Arkansas 41, Boise State 14 (Final)

Arkansas rolled to a 34-0 lead behind solid defensive play to throttle Boise State before 70,142 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in the Hogs' season opener Saturday night.

The Hogs drew their second largest home crowd when over 4,500 tickets were sold Saturday afternoon. Attendance was announced at 70,142. That was just under the 70,470 that attended last year's Tennessee game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Only the extreme southwest corner of the East upper deck had many empty seats.


Arkansas couldn't ever muster an effective passing game with any of its three quarterbacks, but enjoyed solid field position to dominate the visitors from the Western Athletic Conference, holding them to single digits in rushing yardage for most of the game thanks to plenty of sacks from lightning blitzes.


The Hogs knocked Boise State quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie out of the game in the first half with eight sacks and two turnovers en route to a 24-0 lead at intermission. The Hogs also blocked Dinwiddie's punt on a trick play and returned it for a touchdown to completely stymie one of the nation's top statistical returnees.



Dinwiddie sustained a badly sprained ankle after his pass was batted up at the line of scrimmage by Gavin Walls and intercepted by Keith Turner with 9:33 left in the half. That turnover set up a three-play, 42-yard drive climaxed by Cedric Cobbs' 38-yard scamper on a draw for the touchdown.


The Hogs got an easy score to start the game when Dinwiddie, lining up only 8 yards deep in punt formation on a fourth-and-7 from the BSU 40, had no chance to get off the punt when Tony Bua stormed through for a block. Bo Mosley scooped and ran 22 yards for the touchdown. It was 7-0 at 11:38 of the first quarter.


Ken Hamlin's fumble recovery after Bua blasted the ball loose from David Mikell set up the Hogs at the UA 46 with 3:11 left. It took just three plays to cover the 54 yards. The first was a 33-yard pass over the middle from Matt Jones to Richard Smith. Jones' pass was a bit high and Smith stretched to haul it in as he tumbled to the ground at the BSU 21. Cobbs made 12 before Jones, on a scramble to the right after almost tripping, found Mark Pierce in the flat for a 14-yard TD pass to make it 14-0 at 2:30 of the first quarter.


The Hogs wasted another BSU turnover, a fumble by Dinwiddie, and then gave the ball back when Richie Butler was hit as he was dropping the ball for a punt, giving the Broncos possession at the UA 4The Hogs wasted another BSU turnover, a fumble by Dinwiddie, and then gave the ball back when Richie Butler was hit as he was dropping the ball for a punt, giving the Broncos possession at the UA 48 with 11:13 left in the half.


Dinwiddie was sacked by Pierre Brown on first down, and then had his pass down the middle batted by Walls with Turner making the interception.


The Hogs cashed that chance with Cobbs' TD on the draw. They added a 32-yard Brennan O'Donohoe field goal to make it 24-0 with 2:45 left after an 11-play, 48-yard march , most of it on the ground. It stalled when Jason Peters dropped a Jones pass, and then Jones underthrew an open George Wilson on an out.


Boise State gambled and lost on a fourth-and-4 with 39 seconds left, giving the Hogs the ball back at their own 40 with 39 seconds left. The Hogs gave BSU a shot at points to close the half when Butler's punt was blocked and returned to the UA 28 with four seconds left. Tyler Jones was wide left on a 45-yard field goal try to end the half.


The Hogs scored first in the second half. Ken Hamlin's 11-yard fumble return to the BSU 30 setup a five-play drive to make it 31-0 at 6:03 of the third quarter. Jones had an 11-yard keeper on the option to start it. Jones looked right, then patiently turned left to find Decori Birmingham wide open near the goal line for a 6-yard TD pass.


Brandon Holmes ripped the ball loose on the ensuing kickoff, and the Hogs got the ball back at the BSU 23-yard line. Tarvaris Jackson couldn't move the team, and O'Donohoe kicked it to 34-0 at 4:48 of the third with a 32-yard field goal.


That's when Houston Nutt began to clear his bench. He brought in his third quarterback, Ryan Sorahan, with the second unit, but an illegal receiver down field thwarted his first chance late in the third quarter.


Boise State did get on the scoreboard with an impressive drive against the UA starting defense. Quarterback B. J. Rohde beat the blitz on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Lou Fanucchi with 13:58 to play in the fourth quarter.


The Hogs brought Jones back to quarterback one more drive, with 10 minutes left from the UA 27-yard line. Jones rolled left for 6 yards to start things, then handed to Cobbs for 10. After making 7 on an option keeper right, Jones converted third-and-3 with a 15-yard strike to George Wilson. But, the play was wiped out by a holding call. Jones scrambled for 11 to setup fourth-and-2, and De'Arrius Howard was stopped short to give BSU the ball back at the UA 49-yard line with 7:36 left.


It took one play for the Broncos to take advantage of that field position gift. Rhode found Fanucchi just barely behind Eddie Jackson for a 49-yard bomb. Jackson lined up 12 yards off the BSU wideout, and got beat to the inside on the post with no help from a safety. It was 34-14 at 7:26 of the fourth quarter.


Mark Pierce jumped to catch a high, bouncing onside kick to give the Hogs possession  at the UA 48-yard line. Jones converted third-and-10 with a 17-yard draw straight through the heart of BSU's defense. But, on third-and-5, Cobbs stepped out of bounds for a loss on a swing pass from Jones. David Carlton lined up for a 50-yard field goal on fourth-and-8, but holder Darrell Loggains shoveled a pass to Brandon Holmes for an 11-yard gain to the BSU 22-yard line. On third-and-6, Jones found Richard Smith isolated on a cornerback, and waited as he turned his man twice for an 18-yard curl in the heart of the end zone. It went to 41-14 on O'Donohoe's extra point despite a celebration penalty after the TD.



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