Hogs Hold On, 38-31

Eddie Jackson started and finished with huge defensive plays to key a 38-31 Arkansas victory over determined Boise State in college football Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium. Jackson returned a pass interception 39 yards for the game's opening touchdown then made a fourth-down tackle at the 1-yard line with 50 seconds left to snuff out BSU's attempt at a tying touchdown.

BSU's Broncos fell behind 24-0, but rallied behind its superb kicking game to tie the score at 31 with 9:01 left. Arkansas answered with Robby Hampton's 54-yard TD pass to Boo Williams with 6:12 to play, then relied on its defense for two stands the rest of the way.
 
Cedric Cobbs rushed 34 times for 174 yards with two touchdowns. Hampton completed 12 of 27 passes for 249 yards. Williams caught TD passes of 75 and 54 yards.
 
BSU quarterback Bart Hendricks was 23 of 48 passing for 304 yards and two TDs. Boise State couldn't convert third-and-1 on the game's opening possession when Carlos Hall broke through to throw Brock Forsey for a 3-yard loss. Arkansas was also three and out on its first try when Robby Hampton's third-and-eight screen went through Cedric Cobbs' hands.
 
After another three-and-out by Boise, the Hogs move into field goal range on a 21-yard pass to Richard Smith and an 11-yard ramble by Cobbs on the hurry-up sweep. However, a sack stalled the drive and Matt Swartz hooked a 41-yard field goal wide left.
 
Forsey got Boise's initial first down with consecutive runs of 6 and 7 yards. But, on a first snap from his own 37-yard line, Hendricks telegraphed a hook that Eddie Jackson read. The redshirt freshman cornerback stepped in front of the receiver and raced 39 yards untouched for a 7-0 lead at 6:52 of the first quarter.
 
Two plays later, the defense came up with another takeaway. Rover Corey Harris made a diving interception of a ball batted into the air by a BSU receiver. It gave the Hogs the ball at the BSU 12-yard line. It took just two plays to convert the turnover. Cedric Cobbs rambled 11 yards, blasting through two defenders. He powered over from the 1-yard line on the next play. It was 14-0 at the 5:44 mark of the first quarter.

The Hogs fooled the Broncos with an onside kick. De'Andre Berry recovered at the UofA 48-yard line. Cobbs had runs of 19 and 8 and Hampton found Boo Williams for 16. The drive stalled at the BSU 8-yard line. Swartz booted a 25-yard field goal to up the lead to 17-0 at 2:27 of the first quarter.
 
The Broncos made it to midfield, then punted the Hogs deep. All that did was give Hampton and Williams more room. Hampton, taking advantage of a free play when BSU jumped offside, lofted a soft toss down the sideline for Williams. The big split end was just a step behind Dempsy Dees. And, slowing down to make the catch, he deftly knocked Dees sideways to gallop away at the 50-yard line. Dees caught him at the 5-yard line, but Williams slapped him sideways again. He costed in to complete the 75-yard touchdown pass. It was 24-0 one play into the second quarter.
 
Arkansas' next possession ended when Cedric Cobbs was held to no gain on fourth-and-one at midfield. The Boncos pounded the Hogs inside along with a couple of short passes before Nick Calaycay booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at 3:55 of to the second quarter. Richard Smith's fumble at the Arkansas 35-yard line set up another Calaycay field goal, this one from 33 yards out to make it 24-6 with 1:30 left in the half.
 
Boise State continued its rally with a 7-play, 56-yard touchdown march to open the third quarter. The Broncos held the Hogs to three plays and out before a 20-yard punt return set things in motion. BSU faced only one third down situation. Hendricks completed four our of five passes in the drive, the last one for the final two yards, a swing pass to fullback Jay Swan. Hendricks hit Lou Fanucchi for the two-point play to make it 24-14 at 11:43 of the second.
 
After four scoreless possessions, the Arkansas offense came alive to march 68 yards in seven plays. The Hogs didn't face a third down. Hampton hit Richard Smith for 30 yards on a bootleg pass to open the drive, then turned it over to Cobbs the rest of the way. He carried six straight plays, plunging over from the 1-yard line to make it 31-14. The Broncos silenced the home crowd with David Mikell's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Mikell found a big hole through the left side of the Ho gs' kick coverage before sailing down the Arkansas sideline. Kevin Baker clipped Mikell's ankles at the UofA 20-yard line, but Mikell only stumbled slightly.
 
Travis Bugher blocked Richie Butler's punt to give BSU possession at the UofA 30-yard line, but big plays by Carlos Hall, Quinton Caver and Derrick Johnson stopped the Broncos. Calaycay booted a 41-yarder to make it 31-24 at 14:21 of the fourth.
 
The Hogs looked sharp in moving to the BSU 27-yard line. Hampton hit Williams for 13, Cobbs reversed his field for 17 and Wilson drew a defensive interference penalty on a bomb for another 15. However, Smith lost 9 yards on a reverse. The Hogs would come up empty when Swartz was wide left on a 42-yard field goal. It appeared the snap was a bit high.
 
It took the Broncos four plays to pull even. Hendricks punctured the Hogs secondary with three completions, the final one a 42-yard pass to Forsey behind Orlando Green. Forsey was open by 15 yards. It was 31-31 with 9:01 to play.
 
The Hogs put together their most impressive march of the game to reclaim the lead. They went 84 yards in five plays. Hampton faked cornerback Dee Ross to the ground for the home run. He raised up for what Ross thought was going to be a short hook for Williams. Ross took the fake, then slipped to the ground when he realized Williams was going deep. Williams was 20 yards behind the BSU defense when he caught Hampton's lob. It went for a 54-yard TD pass and a 38-31 Arkansas lead at 6:12 of the fourth quarter.
 
Boise State came up empty on its first try after losing the lead, but drove from its own 17-yard line to gain a first down at the UofA 1-yard line in the final two minutes. On fourth down from the 9-yard line, Hendricks found Andre Banks at the 1-yard line. Jackson was able to pull Banks out of bounds just inside the 1-yard line for the clinching play.

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