2012 College Football: No. 10 Arkansas Defeats Jacksonville State 49-24


Fayetteville, Ark. – Despite some rough moments the Arkansas Razorbacks put an exclamation point on their 2012 season opener against Jacksonville State Saturday night winning 49-24.

Tyler Wilson began his 2012 Heisman Trophy campaign throwing for 361 yards on 18 for 26 passing with three touchdowns. Wilson had a couple of bad moments including a fumble on the Jacksonville State 26 that was returned to the Arkansas 24 yard line but beyond that mistake he was incredibly sharp.

Wilson connected on a 30 yard pass to tight end Chris Gragg for his first touchdown of the season early in the second quarter. Three minutes and 11 seconds later Wilson found Gragg again this time for a four-yard score.

The highlight play of the game came when Wilson found Javontee Herndon for a 63-yard score midway through the third quarter.

All four of Arkansas’ running backs registering carries found the end zone Saturday night. Knile Davis had the first crack to score for the Hogs but was stopped on consecutive goal line carries. Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino called redshirt freshman Kody Walker’s number on third down and he delivered for a one-yard score on his only carry of the night giving the Hogs a 7-0 lead.

Davis would eventually find the end zone with 2:22 left before halftime rushing to the right for five yards pushing Arkansas to a 35-14 lead.

Davis finished his night with 19 touches, 75 yards rushing (leading all running backs), and one touchdown. His longest carry of the night was 12 yards. Davis looked a little rusty at times making cuts and finding holes but his quick burst speed was there and his willingness to run hard was apparent.

Dennis Johnson had five carries for 39 yards with one touchdown. Ronnie Wingo, Jr. also had five carries and a score but collected 26 total rushing yards with one lost fumble.

Dennis Johnson made his presence on the field be known on special teams. In 2010 Johnson earned All-American honors as a kickoff returner and could be on his way to earning the same honors again. Saturday night he topped the century mark on five attempts totaling 105 yards with a long of 48.

Johnson’s 48 yard return early in the second half started eight yards deep in the end zone. He broke a tackle around the 15 yard line putting the Razorbacks at midfield. Five plays later the Hogs scored giving them a 21-14 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the game.

The Razorbacks had two receivers go over 100 yards receiving, Chris Gragg and slot receiver Brandon Mitchell. Gragg led all receivers with 126 yards on 8 receptions with Mitchell close behind hauling in 4 passes for 122 yards.

Javontee Herndon threatened the 100 yard reception mark ending his night with 97 yards on 4 catches.

Arkansas turned in a mixed performance on defense. The Hogs limited the Gamecocks to 100 yards rushing, by benefit of three sacks for a total loss of 44 yards. The Gamecocks completed 18 passes for 230 yards but were forced into more incompletions, 20, than completions

Georgia transfer Washaun Ealey was the Jacksonville State running back the Arkansas defense was focused on entering the game. Ealey was limited to 10 yards on four carries after a hit early in the game. By the 9:00 mark in the second quarter Ealey’s evening was over.

Arkansas got a scare when Cobi Hamilton took a big hit from a Gamecocks defensive lineman on a wide receiver screen pass. Hamilton walked off the field after getting up slowly finishing his night with two catches for 13 yards.

The Hogs totaled 566 yards of offense to the Gamecocks 330. Both teams went 0-2 on fourth down attempts. Arkansas kept their penalties to a minimum being called for four losing 30 yards to Jacksonville State’s six for 60 yards.

Ball security and turnovers will have to be emphasized for the Razorbacks going forward. Arkansas fumbled four times losing two. One fumble lost by Wilson was more of a fluke play as the ball popped out of his hands without much pressure on him as he rolled out to the left. Wingo fumbled late in the game losing the ball to the Gamecocks.

Jacksonville State running back Troymaine Pope led the Gamecocks in rushing with 60 yards on 15 attempts and had the team’s lone turnover.

Alan Bonner led Jacksonville with 95 yards receiving on seven catches with one score working the left side of Arkansas’ defense.

Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker was a perfect 7 for 7 on extra points and had no field goal attempts.

Arkansas next game comes against University of Louisiana Monroe Saturday Sept. 8 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.