Friday, January 6, 2012

"Modern Family" still backs the Cats

We will say goodbye from the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic with a final, parting tweet from "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet:

"Great season Kansas State FB team. Thank you for all your hard work. Way to represent our GREAT university. Until next…"

Hogs hoist the trophy

Interception seals it

On fourth-and-16, Collin Klein's desperation heave was picked off by Arkansas' Jerico Nelson, who returned it 61 yards to the Kansas State 14.

There were only 5 seconds left after the interception, so Tyler Wilson takes a knee and the Razorbacks take home 29-16 win.

Arkansas adds to its lead

Arkansas has stretched its lead to 29-16 with 3:30 left in the game.

The Razorbacks took 3:06 off the clock with a seven-play, 61-yard drive. Zach Hocker booted his third field goal, a 30-yarder, to finish the drive.

Attendance tonight: 80,956

Your 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl attendance tonight is 80,956.

That's slightly less than last year's game between LSU and Texas A&M which drew 83,514. Two years ago, in the first game in the new stadium, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State drew 77,928.

The final game in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium between Texas Tech and Ole Miss drew a whopping 88,175.

K-State rally falls short

Kansas State is in real trouble now after giving up the ball with 6:36 left and trailing 26-16.

Collin Klein commanded a promising drive into Arkansas territory, but it stalled at the 26. On fourth-and-eight, kicker Anthony Cantele's 43-yard field goal attempt went wide right.

Arkansas takes 26-16 lead into fourth quarter

We've played three quarters here and Arkansas has maintained its lead, 26-16.

Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson is 16 of 26 passing for 163 yards and has made some big throws.

The Hogs are driving as we begin the fourth quarter with 2nd-and-14 at their own 33.

The Hogs are back in business

After watching Kansas State reel off 16 straight points, Arkansas finally answered with a nine-play, 58-yard drive.

Tyler Wilson capped the drive with a 9-yard TD pass to Cobi Hamilton running across the middle of the end zone. The TD came on third-and-goal.

It's 26-16 Arkansas with 3:57 left in the third quarter.

Cats strike first in the second half

Talk about halftime adjustments - Kansas State took the second-half kickoff and marched 60 yards in seven plays to pull within 19-16 of Arkansas.

QB Collin Klein scored from six yards out on a draw play up the middle. After the TD, Klein was seen getting his left wrist/hand looked at by the training staff. He appears to have a cut on his hand. As tough as Klein is, it's doubtful he will miss a play.

Defenses dominant in the first half

OK, so it's not Baylor and Washington in the Alamo Bowl. But Arkansas and Kansas State are putting on an entertaining AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic despite some rather modest offensive numbers.

Kansas State has just 60 yards and five first downs. Arkansas, which holds a 19-9 lead at the break, has 155 yards and only four first downs.

Kansas State has punted six times, Arkansas two times. Kansas State is just 2 of 8 on third downs and Arkansas is only 3 of 9. Both teams have fumbled and lost the ball once.

Thankfully, we haven't had a ton of penalties. Kansas State has been penalized four times for 23 yards, Arkansas two times for 18 yards.

You've got to think these coaching staffs will make adjustments and we will see more offensive fireworks in the second half.

Arkansas returns the favor with a turnover

After Arkansas capitalized on a turnover, K-State did the same.

Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson fumbled while being tackled by Adam Davis. The Wildcats recovered at the 13 but with no timeouts and only 1:06 left in the half.

No matter. After an Arkansas timeout, K-State quarterback Collin Klein rolled to his right then threw back to his left to a wide-open Andre McDonald in the end zone.

Our score at halftime is Arkansas 19, Kansas State 9.

Blocked PAT return a first in AT&T Cotton Bowl history

Kansas State's Nigel Malone put himself in the record books when he picked up a loose ball after a blocked extra point kick and returned it for two points.

Teammate Raphael Guidry blocked the PAT try, but only after Arkansas scored on a 45-yard pass from Tyler Wilson to Jarius Wright.

Oh, and we had our first Eric Stonestreet appearance on the big video screen - he was cheering the PAT return from a suite here in Cowboys Stadium.

The Razorbacks lead, 19-2, with 4:10 to play in the half.

Joe Adams' punt return gives Hogs 10-0 lead

A 51-yard punt return by Joe Adams has given Arkansas a 10-0 lead with 14:27 left in the second quarter.

Kansas State was backed up to its 4 yard line when it punted. Adams fielded the kick near his own sideline, then raced across to the Kansas State sideline before zooming upfield untouched.

