Originally created 01/02/00

Arkansas players celebrate Cotton victory



DALLAS -- Arkansas and Texas were 3-3 in the third quarter and the Razorbacks had first-and-10 at the Texas 30 when Houston Nutt called 22 Naked Right, throwback to tailback.

Quarterback Clint Stoerner faked to tailback Cedric Cobbs who headed right. Linebacker Everick Rawls was in Stoerner's face, but somehow Stoerner got away.

"The linebacker pushed me down," Cobbs said. "I slipped through it. The linebacker went the other way. I thought Clint had already decided to throw the ball to the other side, because when I get caught in the confusion, he looks the other way and throws it to somebody else.

"Clint barely threw it before he got sacked," he said.

Cobbs caught the floater at the Texas 21 and dove the final few yards into the end zone.

"I guess it was a sucker play," Cobbs said.

The Razorbacks ran the play once each day in practice this week and Cobbs dropped it at least once. "But I knew I would catch it in a game," Cobbs said.

The touchdown ended a nine-play, 97-yard drive that actually covered 99 yards after Stoerner was sacked at the 1.

On the play after the sack, Stoerner pump faked toward Anthony Lucas and Ervis Hill bit. Lucas got behind Hill for 47 yards.

"My eyes lit up, `This will be the one. This will be the one,"' said Lucas, barely three weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Cobbs also ran 37 yards up the right sideline for a fourth quarter touchdown and Arkansas went on to a 27-6 victory -- the Razorbacks' first in a bowl game since 1985 and salve for the fans who suffered so many heartbreaking losses to Texas when both teams were in the Southwest Conference.

Cobbs was named Cotton Bowl MVP, only the third true freshmen to win the honor.

After Cobbs' touchdown made it 10-3, Major Applewhite completed five passes -- including a 12-yarder to the 1 barely over the fingertips of Jamel Harris.

It was Harris who was in on two of the next three plays as the Razorbacks forced Texas to settle for a field goal.

"That goal-line stand swung the game," Nutt said.

"As long as they ain't crossed that line, we're still playing," Harris said. "That thing (goal-line stand) happened, and we realized they can't score on us."

Harris is a believer in "Code Red," the defense's rallying cry, and he rolled up the left sleeve of his uniform to show off his tattoo at the top of his arm.

Cradled in his left arm was a game ball.

"Don't write about it," he said. "They don't know I have it. But I'll pay for it if I have to."

He bolted to join one of many team pictures and Bevo -- the Texas mascot -- moved slowly behind the group.

Stoerner also gripped a game ball in his left hand, walking slowly away from teammates who sang the fight song to the fans in the northwest corner of the end zone. The players, led by Nutt, had already serenaded other fans -- Nutt standing on a bench with a Razorback helmet in his left hand.

Coaches Bobby Allen, Mike Markuson and Fitz Hill were in a group hug, jumping up and down.

The lead was 18 and the clock was under three minutes when Lucas took off his jersey, stood on a bench facing the stands and twirled the garment around his head. Bill Montgomery -- the losing quarterback in the 1969 Arkansas-Texas game -- was on the sideline. So were Gov. Mike Huckabee and the governor's wife, Janet.

"This is fantastic," Huckabee said. "What a way to start the century."

He shook hands with Arkansas Chancellor John White and told him, "to beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl is as good as it gets."

Lost in the celebration maze in the middle of the field was Chris Chalmers, always a backup at Arkansas.

It was Chalmers -- on a blitz -- who sacked Applewhite early in the third quarter after the Longhorns had reached the Arkansas 35. It was his second unassisted tackle of his senior year.

"I came straight clean and I thought, `Oh gosh, don't miss him,"' Chalmers said. "I about did, but I got hold of him.

"Just to be able to contribute is a big deal," he said.

Because it was against Texas and in the Cotton Bowl, Chalmers said, "I wouldn't trade it for anything."