Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Arkansas enduring revenge
Arkansas senior quarterback Tyler Wilson (right) came into Saturday’s game with a more established reputation than Mississippi State counterpart Tyler Russell, but Russell had the edge Saturday in the Bulldogs’ 45-14 victory, throwing for more yards and touchdowns.
STARKVILLE, Miss. It has been payback time for some teams Arkansas has owned in recent seasons.
Texas A&M, South Carolina and Mississippi State came into this season a combined 0-9 against Arkansas the past three seasons. All three ended their losing streaks in lopsided fashion, capped by the Bulldogs 45-14 victory over the Razorbacks on Saturday at Scott Field.
Combined, the Aggies, Gamecocks and Bulldogs outscored the Razorbacks 141-44 this season.
Arkansas’ nine penalties for 70 yards included a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Razorbacks bench in the second quarter.
Razorbacks Coach John L. Smith said the penalty was called on him, but he declined to be specific when asked what he did to draw the flag and if it was anything out of the ordinary.
“Yeah, it was on me,” Smith said. “Let’s move on to another question.” Still O-for
John L. Smith became the fifth first-year or interim Arkansas coach to fail to beat Mississippi State, joining with Joe Kines (1992), Danny Ford (1993), Houston Nutt (1998) and Bobby Petrino (2008).
Smith, Kines, Nutt and Petrino’s first teams lost to the Bulldogs, while Ford’s first Arkansas team tied Mississippi State 13-13.
So who will get a shot to break that streak for the Razorbacks in 2013?
Former Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell, who died in November 2010 from cancer during his sophomore season, was honored during pregame senior day ceremonies along with the rest of his senior class.
Bell’s mother, Linda, was introduced and received a loud ovation from the crowd, then the rest the seniors were introduced one by one.
“Nick Bell 36” was printed in the north end zone.
Freshman receiver D’Arthur Cowan took over as the Razorbacks’ kickoff returner in place of freshman Nate Holmes, who suffered a head injury at South Carolina last week.
Cowan had seven returns for 106 yards - a 15.5-yard average.
Senior cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew initially replaced Holmes on punt returns.
He muffed one that set up a Mississippi State field goal in the second quarter.
Sophomore Keante MInor, who returned punts earlier this season, then replaced Kelleybrew.
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a statement Saturday night that “Arkansas is home for my family, and we look forward to being part of the Razorback family for years to come.”
Long, 53, released the statement a day after Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart announced Long is getting a raise and contract extension. According to the contract terms, his annual salary will be $750,000 before incentives and extend through June 30, 2017. Incentives could push his annual compensation to more than $1 million.
Long said he is “incredibly grateful” to Gearhart and “the leadership of the University of Arkansas System for demonstrating the great confidence they have in me to lead the Razorback Department of Athletics.” He also thanked the athletic department staff for its support and effort.
“My commitment continues to be in working as a team towards our mission and to achieve our goals in competition, in the classroom and the continued personal growth and development of all Razorback student-athletes,” Long said.
Junior tailback Knile Davis played after missing last week’s game at South Carolina because of a hamstring injury, but he didn’t have much of an impact. Davis had five carries for 6 yards and didn’t touch the ball in the second half.
One for the road
Arkansas finished 1-3 in road games this season, with the lone victory at Auburn, 24-7 on Oct. 6. In addition to Mississippi State, the Razorbacks also lost at Texas A&M and at South Carolina.
The Razorbacks should be hearing a lot more cowbells ringing when they return to Mississippi State for a game in 2014.
Construction has begun on a north end zone expansion at Davis Wade Stadium, which will add 8,815 seats in time for the 2014 season to increase capacity to 62,255.
Cost for the expansion, announced in August, is $75 million.
Taking the fifth
Mississippi State beat Arkansas for just the fifth time in SEC play. The Razorbacks have a 15-5-1 edge in the series since joining the SEC in 1992. Arkansas leads the all-time series 15-7-1, including nonconference victories in 1916 and 1939.
The Razorbacks are 6-5 in games at Mississippi State.
Arkansas senior Cobi Hamilton caught a pass for the 33rd consecutive game, the longest active streak among SEC players.
Sports, Pages 36 on 11/18/2012