Adams was electric with two punt returns for touchdowns and Wilson was efficient in his first start at quarterback as Arkansas sped past Missouri State in a 51-7 college football opener Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Adams returned six punts for 174 yards. He had 61-yarder in the first quarter and a 69-yarder in the third quarter. The second one came after he muffed it initially, then back tracked and reversed his field.
Wilson wasn't flawless, but he was efficient. But the Hogs scored all four of his possessions, one of them on a field goal just before halftime. He was 18 of 24 for 260 yards, including two spectacular catches by Jarius Wright for 33 and 29 yards.
But he might not remember all of that as much as a pre-game moment he shared with offensive coordinator Garrick McGee.
"When they put up the video on the board to announce the starting lineup, I saw Tyler look up there," McGee said. "I saw him smile. That was pretty special for him to finally have it happen."
Wilson said, "Yeah, coach saw me look. He was smiling, too. I smiled and he smiled back. That was awesome. It gave me chills in the pre-game when they announced that. I tried to stop for a second and take it all in and then re-focus."
How did it feel to play the game? Was the fourth-year junior from Greenwood at all nervous?
"No, I was ready," he said. "I was prepared for it. I had a great camp. I was ready to do this and play the game.
"Honestly, I thought I missed a few things. I missed a few throws on the goal line and I had a couple that were behind guys that aren't hard throws, some I should make.
"I should have gotten it to Joe Adams a little more, but he still made fireworks, didn't he?"
There were fireworks all night, sometimes by the first defensive front in a suffocating performance. Defensive end Jake Bequette said things went according to plan.
"The goal is always for the defensive front, our ends and tackles to make the offensive front spend all of their energy with us and let our linebackers go free," Bequette said. "I think that's what it sounds like happened tonight.
"Missouri State's plan was just to run. They aren't a dropback team so we didn't get to chase the quarterback as much as we like, but we pretty much stopped the run."
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson thought the first group did just that.
"I thought our ones were good," he said. "There were a lot of three and outs with that group. Obviously, our twos weren't quite as productive, but I think that first front was really good. They set the tone early and got off the field. They made plays on first down and then again on third down."
The Hogs limited Missouri State to just 49 plays on offense. That's low considering the Bears got two extra possessions because Adams took two punts to the house.
"I thought the positive was that we played gap sound up front," Bequette said. "We wanted to be disciplined because they were going to run a lot of counters and misdirection because of our speed. I was proud of our defensive front for staying in there and running them down. We showed our discipline and then flashed our speed."
The Hogs opened in a 5-2 front with three tackles, starting Robert Thomas, Byran Jones and Dede Jones with Tenarius Wright and Bequette outside.
"We ran that same look last year with Damario Ambrose up and that helps us to have an end stand up as a linebacker," Bequette said. "But we have some flexibility and we ran a lot of other looks, too."
Bequette said not everything went as planned. He promised to work on his high five celebration with Wilson. He said he'll make sure it doesn't happen on the field of play and with better timing.
"He jumped and I was late," Bequette said. "It's physics. Once you jump and the other guy didn't, it's not going to look too good. We didn't do a very good job. I was kinda hoping no one saw that, but I guess you did. Tyler and I will do better next time."
There can be only one first time, though. Bequette said he was watching Wilson as the captains went to midfield for the coin toss.
"We went out there and he was pumped," Bequette said. "It was a lot of fun to walk out there with him tonight. He was jacked and ready.
"He's the leader of this team, the leader of this offense. You saw how he can play. It's like that every practice. He's about to have a special season. He's so efficient and clean. You saw how we see him in practice."
But he's never taken a hit like he did at the 1-yard line against the Bears. Both head coach Bobby Petrino and McGee gave Wilson some grief for taking that shot on a third-down scamble that came up short.
"I'm a better athlete and I would have scored," McGee taunted. "But you've got to be a willing runner and sometimes you have to try to go score. I think he needed to show that he could do that."
Not according to Petrino.
"He showed his toughness -- and his stupidity," Petrino said. "He tried to dive in and landed on his head. We want our quarterbacks to go down and avoid that hit."
Wilson shrugged his shoulders.
"I just wanted to give it everything I had," he said. "Coach McGee might have scored on that one, but we won't ever know, will we?"
What McGee does know is that his quarterbacks prepared well for the opener. He said he judges the total day, not just the game.
"We have our routine and it starts in the meeting room and the quarterbacks were focused and they understood the game plan, what would be there," McGee said. "They had a good day."
Petrino said it was clear the Hogs could throw as much as they wanted.
"We want to run it better than we did and we know we aren't there yet," he said. "We've still got work to do. But they had a plan on defense to blitz the run game and when they do that, you throw it. We'll keep working on the run game."
The disappointment wasn't the run game, but in the protection. The Hogs gave up three sacks.
"It's not acceptable to turn someone loose and get our quarterback hit and we did that tonight," he said. "We'll have to see on the film if it was the tackle or the guard not helping. We've got to get that fixed."