Who Let The Hogs Out?

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) _ For three quarters, Brandon Holmes stood on the sideline as freezing rain fell and Arkansas' offense stalled. When he finally got into the game, Holmes and the Razorbacks began to heat up. Holmes scored his second touchdown of the game in overtime and the Razorbacks held No. 13 Mississippi State on fourth-and-goal at the 1 to preserve a 17-10 victory Saturday. Holmes entered the game with 12:30 left in the fourth quarter when Fred Talley injured his right knee. ``I was focused from the start,'' Holmes said. ``I was ready and the offensive line made my job easy.'' To that point Talley was responsible for what little offense Arkansas (5-5, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) mustered in the first three quarters. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound sophomore ran for 91 yards on 25 tough carries, before being helped off the field. The Razorbacks' season has been derailed by injuries from the start, and trailing 10-3 without Talley they appeared to be in serious trouble. The 215-pound Holmes, however, provided the spark, running for 70 yards on 11 carries in the fourth quarter, including the game-tying touchdown with 1:02 left. ``I've been telling the coaches that I wanted them to trust me with the ball to gain yards,'' he said. In overtime, the Arkansas coaches showed their confidence in the freshman tailback. Holmes carried the ball on all five overtime plays for Arkansas and finished with a season-high 95 yards on 16 carries. ``I knew Brandon Holmes could do the job,'' running backs coach Danny Nutt said. ``When he gets moving he's tough to bring down.'' ``They wore down the interior of our defense,'' said Bulldogs cornerback Fred Smoot. Before Holmes hit the field, defenses had dominated the cold and wet day. So it was only fitting that Arkansas' defense determined the outcome on the final play. Mississippi State (7-3, 4-3) converted a fourth-and-21 during its overtime possession on a 21-yard pass from Wayne Madkin to Terrell Grindle. Two plays later, the Bulldogs had a first-and-goal at the 5. Three straight running plays got them to the 1. On fourth down, Ken Hamlin came up from his free safety position and cut the legs out from under Dontae Walker as he tried to sweep around right end. J.J. Jones and Quenton Caver wrapped up Walker as he tried to stumble into the end zone. ``I was just thinking 'He can't get in there,''' Hamlin said. ``They did a great job of getting to the ball,'' said Caver, who was a disruptive force all day with 12 tackles and two sacks. The loss snapped Mississippi State's 16-game home-winning streak and Arkansas' four game-losing streak. The Razorbacks' had also lost nine straight SEC road games. The Bulldogs managed just 206 yards, while the Razorbacks had only 217. The loss combined with Auburn's victory over Alabama eliminates Mississippi State from a chance to win the SEC West Division's spot in the conference championship game in Atlanta. ``It hurts bad because of the bowl implications and I won't see Atlanta without being associated with the Peach Bowl,'' Smoot said. The Razorbacks blocked a 25-yard field-goal attempt by Scott Westerfield on the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime. Holmes tied the game for Arkansas with a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:02 left in the game. But Dicenzo Miller took a short pass over the middle 44 yards on Mississippi State's last drive of regulation that gave the Bulldogs a first down at Arkansas' 25 with under a minute to go. The Razorbacks then made matters worse for themselves by committing two personal foul penalties that moved the ball to the 5. After a low snap, Westerfield's kick was drilled into the Razorbacks' line. Shawn Byrdsong, who had two interceptions, scored Mississippi State's only touchdown on a 40-yard interception return in the first quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead. ``This is a sweet, sweet victory for us,'' Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. ``When you play a team like Mississippi State, nobody expects you to win.''