Arkansas strikes first, 3-0

The first quarter was a punting contest until Arkansas came up with the first big break of the game. Razorbacks DE Jake Bequette forced a fumble at the Kansas State 13 yard line.

Four plays later, Zach Hocker kicked a 26-yard field goal and the Razorbacks had a 3-0 lead with 4:19 left in the first quarter.

Live stats available on the AT&T Cotton Bowl web site

Keeping up with the game? How about some live stats to go along with your viewing?

Check out the live stats page available on

We have kicked off!

This is a shot of the opening kickoff of the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Arkansas returned the kick 31 yards to the Kansas State 42.

It is a packed house with red- and purple-clad fans stacked to the rafters. Great atmosphere!

We've had the anthem

The Band Perry performed the anthem while a huge USA flag was unfurled that covered the entire field.

The teams have run out of the tunnels. All we're waiting for is the coin flip and then we'll have the kickoff to the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
The Band Perry

Looking for "Cam" in the crowd

"Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet, aka Cam, is a huge Kansas State fan. He's here at the AT&T Cotton Bowl tonight, somewhere in Cowboys Stadium.

He just posted a clue as to his location on his Twitter feed @ericstonestreet

What they're saying about the AT&T Cotton Bowl today

Veteran Texas sportswriter Nick Gholson offers his thoughts on the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram profiles Kansas State RB John Hubert. says the Cotton Bowl is a clash of styles.

Sports Network has a lengthy game preview.

Arkansas News talks about the Razorbacks' chances of equaling the school record for wins.

The Salina Journal has K-State covered in its Cotton Bowl notebook. analyzes the matchups.

The Kansas City Star details K-State's stadium expansion plans. has a neat slideshow of previous KSU visits to the Cotton Bowl.'s George Schroeder breaks it all down in a game preview.

Newest members of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame revealed at Big Play Luncheon

A stellar group of inductees to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame was revealed Thursday at the Big Play Luncheon.

The group includes: USC offensive lineman Tony Boselli, Texas linebacker Tom Campbell, Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, Notre Dame (and Arkansas) coach Lou Holtz, Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray and Arkansas defensive tackle Jim Williams.

The group will be inducted during enshrinement ceremonies April 19 at Cowboys Stadium.

Wildcats spread some cheer at Scottish Rite Hospital

Before heading to the annual Big Play Luncheon, Kansas State players made a visit to Scottish Rite Hospital to bring some Wildcat spirit to the patients there. You can read about it here.

K-State fans occupy Rangers Ballpark

You know you've got a big fan following when you need a major league baseball stadium to host your pep rally!

Kansas State fans took over Rangers Ballpark In Arlington on Thursday for a huge purple pep rally. Check out the picture below tweeted by's D. Scott Fritchen (@DScottFritchen).

Don't worry, Arkansas fans. I'm sure we will hear you calling the hogs all over Arlington today.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rangerettes recognized

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic VP of Communications Charlie Fiss presents Kilgore Rangerette Bethany Ford with a commemorative watch after the Rangerettes' rehearsal on Thursday at Cowboys Stadium.

Each year in a special ceremony, sophomore Rangerettes are given watches by the Cotton Bowl in appreciation for their service to the bowl.

The Rangerettes have performed at Cotton Bowl pregame and halftime festivities for more than 60 years. The AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic will be televised at 7 p.m. CT Friday, Jan. 6 on Fox.

 Photo by Ian Halperin, CBAA

Big Play luncheon today; K-State visits children's hospital

All the official media sessions are over and practices are closed, but you can still catch the players and coaches today at the Big Play Luncheon, the annual good-time affair on the eve of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

Before the luncheon, Kansas State players will visit with young patients at Scottish Rite Hospital, another Cotton Bowl tradition.

Earlier this week, Arkansas players visited Children's Medical Center to brighten a few faces. There's a great photo gallery of the visit on

What they're saying about the AT&T Cotton Bowl

The Kansas City Star says K-State is comfortable if the game comes down to kicks

Arkansas Sports reports the coaches also feel special teams could be critical

The Topeka Captial-Journal says the game is part of the ongoing Big 12-SEC debate

The KC Star has all the Cotton Bowl Buzz

The Arkansas News says both quarterbacks have a toughness factor

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Arkansas Wednesday practice report

ARLINGTON, TX -- The No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks continued to work closer to their matchup with the No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats in the 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic with a fourth practice at Cowboys Stadium Wednesday morning.

