Ethan Horton and Rod Elkins climaxed long North Carolina drives through a dense fog with one-yard touchdown runs in the third period, lifting the 11th-ranked Tar Heels to a wild and eerie 31-27 Gator Bowl triumph over Arkansas tonight.
With fog virtually obscuring the field of the waterfront stadium on the St. Johns River in this northeast Florida port town, North Carolina drove 85 yards in 13 plays following the second-half kickoff to break a 10-10 tie and went 80 yards in 10 plays on its next possession.
Horton, who rushed 144 yards, added a four-yard scoring run midway in the final period. Horton split tailback duties with Kelvin Bryant, who led the Tar Heels with 148 yards and a touchdown on a one-yard plunge in the second period.
North Carolina, runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference, finished with a 10-2 record. Arkansas, the fouth-place team in the Southwest Conference, is 8-4.
North Carolina's powerful ground game was abetted by a strong defense.
The Razorbacks scored on a 66-yard pass play from Brad Taylor to Derek Holloway in the opening period and Bruce Lahay's 28-yard field goal that tied the score, 10-10, four seconds before halftime.
Arkansas added 17 points on two touchdowns and a deliberate North Carolina safety in the final 5:05, creating a wild finish.
The game began in comfortable 57-degree weather, but the fog, which had lifted several hours before the kickoff, returned and worsened throughout the game.
It forced ABC, which televised the game nationally, to stay at ground level for many of its shots and drew such comments from the public address announcer as "A kick into obscurity," and "The officials may trade in their whistles for foghorns."
North Carolina, which has won bowls in three straight years, took an early lead when Brooks Barwick kicked a 31-yard field goal with 3:20 gone in the game.
Arkansas gained its only lead with 6:07 left in the first quarter when Taylor, who threw for 307 yards, threw the 66-yarder.
Arkansas scored 17 points in a little more than three minutes as the game was coming to an end, with Taylor throwing to Clark for two points after Clark's touchdown.