Arkansas To Play Missouri In Cotton Bowl

Monday, December 3rd 2007, 1:28 pm
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ When Arkansas takes the field at the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, it will be facing its second Top 10 team in as many games.

Since Arkansas beat then-No. 1 LSU in triple overtime on Nov. 23, Missouri has attained and lost the top spot. Arkansas interim coach Reggie Herring says facing the Tigers only makes the Razorbacks more eager to play.

``I don't think there's any doubt that's what makes this Cotton Bowl so exciting to players. It gets the competitive juices flowing. You're going to play the sixth-ranked team in the country (in the BCS standings). That has the tendency to get the players more motivated, more focused because of the higher of the competition level,'' Herring said Sunday.

Missouri is seventh in the AP Top 25 poll, while Arkansas has re-entered the rankings at No. 25. LSU recovered from the Arkansas defeat to beat No. 16 Tennessee on Saturday for the Southeastern Conference title and earn a berth as No. 2 in the BCS championship game against top-ranked Ohio State on Jan. 7 in New Orleans. Missouri would have been in that game had it not been beaten 38-17 by Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game Saturday night.

The Razorbacks are to practice Wednesday afternoon and again Saturday morning. Players will lift and run on the days in between, Arkansas Sports Information Director Kevin Trainor said Monday.

The Cotton Bowl will match two potential Heisman Trophy finalists _ Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden and Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel.

Daniel's Heisman chances weren't helped by Saturday's performance, in which he didn't throw for a touchdown. McFadden announced last week that he would play in the bowl game despite the resignation of coach Houston Nutt, who agreed to coach at Mississippi.

Herring, who was Arkansas defensive coordinator before being elevated after Nutt's departure, said Daniel will be a handful.

``What a combination of a Doug Flutie and a Brett Favre powerful arm, great legs, innovator on the run,'' Herring said. ``I've seen an incredibly tough competitor. (He has) great tenacity, great spirit and great leadership and is surrounded by players that believe in him.''

Herring said the combination of Daniel and Missouri's defense has him expecting Arkansas to be the underdog.

``The competitiveness should really rise to the top, and that's what I was hoping and I know that's what the players are wanting. They want to play the best there is, and you wouldn't want it any other way with the players' attitude,'' Herring said.

As for McFadden and the Heisman, Herring said the junior from Little Rock has proved himself.

``Just by the prerequisite of what's been in the past, looking at stats and what you've done on the field and how important you are to a football team, I think Darren McFadden exemplifies that and then some.''

The five Heisman finalists are to be announced on Wednesday.