Arkansas Wins In Overtime
by CFP Staff
January 2, 2010
Alex Tejada's 37-yard field goal in overtime gave Arkansas a 20-17 Liberty Bowl win over East Carolina. Ben Hartman missed on two game-winning opportunities for the Pirates in regulation and missed again in overtime before Tejada drilled his down the middle for the Razorbacks.
Tejada's night wasn't perfect, either. He missed a 43-yarder early in the fourth that would have put Arkansas on top.
The Razorbacks rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit on a cold and windy night in Memphis, tying the game on a 38-yard interception return by Tramain Thomas. East Carolina went back in front, 17-10, on the next series with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Pinkney to Dwayne Harris. Arkansas tied it at 17 two plays later on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallet to Jarius Wright.
Hartman's first miss in the 4th quarter came from 39 yards with 1:03 remaining which hit the left upright. After three incompletions by Mallet, Arkansas had to punt it back to East Carolina and the Pirates took over at midfield with 34 seconds still left on the clock. Five plays later, and with just 3 seconds left, Hartman's kick was wide right.
In overtime, Hartman had a 35-yard try from the left hash mark which stayed left the entire time.
You have to feel for Hartman who began his night with a 45-yard miss in the first quarter. He came into the game having made 19-of-25 field goals and ranked 3rd in Conference USA in scoring.
Mallet, who ranked 8th nationally in passing yards per game (285.2) and 6th in pass efficiency, completed just 15-of-36 passes for 202 yards and 1 touchdown. But it was enough on this night to be named the game's MVP.
Dominique Lindsay ran for 151 yards on 33 carries for East Carolina. He opened the scoring with a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter to cap a 99-yard drive on which Pinkney was 5-for-5 passing for 73 yards.
Arkansas was winless in 3 previous Liberty Bowl appearances. It now has an overall bowl record of 12-22-3. The Razorbacks and have won just 2 of their last 7 bowl games, and only 3 of their last 15.
East Carolina had only won 1 of its 3 previous Liberty Bowl appearances, including a 25-19 setback to Kentucky last year. The Pirates 5-6 in bowl games.
CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings went 13-0 picking Arkansas games this year and 12-2 with East Carolina.