FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Ronnie Wingo and Joe Adams provided Arkansas the boost it needed Saturday night.
With three senior starters - defensive end Jake Bequette and receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs - out, Wingo and Adams provided the big plays for the No. 14 Razorbacks in a 38-28 win over Troy.
Wingo rushed for a career-high 109 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Adams had eight catches for 109 yards in helping Arkansas remain undefeated as it prepares to travel to No. 2 Alabama next week.
The effort was especially rewarding for Wingo, whose previous best was an 86-yard rushing effort against Texas A&M as a freshman in 2009. The junior, who the Razorbacks (3-0) have counted on to shine this season following Knile Davis' season-ending ankle injury in August, scored on touchdown runs of 22 and 21 yards in the first half and also had a touchdown catch.
Wingo nearly doubled his season output of 116 yards rushing entering the game with the performance. His three touchdowns were also a personal best, topping the two he scored - one rushing and one receiving - against Troy in 2009.
``It's a relief after everybody was on our back the way they were the first week,' Wingo said. ``They're still going to have stuff to say, but we've just got to keep grinding and getting better each week.'
The Trojans (0-2) fell behind 31-7 early in the third quarter following Wingo's third score, a six-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Despite the deficit, Troy didn't make the fourth quarter an easy one for the Razorbacks. Sophomore quarterback Corey Robinson, who was 36 of 63 passing for 373 yards, helped the Trojans score back-to-back touchdowns and close the deficit to 31-21.
The first score was a 32-yard pass from Robinson to Justin Albert, and safety LaDarrius Madden followed that with a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown. That was as close as Troy would get, despite outgaining Arkansas 457-454 in total yardage.
``I think Arkansas has got to be one of the best offensive football teams in the country when you get right to it,' Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. ``They've got a lot of guys that can make plays. ``I felt like we were slow getting lined up, not quite on edge as much early, and we gave up some plays that we shouldn't give up.'
Bequette missed the game for the Razorbacks with a hamstring injury. Wright, the team's receiving leader entering the game, was out with a knee sprain, while Childs was absent following the death of his grandmother earlier this week.
Adams, who returned two punts for touchdowns in the season opener, stepped right in as Arkansas' top receiving option. The senior answered the Trojans' challenge early in the fourth quarter when he took a short Wilson pass, spun through two Troy defenders and sprinted to the end zone for a touchdown that put the Razorbacks up 38-21.
``I thought it was huge for us,' Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. ``He made a great play. They tightened the score. We hadn't moved the ball real well the last two drives, and Joe made a great play. He broke a tackle, showed his speed and changed the game back for us.'
Tramain Thomas then intercepted a Robinson pass on the first play following Adams' touchdown, and Arkansas' defense didn't allow another score until Robinson found Eric Thomas for a 24-yard touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game.
Wingo and Adams had plenty of help on offense from junior receiver Cobi Hamilton, who opened the game with a 37-yard reception and finished with five catches for 81 yards.
Also, Wilson was effective in guiding Arkansas' offense early, leading the Razorbacks to touchdowns on their first three drives as he remained undefeated in his first season as the starter. He finished the game with 23 of 36 passing for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
However, after he sailed a pass high over the head of Javontee Herndon on third-and-goal from the 5 on Arkansas' fourth possession, Wilson felt the wrath of Petrino on the sideline. Zach Hocker made the 23-yard field goal to put Arkansas up 24-0, but only after Petrino slammed his headset into the ground and mocked Wilson's throwing motion on the sideline as the quarterback walked toward him.
Wilson did guide Arkansas to two scoring drives in the second half, but Troy also held the Razorbacks to three three-and-outs.
``I wasn't real happy with the way we finished the game,' Petrino said. ``We've got a lot to work on to get ready for Alabama.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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