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Cotton Bowl notebook: Williams taken from field on cart

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at 12:34 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, at 7:38 a.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Kansas State defensive end Meshak Williams was strapped to a gurney and driven off the field on a cart after a violent collision with teammate Emmanuel Lamur in the final seconds of the first half.

Williams, dragging Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson to the ground, was hit full force in the head and torso by Lamur as he came flying in to help on the tackle.

Emergency medical staff removed Williams' helmet and kept him motionless as he was strapped to the cart, but the 6-foot-3, 245-pound junior held up his right hand before being driven off the field and then again as he was being driven through the Kansas State end zone, this time making a "WC" signal for "Wildcats" and prompting a large cheer from the crowd.

Williams, who did have movement in his lower extremities, was sent to a local hospital for examination and was expected to be cleared to leave the hospital Friday night, according to Kansas State officials.

Just like Lance — Arkansas All-American punt returner Joe Adams' 51-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter had some Razorback history attached to it. It was the first punt return for a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl since Arkansas' Lance Alworth — an NFL Hall of Famer — took one to the house against Duke in 1961.

Lockett dressed — Kansas State freshman and All-American return specialist Tyler Lockett was in full pads and on the sideline for Friday night's Cotton Bowl but did not see any action. Lockett suffered a lacerated kidney against Oklahoma State on Nov. 5 and had not played since.

Petrino does it again, for the first time — The Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State gave Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino the third 11-win season of his career. He hit the mark with Louisville in 2004 and 2006. It was also the ninth time in school history to hit 10 or more wins for the Razorbacks.

Magic man — Adams was no secret headed into the Cotton Bowl. The senior leads the nation with three punt returns for touchdowns and has already been named an all-purpose All-American, but his 51-yard punt return for a touchdown still left Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino in a state of genuine admiration.

"That's not the first time he's done it," Snyder said. "Everybody knows what he can do."

Adams fielded the ball on the Arkansas sideline and cut across the field, threading his way through a series of devastating blocks and hitting his stride up the Kansas State sideline before hitting paydirt.

"You'd think you'd get used to it, but I never do... it's always special to watch," Petrino said. "I watch him go and I'm in awe of what he does just like everybody else."

COTTON BOWL REPORT

First quarter

Key play: Ty Zimmerman swatted down a pass in the end zone that forced Arkansas to attempt a field goal.

Key stat: Arkansas scored three points while gaining no first downs.

Second quarter

Key play: Joe Adams took a punt 51 yards up the right side of the field to score the game’s first touchdown and give K-State a 10-0 lead.

Key stat: Both teams combined for a total of nine first downs.

Third quarter

Key play: Collin Klein ran in a touchdown from six yards out to tie the Big 12’s single-season record for rushing touchdowns with 27.

Key stat: Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 80 yards.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Jerico Nelson intercepted Klein on his final pass of the game.

Key stat: Klein was sacked six times.

Player of the game

Wilson threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns. In a low-scoring game, that was enough.

Reason to hope

K-State returns a strong nucleus of players. Arthur Brown, Chris Harper, Nigel Malone and Collin Klein will all be back try and build off the momentum it created this season.

Reason to mope

Losing bowl games is never fun, even when they come on the big stage.

Next up

K-State will try to replace key seniors such as Clyde Aufner, Emmanuel Lamur , David Garrett and Tysyn Hartman in the offseason and build for the future.

Grades

Offense: C+. K-State did enough to hang in the game, but it was unable to overcome a slow start. Receivers were often early, but a combination of drops and poorly thrown passes led to few catches. Klein was effective running the ball in the second half. He needed to be the whole game.

Defense: A. If not for Arkansas scoring 10 points off of a fumble recovery and a punt return, the Razorbacks would have had a miserable day. K-State’s defense held Arkansas in check as best it could, and kept it in the game early.

Special teams: C. K-State gave up a 51-yard punt return for a touchdown to Joe Adams, and Ryan Doerr punted too many balls in the end zone when he had the chance to pin Arkansas in bad field position.

Coaching: B. The Wildcats’ play-calling seemed odd at times in the first half, and players were obviously rusty. But they had K-State ready to rally and were competitive despite falling behind 19-0.

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