Arkansas 48, Missouri St. 10

Dennis Johnson scores on the first play of the season, Ryan Mallett passes for 309 yards and the Razorbacks set a new school record with 447 of their 591 yards total offense through the air in a 48-10 season-opening rout of Missouri State Saturday night before 55,572 at War Memorial Stadium.

LITTLE ROCK - Even if it was against a woefully overmatched foe, the Ryan Mallett era got off to a bang up start with a new school record for passing yards.

Of course, Dennis Johnson was the one who got the party and the season started in spectacular fashion Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Johnson ripped off a 91-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game and Michigan transfer Mallett was 17-of-22 passing for 309 yards and a touchdown as the University of Arkansas whipped Missouri State 48-10 before a sellout crowd of 55,572 fans.

"We came down here and did what we set out to do," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "I was really happy with our preparation and the way that we traveled. We are a more mature team than we were a year ago and it showed in the game. There is a lot that we have to learn, but first and foremost I want to emphasize the positive aspects. We will get to work and fix the negatives by next game."

Back-up signal caller Tyler Wilson was 13-of-19 passing for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Razorbacks passed for 447 yards – 60 more than the previous school record of 387 - and had a total offense advantage of 591-205.

Mallett connected on his first nine passes before throwing an incompletion and neither quarterback was sacked.

"I was happy with both quarterbacks tonight," Petrino said. "Ryan did a good job of showing a demeanor and leadership. He got hit a couple of times and it was a good thing. He stayed in the pocket and made good decisions. I was happy with the protection, the timimg, the way the ball came out of his hand and of course the accuracy."

Jarius Wright also had a big opening night with 6 catches for 139 yards while fellow sophomore speedster Joe Adams had 4 catches for 70 yards a TD.

True freshman Cobi Hamilton had 4 catches for 56 yards, Greg Childs 4 for 50 and London Crawford 2 for 44 before leaving with a broken collarbone.

Those guys were loving the fact that Arkansas went to the air many times on 1st and 10 - likely a school record, too, from a program who tradition has been running the ball.

"At one point, I told the guys in the booth, 'I feel like I am calling a pass every first down,'" Petrino said. "Usually it is about 50 percent pass and 50 percent run on the first and 10, but tonight that wasn't the case and a big part of that was that we had such good protection up front."

The Razorbacks' nearly 600 yards of total offense included a 99-yard yard drive that Mallett directed at the start of the 3rd quarter.

"The game was everything I expected it to be," Mallett said. "It has been my lifelong dream to come out and play as a Razorback."

Arkansas won the toss and Johnson – who broke the school record for kickoff return yardage last season - fielded the ball at the 9.

He broke up the middle and then made his way to the left sideline. Although a couple of Bears had angles on him, Johnson left them behind.

It was quite a different start from the 2008 campaign when then-freshman Elton Ford fumbled the season's opening kickoff.

"I loved it," said Johnson, who took one to the house last year while having over 900 yards in returns. "What more could we ask for to start the season off right and we wanted to go out and take the kickoff back. We had been talking about it for awhile.

While it pumped up the Razorbacks and their crowd, it also deflated the Bears according to wideout Antonio Brown.

"It really deflates you," Alvis said. "I think we could have a better showing if we didn't start like that."

The sentiment was echoed by cornerback Cedric Alvis.

"That kickoff return was demoralizing," Alvis said. "College football is about momentum and we started out without momentum."

It became 14-0 when Wendel Davis picked off a pass and Michael Smith eventually raced in from 15 yards out with 8:37 left in the first quarter.

That was not the start Missouri State head coach Terry Allen.

"The opening kickoff and the interception put us in a hole and we're not a sure enough or good enough football team to overcome that," Dean said.

Missouri State did get on the board with Matt Hottelman's 53-yard field goal to get within 14-3 at the 3:16 mark.

But Arkansas was back in the end zone less than two minutes later with Broderick Green doing the honors from 1 yard out as the Razorbacks broke out 21-3 with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter.

It was the most points scored in any one quarter by a Bobby Petrino coached Arkansas team, but linebacker Wendel Davis - who led the way with 7 tackles - was a little bummed.

"I'm never satisfied, but I am happy with the way we played," Davis said. "I wanted the shutout, but you will always take the win."

Green got just three yards on three carries inside the 5 on the next series, but back-up Wilson hit fullback Van Stumon on a 2-yard TD pass.

That coupled with Tejada's 4th PAT put the Razorbacks ahead 28-3 with 7:36 left before halftime.

While Tejada was solid in the PAT and field goal aspectt, he kicked two kickoffs out of bounds and back-up Cameron Bryan came on to do the same.

"He did a good job on extra points and field goals, but we can't kick the ball out of bounds on kickoffs," Petrino said. "He is very capable of doing a good job and has done well in practice. Sometimes in the game you just try to put a little more swing in it and lose accuracy."

Jonathan Davis' 2 yard TD run got the Bears their first TD of the season, but Arkansas had enough time to jump into its 2 minute offense.

The Razorbacks raced 75 yards down the field getting to the Bears' 2 yard line with just under a minute left.

After two Green runs and a Mallett incompletion, Arkansas settled for a Tejada 20-yard field goal that sent the Razorbacks to halftime with a 31-10 advantage.

"We got two stops on the goal like and forced fourth down and field goals," Allen said. "Last year they would've walked right in on our defense."

After Tramain Thomas intercepted a pass at the 1 on the Bears' first series of the 3rd quarter, Mallett marched the Razorbacks 99 yards in 7 plays.

The seventh one was a pass to Adams, who turned it into a 40-yard scoring one with Tejada's PAT making it 38-10 at the 11:13 mark.

Tejada's 24-yard field goal boosted it to 41-10 with 6:09 left in the third quarter.

True freshman punter Dylan Breeding was a redshirt until 1:40 left in the third quarter when the Razorbacks were forced to punt.

It became 48-10 in the fourth quarter when Wilson tossed a 1-yard scoring toss to Cobi Hamilton.

True freshman Ronnie Wingo led the rushing chart with 8 carries for 50 yards while 2008 workhorse and preseason All-SEC Smith had 4 carries for 43 yards.

Green actually had the most carries with 10 for 31 yards.

Senior wideout London Crawford caught 2 passes for 44 yards before suffering a collarbone injury.

Arkansas takes a week off before hosting Georgia in Fayetteville on Sept. 19.

The Bulldogs, who lost 24-10 at Oklahoma State on Saturday, play South Carolina next week.

"We all want to go out there and play, but we need the time to really fine tune everything and get it right," Smith said.

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