Head coach Bobby Petrino commented in his news conference prior to the team’s practice that the Razorbacks have enjoyed a great week preparing to play in a game with such great history and tradition as the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

“It’s been a tremendous experience for our football team and our families with a first-class organization. Everything we have done and all of the hospitality has been amazing,” said Petrino. “I’m proud of our football team. They’ve worked extremely hard to get here. We’re really looking forward to the matchup on Friday night. I think it’s going to be a great game. Whenever you can play the sixth-place team in the country against the eighth-place team in the country, I think it’s really exciting and I know our players and coaches are excited for the game to get here.”

This year’s Classic could cap a highly successful season for Arkansas, as a win over Kansas State would give the Razorbacks their first 11-win season since 1977. That season Arkansas finished with an 11-1 record and as No. 2 in the nation on the strength of a 31-6 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1978.

Before the Razorbacks put to a close on the 2011 season, the team will enjoy another social outing, again at American Airlines Center, to see the defending National Basketball Association champion Dallas Mavericks take on the Phoenix Suns. Arkansas’ final practice Thursday afternoon is CLOSED to the media and public.

Kansas State Wednesday Practice Report

ARLINGTON, TX – Players and coaches for the No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats stressed continuing the hardnosed style of preparation that propelled them to the 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

Today was no different as the Wildcats practiced at Cowboys Stadium for the fourth consecutive afternoon. The Wildcats held a two hour workout as they look towards matching up against a high-profile SEC squad in the No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks.

“They’re a determined group and have the “never give up” type of attitude and approach to each ballgame that they play,” Head Coach Bill Snyder said. “I love the determination that they possess. I also greatly appreciate their willingness to do things that a lot of people in this day and age don’t like to do and don’t want to do.”

That hard work and attention to detail has translated to a team that isn’t flashy, but takes care of the little things. KSU got to ten wins and a No. 6 BCS Ranking with just the fifth-ranked defense and the ninth-ranked offense in the Big 12 yet held the distinction of being the least penalized team in the Big 12.

“That’s why Coach Snyder is great,” DE Jordan Voelker said. “Each player has their weaknesses and he utilizes our strengths the best and moves us to the position we fit.”

It’s no surprise then that in year two of his second stint at K-State that Coach Snyder was the recipient of both the Woody Hayes National Coach of the Year and the Big 12 Coach of the Year awards. A win on Friday would propel Kansas State to their first 11-win season since back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2002 and 2003.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Arkansas Tuesday practice report

ARLINGTON -- The third day of the New Year saw the No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks go through their third practice on the Cowboys Stadium turf for the 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

Taking over his first game as the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator after seven seasons at Ohio State, Paul Haynes said he has been pleased with how the players have responded to him after taking the position in early December as the team tries to bring home its fourth Field Scovell Trophy in 12 Classic appearances.

“I have really appreciated them and how they have welcomed me into the family,” said Haynes. “It’s been an easy transition. The things I have asked them to do, they do it. They’ve been very supportive.”
“It’s been a great transition. I stay busy because there’s been something every single day and that’s kind of been the fun part for me to get to know these guys.”

Haynes added that he feels the defense has worked with great focus in its three practices so far.

“The venue we are going to play in and the venue we have been practicing in, Cowboys Stadium, has been
awesome,” said Haynes. “Our guys prepare well and I expected that from guys like this. The preparation has been good. The guys are focused; the guys are ready. We’re early (in our practice week). You’re always kind of worried about them getting up (for the game) but once we’ve stepped on that field, it’s been all focus and good practices.”

Haynes and five defensive starters – seniors DE Jake Bequette, LB Jerry Franklin, S/LB Jerico Nelson and S Tramain Thomas and junior DE Tenarius Wright -- stepped off the practice field Tuesday afternoon for the Razorbacks’ news conference at the media headquarters hotel while the remainder of the team took time away from its bowl preparations to visit Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Tonight, the entire team will enjoy some National Hockey League action as the Dallas Stars face the Detroit Red Wings at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. The Razorbacks get back to work Wednesday morning for another practice session at Cowboys Stadium following the final official AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic news conference featuring the two head coaches, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino and Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.

The 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is Friday, Jan. 6 on FOX. The telecast starts at 7 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for 7:32 p.m. Gus Johnson will handle the play-by-play duties with Charles Davis as the color analyst. Tim Brewster and former Dallas Cowboys great Daryl Johnston will serve as sideline reporter.

Kansas State Tuesday practice report

ARLINGTON – Execution was the theme of the day as the No. 8 Kansas State Wildcats worked on finalizing their AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic game plan during the Cats third practice at Cowboys Stadium. The Wildcats practiced foralmost three hours today, going full speed in pads.

