Missouri, Temple Roll Arkansas in Cotton Bowl
DALLAS - Missouri and tailback Tony Temple showed Arkansas why it deserved its No. 1 ranking for a week this season, routing the Razorbacks 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl.
Arkansas shocked LSU to end its regular season, but it couldn't stop these Tigers - or Temple.
"To be honest with you, I'm a little bit blindsided by the way we played," Arkansas interim coach Reggie Herring said.
It was not Razorbacks running back Darren McFadden, but Temple, who set Cotton Bowl rushing records with his performance. The senior set records for rushing yards (281) and rushing touchdowns (4) in the game. McFadden finished with 105 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown.
Temple broke Dicky Maegle's rushing record, who gained 265 yards on 11 carries for Rice in 1954. Temple whispered to coach Gary Pinkel to learn who Maegle was during the press conference.
Temple's performance was shocking, not least to the former record holder.
"Honestly, if I thought anyone had a chance of breaking the record, I would have thought it would have been one of the Arkansas running backs," Maegle said.
Temple tweaked his hamstring in the second half, but he rushed back to the field when he learned he could break the mark. "So then Tony came up to me a minute later and said, 'Coach, I think I can go,'" Pinkel said.
He sure could. Temple saved his best run for last, breaking the record on a 40-yard touchdown run sealed with a dazzling spin move. His teammates swarmed him in the end zone and carried him off the field.
With Arkansas dropping as many as nine or 10 defensive backs into coverage, Heisman Trophy finalist and quarterback Chase Daniel had the worst game of his career. He was only 12-of-29 for 136 yards and an interception.
But it didn't matter. Temple awed everyone, including Daniel.
"I didn't carry out a lot of my fakes this game. I'll probably get yelled for that," he said. "But it was so fun to watch Tony."
PLAY OF THE GAME: Missouri safety William Moore's 26-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the third quarter, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon tipped a pass intended for Arkansas fullback Peyton Hillis. Moore did the rest, making an easy interception and touchdown return. The touchdown increased the Tigers' lead to 28-0, putting the game out of reach
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Isn't it obvious? Missouri tailback Tony Temple.
UP NEXT: Arkansas will rebuild its program with new coach Bobby Petrino. Missouri will try to build on its most successful season in years. Quarterback Chase Daniel, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Chase Coffman are the key players returning on offense.