No. 10 Arkansas Pulls Away For 49-24 Win Over Gamecocks
Fayetteville, Ark – The Jacksonville State football team put an early scare into 10th ranked Arkansas and its 71,062 fans on Saturday night, but the high-octane Razorbacks handed the Gamecocks a 49-24 loss in the season opener for both teams.
After the Gamecocks (0-1) switched things up early on offense and built a 14-7 lead in the beginning stages of the second quarter, the Razorbacks (1-0) rattled off 28-straight points to pull ahead. A young JSU squad ran out of steam on one of the biggest stages it has ever been on but impressed early in front of the second-largest crowd to ever see the Gamecocks play and just the 15th crowd of 20,000 or more to see them play in program history.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson and his offense, projected to be one of the nation’s most prolific in 2012, got off to a solid start. He passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Razorbacks to 564 yards, the most against a JSU defense since 2003. He completed 19-of-27 attempts, while his running game produced four more scores on the ground.
The Gamecocks got 107 receiving yards from senior Alan Bonner, his second career game with over 100 yards, and 160 yards and two touchdowns on 14-for-28 passing by senior Marques Ivory. Freshman Troymaine Pope made his collegiate debut a memorable one, running for 65 yards on 14 carries to lead the Gamecocks on the ground.
After an early scoring drive from the homestanding Hogs, Pope made a splash the first time he touched the ball in a collegiate game. The true freshman from Anniston caught a swing pass from Ivory that went for 19 yards and JSU’s first points of the year.
After their freshman running back scored through the air, the Gamecocks then let a receiver score on the ground. Bonner took just his sixth career carry in from four yards for his first score, giving the Gamecocks a 14-7 advantage with just over 13 minutes left in the first half. Arkansas answered, scoring four touchdowns over the next 11 minutes to take control of the game.
Ivory, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., had two touchdown passes in his return from a broken leg that ended his 2011 season in the opener. After a medical redshirt gave him another shot at his senior season, Ivory threw for the 160 yards and two touchdowns exactly one year after his injury. He also restarted his climb in the history books, tying Dieter Brock for eighth all-time with 27 career passing touchdowns.
His second touchdown pass came just before the half, a 10-yard strike to Bonner in the front of the end zone that cut JSU’s halftime deficit to 35-21. Bonner’s scoring catch made him the first Gamecock to record a rushing and receiving touchdown in a game since Jamal Young against Murray State on Oct. 2, 2010.
The Gamecocks scored first in the second half, thanks to a 49-yard field goal from junior Griffin Thomas that cut the Hogs’ lead to 35-24. The kick was just the third field goal of his career and was the longest by a Gamecock since 2003.
The Hogs answered with two scores on the Razorbacks’ next two drives to claim the deciding 49-24 advantage.
On the defensive side of the ball, JSU did force three turnovers on the Hogs’ offense. The Gamecocks recovered three fumbles, one that was returned 49 yards by junior Rashad Smith, the Gamecocks’ longest return of a fumble since 2001. Smith added eight tackles, which tied senior Nick Johnson’s career high for the team lead. Sophomore Rashod Byers added seven stops in his first start on the defensive side of the ball, while senior DiMetrio Tyson recorded a pair of sacks.
Ross Rosner led Arkansas with 11 tackles.
Courtesy JSU Media Relations