field goal with 9:14 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 28-13 in favor of the Buckeyes. Buckeye kicker Devin Barclay responded with a field goal to score OSU’s last points of the contest, making the score 31-13.
Arkansas continued its scoring ways with a 22-yard touchdown connection from Mallett to Jarius Wright, capping a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive, making the score 31-21 after a successful two-point conversion pass from Mallett to D.J. Williams. Wright finished with four catches for 70 yards and the score. Adams led Arkansas with nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
At the 11:52 mark in the fourth quarter, Arkansas’ defense struck with Jake Bequette and Anthony Leon tackling OSU running back Dan Herron in his own end zone for a safety. Hocker was also good on a 47-yard field goal attempt with 8:55 remaining in the game.
Arkansas evened the score at 7-7 with Ohio State less than two minutes after the Buckeyes found the end zone, with Mallett connecting with Adams from 17 yards out at the 9:43 mark in the first quarter. The touchdown pass capped a five-play, 51-yard scoring drive over 1:58. The drive was the 26th time this season the Razorbacks have recorded a touchdown drive of less than two minutes.
The Razorbacks notched the final points of the first half with Hocker connecting on a 20-yard field goal as time expired. Hocker finished his freshman campaign scoring 104 points, which ranks as the fourth-highest single-season kick scoring total in school history.
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