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Arkansas beats KSU to win Cotton Bowl

Jan 7, 2012 - 7:36 AM Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Joe Adams scored on a 51-yard punt return and No. 7 Arkansas built a big early lead Friday night on the way to beating No. 11 Kansas State, 29-16, in the Cotton Bowl.

Tyler Wilson threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yarder to Jarius Wright that made it 19-0 in the second quarter, and Arkansas (11-2) tied a school record for wins in a season.

The Razorbacks' only losses this season came to the country's two best teams, SEC foes LSU and Alabama, who will meet in the BCS National Championship Game on Monday.

Arkansas let Kansas State (10-3) get within 10 points at halftime, then as close as three points in the third quarter on a short touchdown run by KSU quarterback Collin Klein.

But Wilson's nine-yard touchdown strike to Cobi Hamilton made it a 10-point game again, and the Razorbacks kept Kansas State off the board the rest of the way.

"A great win," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said afterward, standing on the field and flanked by his players.

Kansas State, after finishing second in the Big 12, had its three-game winning streak snapped and dipped below .500 in 13 bowl games under head coach Bill Snyder.

In addition to his touchdown run, Klein passed for 173 yards and a score, but had a pass intercepted and coughed up a fumble that led to three points.

"We'll all stick up for [Snyder] a little bit," said Klein. "We had our chances and weren't able to finish the job and execute on the field. We just came up short and didn't get it done as a unit."

Kansas State defensive end Meshak Williams was taken off on a stretcher after making helmet-to-helmet contact with teammate Emmanuel Lamur on a tackle in the second quarter.

Williams remained on the ground and had the facemask removed from his helmet, but was moving as they wheeled him off the field. He raised his right hand to make the "WC" sign with his fingers, delighting the Wildcats fans.

And Kansas State looked like it found a spark in the second quarter, scoring nine quick points before halftime on a blocked extra point return and Klein's three-yard touchdown pass to Andre McDonald to make it 19-9 at halftime.

But the early deficit was too much to overcome and Arkansas never looked out of control at Cowboys Stadium despite letting the Wildcats creep within three points.

"I thought our team really played well," Petrino said. "This is what we wanted to do -- send this senior class out with a win. They really did a great job for our program."

Klein's fumble came in the first quarter on a sack from behind by Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette. The Razorbacks converted the turnover into a 3-0 lead on Zach Hocker's 26-yard field goal.

But the game's big blow was Adams' punt return touchdown early in the second quarter.

He ran a lot farther than 51 yards, spinning near the left sideline at first and picking up a couple of initial blocks as he carried the ball all the way to the right side. Getting a few more key blocks, Adams took off down the right sideline to give Arkansas a 10-0 lead.

Later, the Razorbacks had a drive stall at the six-yard line and settled for Hocker's 22-yard field goal for a 13-point lead.

Wilson laid a perfect 45-yard pass in between two defenders to find Wright in the front of the end zone for a 19-0 lead. But Raphael Guidry broke through the line to block the point-after kick and Nigel Malone picked up the bouncing ball and raced downfield for two points.

Later, Adam Davis sacked Wilson to cause a fumble and Klein found McDonald in the back of the end zone for Kansas State's first touchdown. Klein faked a handoff and scored on a six-yard draw play early in the third quarter, but those were the last Wildcat points of the game.

Wilson and Hamilton connected later in the third and Anthony Cantele missed a 43-yard field goal way right for Kansas State in the fourth. Hocker followed that with a 30-yarder for the final margin.

Game Notes

Arkansas also had 11 wins in 1964 and '77...It was the first meeting between the teams since 1967. Kansas State still has a 3-2 lead in series...The Wildcats are 6-9 all-time in bowl games and 6-7 under Snyder. They are 1-2 at the Cotton Bowl...Arkansas improved to 13-23-3 in bowl games and 4-7-1 in 12 Cotton Bowls. The Razorbacks' last Cotton Bowl win came January 1, 2000 over Texas. They played their third straight bowl game under Petrino. After beating East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl two seasons ago, Arkansas made first BCS bowl game appearance last year, but lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.