It’s no secret Arkansas relies on its passing, although it’s always more successful when the ground game contributes to the game plan. Against Tulsa on Saturday, Arkansas was balanced, passing 31 times and running the football 33 times. Quarterback Tyler Wilson was true on 21 passes for 272 yards. The rushing attack garnered 135 yards — 109 by Dennis Johnson and 27 by freshman Jonathan Williams.
At his midweek meeting with reporters, Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino called on wide receivers other than Cobi Hamilton to step up their performances against Tulsa. Hamilton was again the workhorse against the Hurricane with 11 catches, but three other receivers caught passes. Julian Horton had three and Demetrius Wilson and D’Arthur Cowan recorded two each. Johnson also caught three out of the backfield.
“(Julian) Horton needs to step up. He made a few more plays last week (against Ole Miss) …,” Petrino said at midweek. He also called on Cowan to be ready to make some plays.
“Cobi is going to get his balls and he has to make his plays, but some of those other guys need to make a few plays for us.”
The Razorbacks maintained the top passing rating among Southeastern Conference teams going into the Tulsa game, averaging 309.6 yards per outing. The mark was No. 17 in the nation. They likely will drop a bit after the 272-yard performance.
The Razorbacks rushed for more than 100 yards as a team for the fifth straight game.
Crip Hall Winner
A receiver has won the outstanding senior award in the homecoming game for the second straight season. Hamilton caught 11 passes for 177 yards and won the annual Crip Hall Award. Hall served as secretary of state in Arkansas beginning in 1937 and died in office in 1961. His wife, Nancy, was appointed to fill the remainder of his term and became the first woman to serve in the office.
A year ago, Jarius Wright was the winner, turning in a performance against South Carolina that included four receptions for 103 yards, highlighted by TD catches of 68 and 16 yards. Arkansas plays at South Carolina next week.
The 19-15 Arkansas victory marked the 72nd meeting between Arkansas and Tulsa and the 18th straight time Arkansas has come out on top. The last time Tulsa won was 1976, when Arkansas went into the game ranked 12th.
Tulsa was averaging more than four sacks per game going into the Arkansas game; they got to Wilson only once Saturday. Arkansas returned the favor with a single sack against Tulsa. Chris Smith, who led the team with eight tackles, got the sack on Tulsa quarterback Cody Green.
The longest pass completion against the Golden Hurricane was a 41-yarder from Wilson to Hamilton, but it was not a usual long-ball kind of game for Arkansas.
Wilson entered the game leading the nation in passes of 60-plus yards (six) and 50-plus yards (eight). He was tied for the lead for passes of more than 70 yards with three. He is tied for second in the NCAA and leads the SEC in passes good for 40-plus yards (now 13) and also is No. 1 in the league and tied for third in the country for passes of more than 30 yards (19). Wilson has one pass for more than 80 yards — tied for first in the SEC and third in the NCAA. On Saturday, he had two passes of 20 yards or more in addition to the 41-yard pass to Hamilton.
It was homecoming in Fayetteville with Queen Katie Waldrip reigning over festivities.
Waldrip, of Moro, is a Bumpers College senior in dietetics and hospitality management with a minor in agricultural business. Voting was tabulated Friday and she was crowned oat halftime of the Tulsa-Arkansas game.
Ironically, Arkansas’ homecoming record does not match its home record. Going into the game against the Golden Hurricane, Arkansas owned a mark of .808 in home games since 2009 — No. 20 in the country and fifth in the SEC. Over 90 homecoming games prior to Tulsa, Arkansas had won 54 of them for a .622 winning average.
Arkansas’ blocked PAT attempt following Tulsa’s second-quarter touchdown marked the first time since 2004 that the Razorbacks had blocked an opponent’s extra-point attempt. DeQuinta Jones from his defensive tackle position got credit for the block against Tulsa. Jeremy Harrell did it against New Mexico State in 2004.
Ish Ordonez, a former Razorback kicker who still ranks in the top 10 in several categories, was honorary captain for the Tulsa game. In 1979, Ordonez kicked 16 straight field goals — an NCAA record at the time. He was 18 of 22 for the season and was named second team All-American. He was All-Southwest Conference that season and in 1980, his senior year. The Razorbacks won 26 games during the three years Ordonez was the kicker, including a 10-2 record during the 1979 season that included an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. Ironically, Zach Hocker’s first-quarter field goal broke a tie with Ordonez for career field goals.
One of the most memorable games in Arkansas history was played on Nov. 3 — the seven-overtime victory over Ole Miss in Oxford in 2001. It was the first game in NCAA history to go to seven overtimes and Arkansas won it, 58-56.
The Razorbacks are 9-3-4 and 7-2-1 at home in games played on Nov. 3, including Saturday’s victory over Tulsa.
Familiar QB Name
Scanning the roster of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, a last name stands out to Razorback fans. Redshirt freshman Joseph Calcagni is the son of Arkansas quarterback Ron Calcagni. The younger Calcagni played his high school football at Springdale. His dad played under Lou Holtz at Arkansas and was the quarterback for Razorback teams that went 11-1 in 1977 and 9-2-1 in 1978. Calcagni did not play Saturday. Another Arkansan, Jared Grigg of Hindsville, started at offensive tackle for the Hurricane.