Arkansas 45, Tulsa 13 (Final)

Matt Jones dazzled on the option in the first half and tossed a bomb for a TD in the second to help Arkansas defeat Tulsa to open the season.

The Hogs took a 28-3 halftime lead with Matt Jones leading a pair of scoring drives, and Ryan Sorahan engineering TD drives in his only two appearances. Both of the TDs with Jones at the helm came on the option play. He drew two defenders before pitching to Cedric Cobbs on a 58-yard TD run. Jones kept out of the shotgun on an option run to the left for 53 yards to make it 28-3 with 2:49 left in the half.

Sorahan hit Richard Smith on a an underneath route to open his first possession, and the speedy wide receiver broke loose on the outside for a 48-yard gain to the 16-yard line. A pass interference penalty on a lob to Jones in the end zone got a first-and-goal at the TU 2-yard line. De'Arrius Howard rolled around right end for the 2-yard TD run.

Sorahan took the Hogs 53 yards in seven plays on his second chance. He found George Wilson for 15 yards, and another 15 was tacked on for a roughing penalty. Sorahan passed 12 to Jason Peters, then 8 to Wilson for the TD.

Tulsa's only score in the first half was on Brad DeVault's 48-yard field goal. It came on TU's first possession and was the product of a 38-yard fake punt. The Hurricane, plagued in the first half by 10 penalties for 88 yards, opened the second half with a 10-play, 66-yard drive for DeVault's 31-yard field goal.

Arkansas put Chris Baleseiro in position for a 40-yard field goal on its first possession of the second half, but the sophomore from Miami, Fla., was wide left. Regular kicker David Carlton sat out after spraining his left ankle in a pickup basketball game earlier in the week.

The Hogs sputtered on their second possession when Sorahan didn't see a wide open Richard Smith down the middle and DeCori Birmingham dropped Sorahan's strike deep on the next play.

Sorahan led the Hogs 46 yards in four plays to make it 35-6 on Howard's 5-yard burst up the middle. Howard had a 31-yard sprint to the 9-yard line to set up his touchdown.

Tulsa answered with a 12-play, 80-yard march against Arkansas' second team. Uril Parrish scored from 5 yards out, breaking two tackles at the line of scrimmage, and leaving three Hogs sprawled behind him.

The Hogs responded with a 4-play, 80-yard march, split between Sorahan and Jones. Sorahan hit Richard Smith on a 32-yard strike. Then, Jones came on to throw a tight spiral on a post that Smith caught up with a dive at the goal line for a 41-yard TD pass. The Hogs led 42-13 with 8:27 left. Baleseiro booted a 29-yard field goal with 5:26 left to finish the scoring.

The Hogs gained 482 yards in total offense and averaged 8.5 yards per play. Cedric Cobbs rushed 12 times for 145 yards. De'Arrius Howard made 65 on 15 carries.

Jones completed 6 of 10 passes for 72 yards. Sorahan was 5 of 9 for 116. Neither had an interception and there was only one sack, of Sorahan.

Roy Wittke, the Hogs' new passing game coordinator, said the QB substitutions were per the pre-game script.

"We pretty well did it the way we talked about," Wittke said. "That wasn't a perfect game, but it went the way we hoped it would go.

"We even talked about at halftime that we wanted to switch the QBs in the middle of a drive, and we did that and Matt (Jones) came in and threw a TD pass.

"Our QBs have practiced well and I thought they played well tonight. I think we came in with some confidence and they played like we thought they could."

Ryan Sorahan was the last player to enter the locker room, long after most all of his teammates had showered and left.

"I'm sorry I'm so late," Sorahan said. "I was signing autographs for the Burls kids, and there were a bunch of them. I didn't want them to leave without an autograph."

Sorahan said he thought the offense did well.

"In the past, the talk around here has been that the offense didn't do anything and the defense won the games," Sorahan said. "So, it was good that the offense stepped up tonight and did what we thought we could do.

"Rotating the QBs was alright tonight. I thought both me and Matt did pretty well at keeping our focus. That's not easy when you are coming in and out, but we both did pretty well at it. I wasn't expecting him to come in for that one play, but it worked pretty well."

Jones ran for one TD, threw for another. Sorahan also threw for a TD.

"So, we all helped out a little tonight," Sorahan said. "We gave a good account of ourselves."

Defensively, the Hogs gave up a lot of yards, but not a lot of points. Tulsa amassed 371 yards of total offense, but was penalized 12 times for 103 yards.

The tackling was lacking tonight and that's not my account. That's what the coaches and the players said.

"Tackling was poor," said Dave Wommack. "We knew we'd miss some because we made the decision not to scrimmage so much in preseason. So tackling is going to be off a little, but not this much. We've got some work to do there.

"Looking back, I still like the plan. We kept our team healthy and we'll get better. We just needed to get on the field and play."

Tony Bua said he could count five missed tackles alone.

"I missed five that I know of," Bua said. "As far as my play, I'd grade myself 100 for getting lined up right and not getting beat (deep), but I give myself about a 50 for the way I played.

"I told myself over and over the last four or five months to not go for the big hit and just wrap up and get them down. Well, I got in the game, and there I go, trying to kill people. I know others did that, too. You don't need to hit someone as hard as you can. You need to get them on the ground.

"I bet when we look at the film, about half their yardage came after we hit them and missed. You can't miss tackles like we did tonight. I would guess we'll have some fundamental tackling drills on Tuesday. We need them."

Line coach Tracy Rocker was shaking his head afterwards.

"Lots of work is what we need, lots of it," Rocker said. "We played everybody but the freshman. As far as who played well, I don't know. Maybe the film will show me something. I don't know.

"All I know is that we are a long, long way from being there. Work is the only way I know to get there. I know we can do better than we did tonight."


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