Hogs' 25 Memorable Games in SEC:

When the wheels came off: ULM's OT win sent Hogs into tailspin

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, June 16, 2017
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning runs for the game-winning touchdown during overtime of a game against Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Little Rock.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning runs for the game-winning touchdown during overtime of a game against Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE — There are few weeks in Arkansas Razorbacks football history that are tougher than the one which started on Sept. 2, 2012, in the lone season under interim head coach for John L. Smith.

The Razorbacks, who had tied a school-record with 11 victories the previous season, opened the second week of that season ranked No. 8 in the country following a 49-24 victory over Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns, sending up an ominous red flag for the high-flying Hogs.

Fullback Kiero Small broke his foot during Wednesday’s practice. On Thursday, Smith revealed he had filed for Chapter 7 liquidation as a prelude to declaring bankruptcy based on bad investments during his time in Louisville, Ky.

What else could go wrong?

As it turned out, plenty.

Why This Game Matters

The Razorbacks were still seen as an SEC title contender heading into Week 2 of the 2012 season, despite losing Coach Bobby Petrino during the offseason. But the loss to the Warhawks began the downfall to a 4-8 season, which took the program several years from which to recover.

Most Memorable Games

No. 25: Arkansas 29, Kansas State 16 - Jan. 6, 2012

No. 24: Florida 34, Arkansas 3 - Dec. 2, 1995

No. 23: Florida 23, Arkansas 20 - Oct. 17, 2009

No. 22: Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38 - Oct. 1, 2011

No. 21: Arkansas 27, Auburn 10 - Oct. 7, 2006

No. 20: Arkansas 48, South Carolina 36 - Nov. 3, 2007

The Razorbacks took a 21-7 lead in the first half against lightly regarded Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Then Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson took a hit late in the second quarter that resulted in a concussion and knocked him out of the game after he had completed 11 of 20 passes for 196 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Allen got the call for his first significant playing time.

Allen led a 66-yard touchdown drive on his first series, capped by his 13-yard touchdown pass to Mekale McKay for a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter.

Then it was all downhill, as Allen misfired on his final 12 passes.

The Razorbacks could not contain Louisiana-Monroe’s left-handed quarterback Kolton Browning, who completed 42 of 67 passes for 421 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for a team-high 69 yards, including the decisive 16-yard touchdown on fourth and 1 in overtime.

A flabbergasted Smith said Browning made play after play to help his team win.

“They outplayed us, they outcoached us and they won the game,” said Smith, who was named the Hogs’ interim coach after Bobby Petrino was fired in the spring. “We couldn’t get them off the field.”

The Warhawks outgained Arkansas 550-377 in total offense. They also held the ball for 39:19 compared to 20:41 for the Razorbacks, and ran 103 offensive plays to Arkansas’ 66.

The most critical stat, however, was the Warhawks’ 6 of 7 fourth-down conversions, including on their final three touchdowns, and many of them came from long distance. Browning found Brent Leonard for a 23-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 10 with 47 seconds left to force overtime.

An impending sense of misfortune hung over the game for the Razorbacks, who had their 20-game streak of nonconference victories in Little Rock snapped.

Starting cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew was knocked out of the game with an arm injury. Then the other starting corner, Tevin Mitchel, had to be carted off the field in an ambulance after colliding with a teammate on a tipped pass. The 10-minute delay to tend to Mitchel came during a eerie third quarter with fog hanging over the stadium on Markham Street. Also in the third quarter, freshman Kody Walker suffered a broken leg in kickoff coverage on a noncontact injury and also had to ride off in an ambulance.

Arkansas, which converted 3 of 12 third-down plays, notched one first down in the final 24:42 of regulation. The Hogs’ only first down in overtime came when the Warhawks held receiver Cobi Hamilton, but Arkansas had to settle for Zach Hocker’s 37-yard field goal on the first possession of the extra period.

“We came out and did some things the first half, had a nice first drive of the second half, and then we just didn’t do anything worth a darn after that,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said that night. “That starts with me, and we’ve got to get better.”

The Warhawks, playing in their first game of the season, collected a $500,000 game guarantee while beating Arkansas for the first time in 10 meetings.

“I really felt that we were going to come in and play well,” said Louisiana-Monroe Coach Todd Berry, who would go on to become the fifth executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “We were able to mitigate a lot of those things that tend to plague that first game. We played a relatively clean game.”

Smith got tired of waiting for his counterpart after the game, so the coaches left the field without shaking hands.

Louisiana-Monroe notched its second victory over an SEC team in six years — it upset Alabama in 2007 — and its first over a ranked team since joining Division I in 1994.

The Razorbacks went into a freefall after the loss, with Wilson missing the following week’s 52-0 loss on a rain-soaked afternoon in Fayetteville against No. 1 Alabama.

Smith gave a blunt postgame assessment that seemingly summed up the Hogs’ 4-8 season after being ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press preseason poll.

“We didn’t play well enough in the front,” Smith said. “We didn’t protect well enough. We didn’t catch the ball. We didn’t run the ball when we had to run the ball. We didn’t tackle when we had to get them off the field. We didn’t cover.”

Box Score

Sept. 8, 2012

War Memorial Stadium,

Little Rock

NOTE Arkansas is the visitor

Arkansas;7 14 7 0 3 — 31

Louisiana-Monroe;7 0 7 14 6 — 34

FIRST QUARTER

ULM—Donald 4 pass from Browning (Manton kick), 9:19

ARK—Horton 20 pass from Wilson (Hocker kick), 6:45

SECOND QUARTER

ARK—Hamilton 39 pass from Wilson (Hocker kick), 11:08

ARK—Davis 3 run (Hocker kick), 2:25

THIRD QUARTER

ARK—McKay 13 pass from Allen (Hocker kick), 9:42

ULM—Edwards 3 run (Manton kick) 5:41

FOURTH QUARTER

ULM—Steed 1 pass from Browning (Manton kick), 14:08

ULM—Leonard 23 pass from Browning (Manton kick), :47

OVERTIME

ARK—FG Hocker 37

ULM—Browning 16 run

Attendance—53,089

ARK;ULM

First downs;21;30

Rushes-yards;26-96;35-138

Passing;281;412

Comp-Att-Int;17-40-2;42-68-1

Return yards;73;40

Fumbles-lost1-0;2-0

Penalties-yards;9-70;6-49

Time of possession;20:41;39:19

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Arkansas, Davis 16-62, Johnson 7-50, Wingo 1-4, Allen 2-(minus 20). Louisiana-Monroe, Browning 16-69, Edwards 15-36, Donald 2-22, Leonard 1-9, Bailey 1-2.

PASSING—Arkansas, Wilson 11-20-1 196, Allen 6-20-1 85. Louisiana-Monroe, Browning 42-67-1 412, Wells 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING—Arkansas, Gragg 7-83, Hamilton 6-99, McKay 2-74, Horton 1-20, Walker 1-5. Louisiana-Monroe, Leonard 11-112, Maye 9-76, Hamm 6-92, Harper 6-61, Edwards 3-14, Milton 2-24, Donald 2-12, Steed 2-3, Bailey 1-18.

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