Nova and Rutgers outshoot Arkansas
September, 22, 2012
By David Helman | ESPN.com
A nightmarish September continued for Arkansas on Saturday night despite a record-setting effort from wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.
Hamilton etched his place in SEC history with an absurd 10 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns against Rutgers. But it wasn't enough to outdo Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova, who put on a show of his own in a 35-26 Scarlet Knights victory.
As bad as the season's first month has gone for the Razorbacks, it's been quite a delight for the Scarlet Knights, who are undefeated despite playing just one home game so far.
Nova torched the Arkansas secondary for 397 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-35 passing. The sophomore accounted for all five Rutgers touchdowns in a back-and-forth battle that lifted the Scarlet Knights to 4-0 and dropped Arkansas -- formerly a top-10 team -- to 1-3.
It looked like the Razorbacks would respond well to last week's 52-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama when they jumped out to a 10-0 lead behind a 7-of-11, 151-yard first quarter from quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson returned to action with the Razorbacks after missing the game against the Crimson Tide with a concussion.
But Nova and Rutgers went to work in the second quarter with two unanswered touchdowns to take a 14-10 halftime lead. Nova completed passes to eight different receivers and threw touchdowns to four different targets in a super performance.
Nova's hot streak continued in the third quarter, when he connected on touchdown throws of 38 and 2 yards to take a 28-13 lead.
Hamilton and Wilson responded in a big way in the fourth quarter. The pair connected on two touchdowns in the last stanza -- one going for 80 yards, the other for 10. Arkansas scored to cut the lead to 28-26 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hogs could not convert the two-point conversion to tie the score. Nova needed just two plays on his next possession to hit a 60-yard touchdown pass to Mark Harrison for a two-possession lead.
After trading punts, Wilson and the Razorbacks got the ball back near midfield with 3:36 to play with a chance to cut the score again. Wilson threw his second pick of the night on the first play of the drive, however, and Rutgers was able to run out the clock. The senior's two interceptions marred his 20-of-39, 419-yard, three-touchdown performance, as they were the only turnovers of the game.