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Arkansas 45, Tulsa 13

9/7/2003

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Much of the preseason talk about
Houston Nutt's Arkansas offense centered on how he would use
quarterbacks Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan.

Both were successful in a 45-13 season-opening victory over
Tulsa (0-2) on Saturday, but running backs Cedric Cobbs and
De'Arrius Howard stole the show. The duo combined for 210 yards and
three touchdowns for Arkansas (1-0).

"Cedric made a lot of people miss tonight," coach Houston Nutt
said. "I think that combination between Cedric and De'Arrius is a
good 1-2 punch."

Cobbs looked better than he ever has, rushing inside and outside
for 145 yards on 12 carries, while Howard ran for two touchdowns
and 65 yards. Their efforts and a 53-yard touchdown run by Jones
helped the Razorbacks to 294 rushing yards, Arkansas' best
performance since going for 426 against Auburn last year.

Cobbs had 100 yards in the first half and he scored in Arkansas'
season opener for the fifth straight season with a 58-yard rushing
touchdown on the first possession. Cobbs was given a medical
redshirt year in 2000 when he separated his right shoulder after
three games.

On an option pitch, Cobbs left Tulsa defensive back Bobby
Blackshire grabbing air as he turned the corner toward the end
zone. Cobbs picked up good yardage running between the tackles.

"That was the kind of game I was hoping he would start like
that," Nutt said. "He was the Cedric of old, hitting the hole,
making some people miss and get down the sideline."

The running success helped Arkansas' new two-quarterback system
build a 28-3 halftime lead and allowed plenty of starters to start
resting before the end of the second quarter as they looked ahead
to next week's game at No. 6 Texas .

Jones, the starting quarterback, directed two touchdown drives
in four chances during the first half, while Sorahan led Arkansas
to the end zone on both of his first-half opportunities. Both
finished the game with one touchdown pass and Jones was 6 of 10 for
72 yards, while Sorahan completed 5-of-9 for 116 yards.

Tulsa quarterback James Kilian completed 15-of-31 passes for
151, but he was hurried on several throws and penalties hurt the
Golden Hurricane at every turn. Uril Parrish gave the Golden
Hurricane its only touchdown with a 5-yard run early in the fourth
quarter.

Tulsa dominated time of possession by 13 minutes and the offense
gained 371 yards, but 12 penalties for 103 yards hurt and so did
making just 5-of-16 third-down opportunities.

"I'm extremely disappointed we lost," Tulsa coach Steve
Kragthorpe said. "I thought we put ourselves in some situations to
get momentum. They blew the door wide open when we gave them a
window of opportunity."

Cobbs picked up first downs on his first three carries in the
second half. He just missed an 80-touchdown run on the first play
of the second half when Tulsa defensive end Jeremy Davis tripped
him up on a 23-yard gain.

Howard pounded the ball in the middle for much of the game,
until he had a 31-yard run late in the third quarter to set up his
second touchdown.

"They both have been working so hard lately and they just kept
doing that tonight," said running backs coach Danny Nutt.

Nutt only tipped his hand once in the week leading up to the
season opener on how he might use his two quarterbacks. He said
that, when he was Arkansas' backup quarterback under Lou Holtz in
the late 1970s, he always entered the game on the third series.

Sorahan started the third series Saturday, calling an audible on
his first play that resulted in a 48-yard completion to receiver
Richard Smith, who ran a 5-yard sideline route and turned upfield.

Howard capped that drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on the
first play of the second quarter to give Arkansas a 14-3 lead.
Howard scored his second touchdown on a 5-yard run late in the
third quarter.

Sorahan completed 3 of 4 passes on his second possession, which
started at the Arkansas 47. His 8-yard touchdown pass to George
Wilson gave the Razorbacks a 21-3 lead.

Sorahan converted two third downs on the drive and he hit tight
end Jason Peters for a 12-yard reception.

Peters had a good performance in passing game coordinator Roy
Wittke's first effort. Wittke put more emphasis on throwing to the
tight end and Peters, who had seven receptions in two years, made
three tough catches in the game for 20 yards.

An interception by Ahmad Carroll gave Jones his fourth series
and the junior quarterback needed two plays. Jones took an option
keeper 53 yards for a touchdown, leaving Blackshire grasping for
air once again and giving Arkansas a 28-3 lead.

Wittke's new offensive wrinkles also include more downfield
passes and Jones provided them, too. He hit Smith on a 41-yard
touchdown down the middle of the field midway through the fourth
quarter.

"I think the offense as a whole did pretty well tonight,"
Jones said.

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