FAYETTEVILLE - For a little while Saturday night it looked like Texas was going to come into the University of Arkansas' house and kick things around just like the Razorbacks did in the Longhorns' place in Austin back in 2003.
While Arkansas did make it a battle, took the lead into intermission and then looked on poised to win it late, the result ended up being the same as a season ago with the visitors going home happy.
Senior tailback Cedric Benson rushed 29 times for 188 yards and sophomore quarterback Vincent Young accounted for 206 yards total offense as No. 7 Texas downed Arkansas 22-20 in what turned into a thriller before a school-record 75, 671 fans Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
UA senior quarterback Matt Jones piled up 342 total offense – 249 passing and 93 rushing - as the Razorbacks rolled up 458 yards to Longhorns' 409, but several UT defenders forced his fumble at the Texas 8 with just over two minutes.
"This was my fault," Jones said. "Our last three possessions were turnovers by me. If I play better, we'll be fine. The rest of the team did their part. I've got to play better than that. You can't play like a freshmen. I did.
"I underthrow Steven Harris on the interception. If I put it out there, he gets it. I was trying to get in position for a field goal on the run where I fumble. You must protect the ball, especially at the end of the game. We were getting ready to win the game and I lost the ball. I have to play better than that.
"Our team is good. We have talent and we have heart. We'll be fine, but I have to play better. I didn't get it done. That's the bottom line."
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was proud of the effort and heart of his team, but disappointed with the mistakes at the end.
"Matt Jones is a playmaker and he makes things happen," Nutt said. "Against a defense with the speed that Texas has, you know they are going to be coming from behind. Most teams, when he gets past the first group, no one is going to catch you. Texas has better speed than most teams.
"We just made two many mistakes, too many turnovers. Matt isn't to blame. We lose as a team and there is no finger pointing. We did some things well and some things not as well. We've got things to fix.
"But we've got a good team, better than I thought. Our offensive line hung in there and played with heart and went toe-to-toe with a very good Texas defense. Dedrick Poole was a nice change of pace, just like we thought he'd be. I thought he was going to score on the screen. He made a great cut."
Texas coach Mack Brown credited the Hogs for a fine game. Nutt said the UT skipper interupted him during their post-game visit.
"I was trying to tell Mack that it was a hardfought game and that his team played very well, and he stopped me and told me that both teams played very well and that we should not hang our heads with the way we played," Nutt said. "I appreciate that. It just hurts because we had a chance to win the game and didn't. It really hurts."
Arkansas (1-1) got one more shot with 48 seconds left, but Texas (2-0) ended the game with an interception – the home team's fourth turnover of the night - and ended the Razorbacks' three-game winning streak in its series.
The game started ominously for Arkansas when a punt snap sailed over Jacob Skinner's head and out of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
Texas pushed that margin to 9-0 on the next possession when quarterback Vincent Young went up top to tight end David Thomas for a 47-yard touchdown pass that was followed by Dusty Mangrum's PAT with 11:37 left in the third quarter.
The Razorbacks managed to steadied themselves by driving 80 yards in 8 plays, an effort capped by freshman Peyton Hillis' 8-yard touchdown run and Chris Balseiro's PAT at the 8:41 mark.
That would not be the end of the first quarter's scoring, however, as Texas running back Cedric Logan burst 60 yards soon afterwards, a play that set up his 3-yard TD run that coupled with the PAT to surge the Longhorns ahead 16-7 with 5:38 remaining in the second half.
Benson accounted for all but two yards of the seven-play, 78 yard drive.
The defenses took hold after that and stymied the opposing offenses deep into the second quarter when Carlos Ousley used his legs and arms for a couple of big plays.
Ousley caught a 23-yard pass from Jones and then tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass to running back DeCori Birmingham, a pass that wasn't exactly a bullet but was effective and got Arkansas within 16-14 with 5:18 left before halftime.
The Razorbacks then took lead on their next possession in large part to the biggest play of junior running back Dedrick Poole's career.
Poole took a short pass and turned it into a 50-yard jaunt in which he eluded several defenders. Arkansas took a 17-14 lead at the end of that drive when Balseiro was true from 27 yards out just 2:08 before intermission.
Texas reclaimed the lead on its first possession of the second half with a 9-play, 72-yard scoring drive that featured Young eluding John Jackson's sack attempt and hitting Benson for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
Freshman defensive end Jamal Anderson stopped Young on the 2-point attempt leaving Texas ahead 22-17 with 8:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Texas had a chance to increase that lead into the fourth quarter, but senior Dusty Mangrum missed a 41-yard attempt.
Balserio got it to within 22-20 when he drilled one from 34 yards with 9:58 left in the game.
Dedrick Poole struggles for yardage against the Longhorns.
Arkansas' pom pon squad cheers before the game.
Houston Nutt calls a play.
Matt Jones prepares a pass.
Fans came ready for the Texas game.
F16s planes are high over head during the pre-game ceremonies.
DeCori Birmingham hauls in a touchdown pass from Carlos Ousley on a trick play.
Photos by Tom Ewart
Texas 22, Arkansas 20 (Final)
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