Sooner Defense Smothers Hogs

Oklahoma wanted its 11th win and the defense made sure the Sooners got it. No. 10 Oklahoma held Arkansas to 66 yards total offense and earned a 10-3 victory over the Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl.

Although they weren't playing in the Rose Bowl, the Oklahoma Sooners sure showed a national championship-caliber defense.

Roy Williams had two of No. 10 Oklahoma's school record-tying nine sacks and Rocky Calmus made 11 tackles and recovered a late fumble, keeping Arkansas from getting anything going on offense in a 10-3 victory in the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday.

The Sooners (11-2), who might have been able to defend their national championship with a better offense, didn't get much this time, either -- only a 1-yard touchdown run by Nate Hybl in the first quarter and a 32-yard field goal by Tim Duncan to open the second half.

But the OU defense made that lead seem insurmountable. The Razorbacks (7-5) gained only 50 yards on 55 plays and made just six first downs, two by penalties.

New Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long stuck to basics in his first game calling plays, enabling Hybl to set a Cotton Bowl record with 24 completions. Most came on short passes, though, as he finished 24-of-32 for 175 yards.

Arkansas' bid for comeback started when its best drive ended in a 32-yard field goal by Brennan O'Donohoe with 9:46 left. The Razorbacks had the ball three more times, yet Williams, Calmus and Co. kept them from even crossing midfield.

Williams threw Gerald Howard for a 9-yard loss on a pitch during Arkansas' next drive, then Calmus ended the following series by recovering a fumble by quarterback Matt Jones.

A perfectly placed punt by Jeff Ferguson forced the Razorbacks' final possession to start at the 1 with six seconds left. Two incompletions later, the Sooner Schooner rode onto the field to start celebrating the 11th 11-win season in school history.

Oklahoma's sacks, which cost Arkansas 55 yards, were its most in a bowl and matched the most in any game. Jimmy Wilkerson and Brandon Moore joined Williams with two. Williams had only two all season while Moore had none.

The final one came by Teddy Lehman when he hit Jones and pried the ball loose on Arkansas' second-to-last drive.

It's no surprise that Williams and Calmus would make the biggest plays. Williams won the Bronko Nagurski Award for nation's top defensive player and the Thorpe Award for top defensive back; Calmus was a runner-up for the Nagurski and won the Butkus Award for top linebacker.

Brandon Holmes led the Razorbacks with 27 yards rushing. Jones and Fred Talley each ran for 23 and Zak Clark was 2-of-12 for 13 yards with an interception.


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