Wilson cleared to play against Rutgers
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson passes during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Jacksonville State in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson has been cleared to play Saturday against Rutgers, Razorbacks coach John L. Smith said Thursday.
Wilson suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Arkansas' loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 8 and hasn't played since, including a game against No. 1 Alabama last weekend.
"That's very exciting and we're thankful that he is (able to go)," Smith said. "All the preparation we put into him is definitely not going to go to waste. I know our football team is excited about that, as are we as coaches. I'm sure the fans will be as well."
Tyler Wilson - Alabama PostgameWatch Video
Smith said Wilson has practiced all week for Arkansas without contact. Wilson said Monday he felt optimistic he would be able to play in the game as his post-concussion tests neared baseline levels.
The concussion was the second in less than one year for the fifth-year senior. Wilson suffered one against New Mexico on Sept. 10, 2011, but was cleared to play the following week.
"I'm not going to risk my health," Wilson said Monday. "When I feel better, I'm going to be out there on the field, period.
"I'm not going to go out on the field unless I can give everything I can give. I'm not going to approach the game different."
The Razorbacks (1-2) have struggled since Wilson's injury, being outscored 79-10 over the course of the last six quarters and overtime in a pair of losses with historical significance. ULM's 21-point deficit was the largest ever overcome by an Arkansas opponent, while the Hogs' 52-point loss to Alabama was the second-worst all-time at home and worst ever in SEC play.
With Wilson, Arkansas' offense has been much better than without him this season. The Razorbacks have scored 10 touchdowns and outscored their opponents 70-31 with Wilson in the game, but only one touchdown when he isn't in the game.
The Greenwood native has passed for 563 yards and 5 touchdowns this season, completing 63.8 percent of his passes.
""You can't say enough about (Tyler's) leadership on the field and off the field," receiver and back-up quarterback Brandon Mitchell said earlier this week. "It just brings a sense of calmness to the team knowing you have your number one leader out there, which he is."
Wilson made headlines following the Alabama loss, publicly challenging teammates after they "probably gave up" during the 52-0 loss. He added he would do "everything within my power" to play against Rutgers and lead the team the rest of the season.
"He brings that energy and positiveness, and is that vocal person that we need," Smith said. "It just kind of breeds and keeps going, and spirals; that's what we need."
Brandon Allen, who started the game against Alabama, will serve as Wilson's back-up against the Scarlet Knights (3-0).