7:00 PM ET, September 10, 2005
Razorback Stadium, FAYETTEVILLE, AR
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- First, Bryant Hahnfeldt's missed field goal left Vanderbilt down by three with 2:46 remaining. Then, after an Arkansas punt, the Commodores faced fourth-and-long.
Jay Cutler and his teammates never quit.
Cutler threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marlon White with 26 seconds remaining to give Vanderbilt its second straight come-from-behind win, 28-24 over Arkansas on Saturday night.
"We knew we had a shot," Cutler said. "And our line stepped up and our receivers got some great catches."
Cutler completed a 19-yard pass to Erik Davis on fourth-and-10 from his own 34-yard line to keep the winning drive alive. After Vanderbilt moved to the Arkansas 19, his pass toward the end zone sailed over White's head.
But Randy Kelly was called for pass interference -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt vehemently argued the call -- giving the Commodores the ball at the 6.
Cutler found White cutting across the end zone on the next play.
"There were some questionable calls but that's life," Nutt said. "You've got to be able to overcome those."
Arkansas committed nine penalties for 88 yards. Vanderbilt (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) had only 2 for 9 yards.
The Razorbacks (1-1, 0-1) led 24-13 after three quarters, but Cutler lofted a 20-yard touchdown to White, then found White for a 2-point conversion with 12:44 to play. The senior quarterback finished 23-of-45 for 278 yards with an interception, and his two touchdown passes gave him 41 for his career, tying the school mark held by Greg Zolman and Whit Taylor.
Hahnfeldt missed a 43-yard kick, but Vanderbilt regained possession on a punt after only 24 seconds. The Commodores then drove 76 yards for the winning score.
"Our team didn't give up," Cutler said. "After the missed field goal, our defense gave us another chance and we took advantage."
Arkansas squandered an opportunity to use more time when quarterback Robert Johnson was forced out of bounds on second down.
"I wish we could have run the clock more on that last drive before we had to punt," Nutt said.
Vanderbilt has two straight road wins for the first time since beating Mississippi and Duke in 1999. The Commodores had lost every SEC opener since 1993, when Alabama beat them 17-6 but forfeited the game. Vanderbilt's last win on the field in an SEC opener was in 1990 over LSU.
The Commodores were coming off their first season-opening win since 1997. They beat Wake Forest 24-20 when Jeff Jennings scored with 1:48 remaining.
De'Arrius Howard rushed for a career-high 139 yards, and Robert Johnson threw two touchdown passes for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks outgained Vanderbilt 200-10 in the first quarter. Howard's 39-yard run opened the scoring.
But Vanderbilt stopped running back Peyton Hillis four straight times on Arkansas' next possession after the Razorbacks had first-and-goal from the 3.
"Not scoring early in the game from inside the 5, when we were up a touchdown might have affected the game," Hillis said. "We just simply didn't get it done in the first half."
Chris Balseiro's 37-yard field goal made it 10-0, but Cutler scored on a 1-yard run to complete a drive aided by two Arkansas penalties on third down.
Hahnfeldt's 23-yard kick made it 10-10 at halftime, and he added a 28-yard field goal early in the third quarter.
Johnson found Marcus Monk on a 7-yard pass to put Arkansas back ahead, and Hillis caught a 16-yard touchdown from Johnson later in the period.
Freshman Felix Jones, who rushed for 137 yards in the Razorbacks' season-opening win over Missouri State, had only one carry -- and lost a yard. After rushing for 483 yards last weekend, the Razorbacks had 106 in the first quarter against Vanderbilt but only 88 the rest of the game.
Davis had 110 yards on a career-high seven catches for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt and Arkansas met for only the sixth time, the first since 1995. Vanderbilt's only previous win in the series was in 1950.
The Commodores had never played at Fayetteville -- their previous three games at Arkansas were at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas plays at No. 1 Southern California next weekend. Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-3|
|TD||11:35||DE'ARRIUS HOWARD 39 YD RUN (CHRIS BALSEIRO KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 86 yards.
|FG||13:25||CHRIS BALSEIRO 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 31 yards.
|TD||8:39||JAY CUTLER 1 YD RUN (BRYANT HAHNFELDT KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 79 yards.
|FG||2:12||BRYANT HAHNFELDT 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 68 yards.
|FG||11:55||BRYANT HAHNFELDT 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||6:05||MARCUS MONK 7 YD PASS FROM ROBERT JOHNSON (CHRIS BALSEIRO KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||0:30||PEYTON HILLIS 16 YD PASS FROM ROBERT JOHNSON (CHRIS BALSEIRO KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 47 yards.
|TD||12:44||MARLON WHITE 20 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER (MARLON WHITE 2PT PASS FROM JAY CUTLER)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||0:26||MARLON WHITE 6 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER (BRYANT HAHNFELDT KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 76 yards.