AP: Tyler Wilson Solid In First Start As No. 15 Arkansas Has Easy Time With Missouri State

by Kurt Voigt, The Associated Press  on Saturday, Sep. 3, 2011 9:54 pm  

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 18 of 24 passes for 260 yards with two touchdowns in his first college start. Wilson helped the Razorbacks to a 51-7 victory. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

FAYETTEVILLE — Tyler Wilson got off to an efficient, if not spectacular, start at Arkansas.

Ryan Mallett's backup the past two seasons threw for 260 yards and a pair of touchdown to Jarius Wright to help the No. 15 Razorbacks beat Missouri State 51-7.

The junior had plenty of help in the form of a dominating defensive performance and a pair of punt returns for touchdowns by Joe Adams, who tied a Southeastern Conference record with his performance.

Wilson saw action on only four offensive possessions for Arkansas (1-0) while splitting time with sophomore Brandon Mitchell, but he made the most of his time. He guided the Razorbacks to 303 yards of total offense on 24 points in those opportunities, completing 18 of 24 passes and throwing touchdown strikes of 33 and 29 yards to Wright.

"My focus was there and it really didn't waver too much," Wilson said. "The jitters weren't as much as I thought going into the game, and after the first couple of throws, I was ready to go. I was on target."

While Wilson had his way with Missouri State, the Bears (0-1) struggled throughout behind true freshman Kierra Harris at quarterback. Harris, starting in place of suspended starter Trevor Wooden, gained just 18 yards of offense in the first half and were outgained 468-163 overall.

Missouri State went three-and-out on its first four possessions and never recovered, falling behind 30-0 at halftime. The Bears' lone highlight was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Jermain Saffold late in the third quarter, one play after a Mitchell fumble gave Missouri State the ball deep in Arkansas territory. Harris finished 8 of 14 passing for 70 yards, while Chris Douglas led the Bears with 72 yards rushing on 18 carries. 

"We're going to be all right," Missouri State coach Terry Allen said. "I was disappointed offensively in the first half, but we probably held them back a little bit. We tried to huddle a little bit with Kierra, and that's not what we do.

"So we went out in the second half and went back and did the things we do and we obviously executed a little bit better."

The Razorbacks had no shortage of highlights, with Adams providing two of the best. The senior was sprung by a Marquel Wade block for a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, though he later made that look pedestrian.

As the punt by Missouri State's Jordan Chiles rolled around loose on the ground with the Bears' special unit closing in, Adams picked up the ball and made his way to the right sideline. With nowhere to go there, he turned and made his way back across the field to the left — eventually cutting through the heart of Missouri State's special teams unit and down the right sideline for a 78-yard touchdown return, his second of the game.

The returns were the second and third of Adams' career, with his last being a 97-yarder against Mississippi last season.



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