Wilson passed for 419 yards and Hamilton set a school and SEC record with 303 yards receiving, but Rutgers downed Arkansas 35-26 before 72,543 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Gary Nova passed for 397 yards and five touchdowns as the Scarlet Knights (4-0) rolled up 515 yards total offense and remained unbeaten while sending the Razorbacks (1-3) to their third straight loss – all at home.
"Our guys hung in there and battled," Arkansas head coach John L. Smith said afterwards. "I do appreciate our fans and their support. I know they are disappointed and they deserve better and we are going to go to the field and give them that better. All we know how to do is battle."
Arkansas plays its first road game of the season next week at Texas A&M and became the first team since Alabama in 2000 to be ranked in the top 10 in preseason and then lose three games in September.
"Am I surprised? Yeah," said Smith, who attended his brother's funeral in Idaho on Friday.
Hamilton's effort – albeit a record-setting one – went for naught and he said he would certainly have traded it for a win.
"I would trade all my yards for a win," said Hamilton, who had three touchdowns among his 10 catches on the night. "That is what we came here to do. We came to win. We know this is going to change our season around, but we've still got another chance next week. We're going to take that advantage of that. We wanted to come out with a win today, but we will come out fighting against A&M."
Wilson, who missed the second half of Arkansas' loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and the entire 52-0 loss to top-ranked Alabama, was 20-of-40 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Both of those picks came in the second half – one at the goal line with his team trailing 35-26 in the third quarter and another in the fourth with the score the same.
Wilson had rallied his team from a 14-10 halftime deficit -- it grew to 21-10 early in the third -- to a 28-26 deficit with two touchdown passes to Hamilton early in the fourth quarter.
"Physically I feel pretty good," Wilson said. "It's good to complete a full game. Obviously we have to get a win. Physically I feel good, but deep down inside it's not so good."
Rutgers first-year head coach Kyle Flood – who took over when Greg Schiano left to become head coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers – was understandably pleased with getting a win over an SEC team.
"Certainly a really exciting game," Flood said. "It was a great environment down here. The (fans) certainly gave us some issues; we had some false starts and things like that.
"There were so many big plays in this game, on both sides," Flood added. "We were fortunate to make a couple more and in the end, it was a win the Rutgers way. Toughness, momentum swings, the ability to fight through adversity, big plays in the kicking game."
Rutgers tailback Juwan Jamison – who had 41 carries for 151 yards last week – finished the night against Arkansas with 33 totes for 118 of his team's 128 yards rushing.
That's compared to Arkansas backs Dennis Johnson (6 carries, 47 yards) and Knile Davis (10 carries, 17 yards) in a Razorback offense that totaled just 73 yards rushing.
"I want to say we stopped the run, kept them under a hundred yards," Flood said. "Jawan goes over 100 yards. That's the Rutgers way. That's our formula. Run the football, stop the run, create plays on special teams and the ability to play 60 minutes and play through adversity. I'm really proud of this football team."
Flood felt like his team survived Wilson and Hamilton.
"He's (Hamilton) is a dynamic football player and he has the right guy throwing him the ball," Flood said. "Some of those passes are not defendable. There's an expression that there is no defense for the perfect pass. And when you play Tyler Wilson, there are going to be some of those."
Arkansas – which wore white helmets for the first time since 1951 - lost senior tight end Chris Gragg (2 catches, 8 yards) in the first quarter and he did not return due to a leg injury.
The Razorbacks' defense has now let opposing quarterbacks complete 78-of-118 passes for 998 yards and nine touchdowns in the last three games.
Many will point to a decision in the fourth quarter with the Razorbacks down 35-26 and facing a fourth and 10 at its own 48. With all three timeouts left and just over six minutes left, Arkansas chose to punt and the ball was downed at the Rutgers one.
It appeared the Razorback defense had corralled Jamison in the end zone for a safety that would have cut it to 35-28 and given the home team the ball. But Jamison bounced away and went 24 yards.
"On the fourth and 10, I felt like that with six minutes left and we had all of our timeouts left," Smith said, "and then we get them down on the one and we've got them stopped for a safety – we just have to make that play…I felt like we still had enough time."
Arkansas linebacker Ross Rasner was stunned that Jamison got away.
"It looked like we had him three or four yards deep in the end zone," Rasner said. "We had four guys on him. I thought it was a safety and then he popped around the corner and had a 20-yard gain. That is where the game fell apart for us. If we make that play we are back in the game."
Rutgers had to eventually punt, but Wilson's pass went off Demetrius Wilson's hands and was intercepted and the visitors then ran out the clock.
"There were some thoughts about going for it, but I just thought there is enough time up there and we had all of our timeouts left that we can make this work," Smith added.
Arkansas grabbed a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter on Zach Hocker's 37-yard field goal and Wilson's 57-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton.
Rutgers appeared to cut that lead to 10-3 early in the second quarter on Kyle Federico's field goal, but Arkansas was offside and that resulted in a first down for the visitors.
Novan took advantage immediately by hitting Jamison with a 10-yard scoring toss.
He would then connect with Brandon Coleman on a 19-yard TD pass with 90 seconds left before halftime to send Rutgers ahead 14-10 at intermission.
"Things were real good the first quarter, real good," Smith said. "I thought the big play to me, where the momentum shifted was our offside and then we give them the score rather than the field goal. I thought that was a big change in the game."
Nova and Coleman (6 catches, 89 yards) teamed up on a 38-yard touchdown pass on the Scarlet Knights first possession of the second half to push that advantage to 21-10 with 10:33 left in third quarter.
It grew to 28-13 before Wilson got Arkansas back in it only to see a two-point conversion that would have tied it 28-28 failing.
Smith was asked if there was any hope in righting the ship.
"Why would they not think these guys are going to do the best that they can to right the ship?" Smith asked in response to a question on why fans should think there was a chance to right the ship.
"They are going to go to the field – that's all we know," Smith added. "We don't have any other option except to go to the field, start tomorrow, work as hard as we can work and hopefully get some guys back and then try to right the ship.
"As coaches we have to continue to analyze ourselves and try and make things better, simplify as much as we can, give them enough, but keep it simple enough that we can execute it," Smith continued. "That's all we know how to do and all these kids know how to do."
Chris Gragg rolls with a catch, but later left with a knee injury.
Tyler Wilson returned at quarterback.
Dennis Johnson returns a kickoff.
Cobi Hamilton makes a touchdown catch.
MeKale McKay had this potential TD catch go through his hands.
Tyler Wilson delivers a pass ahead of the rush.
The Hogs sported new white helmets.
Photos by Marc F. Henning