FELIX McKNIGHT DEFENSIVE MVP TROPHY WINNER - JAKE BEQUETTE
His first major contribution came in the first quarter when he sacked Kansas State’s quarterback Collin Klein, forcing a fumble in the K-State red zone. Four plays later, the Razorbacks were on the board after making a 26-yard field goal.
The second big play for Bequette arose when he tallied his second sack in the third quarter, resulting in a three-yard loss for the Wildcats and stopping their momentum.
Bequette’s play earned him the Felix McKnight Trophy as the game’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Earlier in the week, Bequette said the key to tonight’s game would be stopping Klein. That’s precisely what he did.
“The first thing I thought they did a nice job of was understanding they were going to play a huge role in stopping the run. Jake loves to rush the passer,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. “This game was about needing to stop this run, stopping this quarterback.”
Arkansas’ defense held Klein to 42 yards rushing - he had rushed for 90 or more yards in eight games this season. The Razorbacks held K-State to an average of just over 2 yards per carry and a total of 86 yards on 40 rushes.
Bequette accounted for two of the squad’s seven quarterback sacks. His forced fumble in the first quarter was one of two total combined forced fumbles for the teams, tying for eighth for fewest fumbles in the Cotton Bowl.
For the native of Little Rock, Ark., it’s a great way to close out his Arkansas career.
“It’s been an incredible journey, that’s for sure,” Bequette said. “It was really a learning experience for all of us. But then now it’s really paid off the last two years. To get this program consistently in the top 10, in BCS bowl games, great bowl games like the Cotton Bowl, hopefully in the top five in the country with 11 wins, it means so much to me personally, and to this group of seniors. It’s just been a fun ride.”
Bequette finished with two sacks, three tackles and two tackles for loss (10 yards). He moved into sixth on Arkansas’ single-season sacks list and now has a career-high 10.0 sacks this season.
He is the first Arkansas defensive end player to earn the honor since Alton Baldwin in 1947.