Arkansas routs Missouri State in opener
Fayetteville, AR (Sports Network) - Tyler Wilson threw two touchdowns, Kody Walker rushed for two scores and Joe Adams returned two punts to the end zone in 15th-ranked Arkansas' 51-7 rout of Missouri State.
Wilson went 18-for-24 for 260 yards while Brandon Mitchell went 10-for-11 with 104 yards and a score for the Razorbacks (1-0), who finished last season 10-3 and ended the campaign with a defeat of Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
Adams returned six punts for 174 yards, including touchdown returns of 61 and 69 yards. Jarius Wright caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores in the win.
"I was happy with the way the team played and it was a good win to start the season," said Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. "We came out and played football and executed the way we should execute."
Kierra Harris threw a touchdown and interception on 8-of-14 passing for 70 yards for the Bears (0-1), who finished last season 5-6, winning all their games at home while losing every game as the guest. Jermaine Saffold caught the lone score while Chris Douglas had 18 carries for 72 yards.
"Overall I think we did a good job as a team," Harris said. "I learned to be calm and cool. I know on a couple of plays I was the reason why we didn't get the play off right, so just to be calm and cool and to execute all the plays."
Arkansas was off to the races from the opening kickoff, taking the game's first possession 80 yards in 10 plays. Wilson used play-action to find Wright over the middle for a 33-yard score.
The Razorbacks then held Missouri State to a three-and-out and Adams returned the punt 61 yards to the end zone. A missed extra point kept it a 13-0 game.
In the final minute of the first, Arkansas made it 20-0 on a one-yard touchdown run from Walker to finish a 12-play, 70-yard drive.
Arkansas added 10 points in the second quarter on a three-yard catch by Chris Gragg from Mitchell with around five minutes to play, and a 32-yard field goal from Zach Hocker in the final seconds for a 30-0 advantage.
Wilson and Wright hooked up for a 29-yard score with 6:17 to play in the third quarter, and Adams' 69-yard punt return into the end zone after Missouri State's next possession gave the hosts a 44-0 lead.
Harris and Saffold connected on a 33-yard score in the final minute of the third to get the Bears on the board.
Walker's second one-yard score of the game about 2 1/2 minutes into the final quarter capped the scoring.
Arkansas hosts New Mexico next Saturday...Missouri State plays at Eastern Kentucky next Saturday...Arkansas has won all seven meetings with Missouri State...Arkansas had 466 yards total offense compared to 163 for Missouri State...The Razorbacks held the ball for three more minutes than the Bears.
09/04 01:04:58 ET