SMU 17, Arkansas 14
DALLAS (AP) _ Defensive end Wilbert Mitchell recovered a fumble on the 1-yard-line with 56 seconds left to save a touchdown and SMU held on to beat Arkansas 17-14 on Saturday night.
SMU won despite losing quarterback Ramon Flanigan, who dislocated his left hip on the season’s first play.
SMU was seemingly beaten with Arkansas just inches away from the goal, but Arkansas quarterback Barry Lunney fumbled on a sneak and Mitchell pounced on the ball to preserve the victory for the Mustangs, using the Cotton Bowl as their home stadium for the first time since 1978.
The Razorbacks drove from their 20 to the SMU 6-inch line before Mitchell made his big play.
Donte Womack, a sophomore from Little Rock, had put the Mustangs ahead with a 37-yard touchdown run with 13:07 to play before the crowd of 29,107 fans who braved 91-degree heat.
Womack rushed for a career-high 137 yards on 21 carries.
Arkansas rolled 67 yards in five plays to seize a 14-10 lead after the second-half kickoff. The payoff came on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Lunney to J.J. Meadors. Lunney hit a 38-yard pass to Carl Johnson on the quick scoring drive.
Second-string quarterback Chris James, unfazed by the loss of Flanigan, led the Mustangs to a 10-7 halftime lead.
He hit passes totaling 47 yards to get into position for Ben Crosland’s 35-yard field goal. Then James passed 13 yards for a touchdown to Kevin Thornal for a touchdown after hitting Rafiq Cooper for three yards and a first down on fourth down from the Arkansas 35.
Sophomore Robert Reed started at quarterback for Arkansas, but gave way to Lunney, a senior, in the second quarter.
Lunney hit Anthony Eubanks for 28 yards and a first down on fourth-and-6 from the SMU 32 to set up Madre Hill’s 3-yard scoring run.
Flanigan, a junior from Wichita Falls, Texas, was the total offense leader in the Southwest Conference last year and ranked 13th in the nation with 237.1 yards per game.
He was tackled by Arkansas linebacker Junior Soli while attempting to pass just 15 seconds into the game and fell heavily on his hip. Flanigan was carried off on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance for the ride to Baylor University Medical Center. Officials said they would keep him overnight.
SMU officials said Flanigan would be out 8-10 weeks.