Looming at the end of the week is a top-ten showdown against No. 6 Arkansas. The Wildcat players are beginning to lock in to their ultimate goal of a Classic championship through an intense, physical practice.

“We’re human and we make mistakes but we’re trying to get those ironed out before the ballgame,” OL B.J. Finney said. “Everybody is energized and ready to go and ready for the game. That has carried into practice.”

Much of the Wildcats (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) success can be credited to their QB Collin Klein, who was named a First Team All-Big 12 performer. Klein comes into the Classic accounting for a phenomenal 69% of KSU’s offense (1,745 yards, 1,099 yards rushing).

The Loveland, Colo. product says he’s rested after a rough season that saw him take a number of physical hits in Big 12 play. Klein and the rest of the offense are looking forward to Friday’s matchup against a physical Arkansas (10-2, 6-2 SEC) defense.

“It’s just a matter of us as players being able to execute better than Arkansas does for four quarters and hopefullycome away with a win,” Klein said.

Wildcats offensive players were the focus earlier in the day at the media hotel, as co-offensive coordinators Del Miller and Dana Dimel, as well as Finney, OL Clyde Aufner, WR Chris Harper, RB John Hubert and Klein; spoke with reporters for an hour.

Tonight the team will attend a special Beef Bowl party at Lawry’s in Dallas. Tomorrow morning both Head Coach Bill Snyder and Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino will meet the media to discuss the week and the upcoming battle.

The 76th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic will be held on Friday Jan. 6th on FOX. Telecast starts at 7 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7:32 p.m. Gus Johnson will handle play-by-play duties with Charles Davis as the color analyst. Tim Brewster and former Dallas Cowboys great Daryl Johnston will serve as sideline reporters.

What they're saying about the AT&T Cotton Bowl's David Ubben says the Cotton Bowl just keeps growing.

The Sports Network offers a primer about the game.

The Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star says K-State is already looking for Collin Klein's successor. makes the case that the Cotton Bowl is better than a BCS bowl this year. says the Hogs will look to move the ball through the air.

Arkansas News details the Razorbacks' habit of slow starts to games.

The Kansas City Star describes how d-coordinator Chris Cosh turned around the K-State defense.

Klein time

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein met with the media this morning during the K-State offensive session.

Klein's teammates nicknamed him "The Honeybadger" but he certainly sounded more sweet than vicious this morning.

"I couldn't have predicted this season and I won't try to predict anything that might happen in the future," Klein said. "It would be an exercise in futility. But I'm just very fortunate to have been able to contribute and help K-State be successful."

 Photo by James D. Smith

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bowling and beef

Part of the AT&T Cotton Bowl experience every year for the players are trips to the Main Event entertainment center and the Lawry's Beef Bowl.

Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg said the Main Event party has been the highlight of his trip so far. He said the Arkansas trainers dominated in bowling, but he's not sure if teammate Greg Childs should be allowed to drive the Go-Karts again.

"He's not one of the best drivers, I would say," Gragg said with a grin.

Arkansas' turn at the Beef Bowl was Monday night. The chance to have all-you-can-eat prime rib might be a little too tempting for some players.

"I know our head strength and conditioning coach, Coach (Jason) Veltkamp, he's going to be watching those linemen to make sure they're not too heavy for practice tomorrow," Gragg said.

Media sessions at the Mandalay

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic players and coaches participate in daily media sessions during the week at the bowl's media headquarters, the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas.

Monday morning's first session was the Kansas State defense, with select players and coordinator Chris Cosh. After lunch, it was the Arkansas offense's turn with coordinator Paul Petrino and players.

On Tuesday, it will be the Kansas State offense and the Arkansas defense, and then Wednesday the two head coaches will have a final media session together at the Omni Mandalay.

 Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson looks comfortable in the pocket with a group of reporters blitzing him.

Kansas State linebacker Emmanuel Lamur is in focus.

Cowboys Stadium-sized welcome kicks off AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Week

If the rest of AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic Week is anything like the start, we're in for huge week.

The Arkansas and Kansas State teams were welcomed on Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium with a giant dinner buffet in one of end zone plazas. Artist Dan Dunn provided entertainment while the teams dined, whipping out huge portraits of the mascots of both teams and a single portrait representing Friday's on-field clash.

The Kilgore Rangerettes served as escorts and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were on hand to pose for pictures with the Super Bowl and Cotton Bowl trophies.

After a few welcoming comments from AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic chairman Tommy Bain, the teams headed to the 50 yard line to watch highlight films of their seasons on the colossal Cowboys Stadium video screen. It was a big way to kick off a big week for both teams.