FAYETTVILLE — Tyler Wilson, who drew accolades for his spring work from Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, did not disappoint the 45,250 Razorback fans who attended Saturday’s Red-White Game, throwing for 467 yards. He was 31 of 41 overall, including 26 of 34 for 404 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Perhaps more impressive was Wilson’s scrimmage statistics for the entire spring. He was 111 of 145 for 1,593 yards and no interceptions. Wilson emerged as a team leader in 2011, breaking some of Ryan Mallett’s passing marks, including a single-game passing record of 510 yards against Texas A&M.
Backups Brandon Mitchell and Brandon Allen combined for 11 completions on 23 attempts in the first half for 90 yards. Both worked with the first team in the second half.
A group of select fans lined up parallel to the goal posts to welcome the Razorbacks to the field Saturday afternoon as cheerleaders and the Hog mascot carried flags. The Razorback band in red shirts and dark shorts played the National Anthem, but left the field without forming the "A" that welcomes the team during regular-season games.
The fan line stretched from the end line to about the 20-yard line.
In pregame drills, twice the red- and white-clad Razorbacks gathered in huddles without coaches. Wilson was in the middle of both huddles. The team left the second get-together to go to the dressing room following pregame drills.
Running back Knile Davis started the game for the Red team Saturday, but it apparently was symbolic as he has been held out of contact drills this spring. Davis missed the 2011 season after an injury in preseason practice, but led all Southeastern Conference running backs in 2010.
Ronnie Wingo came in on the second play from scrimmage and got most of the first-quarter carries, including a 2-yard TD run. Dennis Johnson was the primary ball carrier in the second period, including an 11-yard TD run. Wingo also capped a late first-half drive with a 1-yard TD and ran for an 11-yard score in the third.
Wilson’s first pass of the Red-White Game was a crossing pattern underneath to Cobi Hamilton, expected to be a primary target in the fall. Hamilton also was the recipient of the second pass from Wilson. After two dropped balls — one of them deep and high — Hamilton took a fourth-and-11 pass from Wilson for 27 yards and a first down.
Wilson’s receiving trio of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs may be gone, but Wilson didn’t seem to notice Saturday, finding Hamilton, tight end Chris Gragg and Marquel Wade regularly. In the first half, Wilson threw for 404 yards, completing 26 of 34.
Gragg led the way with nine receptions for 130 yards and two touchdown, Hamilton caught eight passes for 119 yards and Wade added 115 yards on four catches. Wingo had two first-half receptions for 18 yards. The Red team led 37-0 at that point, which was timed like a regular game. The clock ran without stopping in the second half.
The first touchdown pass of the spring game was good for 6 yards to Gragg. It was Gragg’s second reception in the opening drive of 75 yards. The 12-play drive took 4:57. Gragg caught a 60-yard TD pass with 19 seconds left in the first period.
It had already been announced, but Joe Adams was honored in pregame ceremonies Saturday as the first winner of the Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers National College Football Return Specialist Award. Rodgers won the Heisman Trophy in 1972 as a standout player at the University of Nebraska.
Adams tied the Southeastern Conference’s single-season record and led the NCAA in punt return touchdowns in 2011 with four. He also ranked second in the NCAA in average yards per return (16.89).
The award was presented to Adams during a banquet in Omaha on April 12. LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, North Carolina’s T.J. Thorpe and Texas A&M’s Dustin Harris also were finalists.
Adams, who is preparing for next week’s NFL Draft, was a consensus All-American in 2011 and also was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.