FAYETTEVILLE — It wasn’t the way quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton wanted to end their careers at Arkansas.
The record-setting duo wasn’t able to upset No. 8 LSU as the Razorbacks lost 20-13 on Friday at Razorback Stadium in the final game for 22 seniors on the team.
Arkansas had a shot at tying the game on the final snap, but Wilson’s final pass in an Arkansas uniform sailed over the outstretched hands of Mekale McKay in the back corner of the end zone.
“I thought we gave it our best shot, I really thought we had a shot to win it,” Wilson said. “We didn’t make those plays to win it, but we fought our tails off to the end. … Offensively, we gave them a lot to look at and executed pretty well.”
Despite the final score, Hamilton said he enjoyed every minute of his final game in Fayetteville.
“It was my last game as a senior. We couldn’t pull out a win like we wanted to, but it was fun,” Hamilton said. “I played my butt off and I enjoy being out there with my teammates.”
Hamilton injured an ankle in the fourth quarter. He missed a few plays, but said there was no way he’d miss the end of his final game as a Razorback. Especially after a loud “Cobi” chant by the fans rang through Razorback Stadium.
“Obviously, I wanted to come back in … why not go for it?” Hamilton said. “Even if I’m hurting pretty bad, I’ve got three minutes, I’ve got a lot of time to rest. That’s what I was thinking about, going back out there and finishing my career as a Razorback. … (The chant) meant a lot, the support we had throughout the season showed so much. It was a great feeling.”
Wilson and Hamilton are both expected to be taken in the NFL Draft in April 2013. Wilson said he’ll now begin preparing for that.
“It’s going to be a busy few weeks for me to kind of gather everything up here and kind of finalize some of the relationships I’ve built here,” Wilson said. “And then try to move on with that next process, which is selecting an agent and prepping for the combine and everything else that’ll be thrown at me.”
Wilson and Hamilton will leave Arkansas with several records.
• Wilson broke the career record for passing yards in the second quarter with a 9-yard toss to Javontee Herndon. The senior from Greenwood finished with 7,765 career passing yards, easily topping Ryan Mallett’s old record of 7,493.
Wilson also holds the UA record for career 350-yard passing games with seven and holds the record for the most 350-yard plus games in a single season with five. With 31 completions, he finished with 593 — which is also a school record.
His final stat line as a Razorback was 593-of-948 for 7,765 yards with 52 touchdowns and 26 interceptions for a 140.70 career quarterback rating. He started 24 games the past two seasons and posted a 15-9 record as a starter.
• Hamilton now tops the UA career receptions list with 175 catches, edging Jarius Wright’s old record of 168 that was set last season. The senior from Texarkana finished with 90 catches this season for 1,335 yards — which are both school records.
His 1,335 receiving yards are good for fourth in Southeastern Conference history and his 90 catches are third all-time in the conference record book. Hamilton caught 175 catches for 2,854 yards and 18 TDs in his career.
While it was a disappointing season on the field, Hamilton said he’ll remember the bonds of the players on the 2012 team more than the final 4-8 record.
“Togetherness, we stuck together through all the adversity,” Hamilton said. “We’re still brothers, we’re still the same 2012 team that everybody had high expectations for. We stuck together.”
With Arkansas out of a bowl contention, Wilson said he’d been able to prepare mentally for his final game in a Razorbacks jersey.
“It’s been a fun ride. … We watched a PowerPoint (Thursday) night and you see a picture of me at 175 pounds walking in here (as a freshman),” Wilson said. “Then you go through the ups, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and everything you go through. It’s been a life lesson for me, not only the records and that stuff, but it’s been a wonderful time and I’m glad I got to spend it at Arkansas.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
The final game even made Wilson a little misty-eyed.
“I always thought it was funny to get choked up; I’ve never been one of those guys who just gets choked up about anything,” Wilson said. “Last night, it hit me … it’s tough, it’s meant so much to me to grow up in this state and be a part of this.”