NCAA Game Summary - Arkansas vs. East Carolina|
(Saturday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17 (OT)
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Alex Tejada's 37-yard field goal in overtime
gave Arkansas a 20-17 win over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl.
The Razorbacks were only able to claim victory after ECU's Ben Hartman missed
two field goals over the final 1:03 of regulation and another in the extra
Ryan Mallett was 15-of-36 for 202 yards and a touchdown to Jarius Wright, who
totaled 90 yards on four receptions for the Razorbacks (8-5), who got their
first bowl win since a 27-14 triumph over Missouri in the 2003 Independence
Patrick Pinkney completed 17-of-33 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown with
two interceptions. Dominique Lindsay carried 33 times for 151 yards and a
score for the Pirates (9-5), who had won six of their last seven previous
contests, including a thrilling 38-32 decision over Houston in the Conference-
USA title game.
Dwayne Harris caught a touchdown pass amid a four-catch, 64-yard outing.
Darryl Freeney made six grabs for 94 yards in the loss.
Hartman hit the left upright on a 41-yard field goal with 1:03 to play and the
game tied at 17. Arkansas, though, went nowhere in three plays and an equally
bad 28-yard punt had the Pirates back in business at midfield with 44 ticks
Hartman was set up for another try with three seconds left at the Arkansas 22,
but hung a 39-yarder out to the right to bring on overtime.
Then from 35 yards away, Hartman hooked one wide left after East Carolina won
the coin toss and moved to the Razorbacks' 18.
Arkansas then set up Tejada at the East Carolina 20 and the junior split the
uprights for the win.
"Unfortunately, we had our opportunities, but we didn't capitalize on them and
make the most of them. When you look at it, it comes down to the turnovers at
the start of the third quarter and the three missed field goals," said East
Carolina head coach Skip Holtz. "If you said you would have your all-time
leading scorer go out there to kick it, who has won a bunch of game-winners
for you in his career, he is the one I would have picked."
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Pirates built a 10-0 halftime lead.
Lindsay's three-yard TD run capped a 13-play, 99-yard trek that spanned nearly
half of the second quarter. Pinkney and Freeney hooked up for a 38-yard gain
on 3rd-and-1 to set up the game's first score. A 33-yard boot from Hartman
just before the break made it 10-0.
Jerry Franklin picked off Pinkney moments into the second half and returned it
31 yards to the East Carolina 20. Arkansas' short drive stalled at the eight
and yielded just a 25-yard kick from Tejada.
A second Pinkney pick led directly to seven as Tramain Thomas tied the game at
10 with a 37-yard return for a touchdown with nine minutes left in the third.
"We really came out and competed. It was a hard game, it certainly wasn't easy
but we just battled. The (defensive) turnaround in the third quarter when we
got the two interceptions put us back in the game," said Arkansas coach Bobby
Petrino. "Offensively we never did find a good rhythm. We didn't do as well
(offensively) as we are used to, but we stayed in there and kept working."
East Carolina's ensuing possession ended in Pinkney's 13-yard TD pass to
Harris for a 17-10 game. Arkansas, though, wasted little time in tying it back
up as Mallett hit Wright deep up the seam for a 41-yard score 36 seconds
Tejada missed a 43-yard kick about five minutes into the fourth to keep the
game tied at 17.
Hartman finished the game 1-for-5 on field goal attempts...Arkansas had lost
12 of its previous 14 bowl games including a 38-7 setback to Missouri in the
2008 Cotton Bowl...This was the 37th bowl game for Arkansas, which is just
12-22-3 in the postseason...East Carolina's bowl history includes a 5-6 ledger
with losses in four of its last five postseason tilts...The Pirates dropped a
25-19 decision to Kentucky in last season's Liberty Bowl...The Razorbacks won
despite going 0-for-13 on third down and netting just 10 first downs...East
Carolina converted 8-of-19 third-down plays and outgained Arkansas 393-283.
01/02 23:38:39 ET