Fayetteville, Ark. – Ken Hamlin’s second interception of the day stopped a potential game-tying touchdown drive by Louisiana-Lafayette with less than two minutes remaining in the game as the Razorbacks held on for a 24-17 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns Saturday afternoon.The Razorbacks improved to 7-3 overall, while Louisiana-Lafayette fell to 3-8 with the loss.
Arkansas finished with 404 yards in total offense. The Hogs racked up 263 yards rushing on 45 carries and 141 yards passing.
Quarterback Matt Jones led all rushers with 129 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Jones averaged 9.9 yards per rush and had a long of 62 yards.
Jones also hit 9-of-13 passes for 118 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Tarvaris Jackson was 2-of-2 for 18 yards.
George Wilson caught a team-high four passes for 49 yards.
“We didn’t win like we wanted to, but it’s a win,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “You have to be ready every week. We didn’t take care of the ball. Our focus was not what we wanted. We got some good individual effort, but we didn’t get the team effort. We are better than that.”
Louisiana-Lafayette had 229 yards of total offense with 168 coming through the air. The Cajuns were held to 61 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
Quarterback Eric Rekieta completed 19-of-36 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Fred Stamps had six receptions for 87 yards and a score.
Jones put the Hogs on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter with a 62-yard touchdown run. Jones had a 68-yard run erased by penalty earlier in the quarter, but no flags were thrown on his 62-yard gallop as the Razorbacks took a 7-0 lead.
David Carlton added a 22-yard field goal on the Hogs’ next possession to extend the lead to 10-0. The field goal capped an eight-play, 55-yard drive.
The Ragin’ Cajuns made it a 10-7 game with just under four minutes remaining in the first half after Rekieta hit Stamps on a 22-yard strike in the end zone. The score capped a 60-yard, nine-play drive for Louisiana-Lafayette. The score was the first against the Hogs in the last nine quarters of play dating back to the fourth quarter against Ole Miss.
Arkansas, however, answered right back when Jones hit Carlos Ousley in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown strike to give the Hogs a 17-7 lead. Jones helped set the score up with runs of 20 and 21 yards on the drive.
The reception was the second-career catch for Ousley. Both of Ousley’s receptions have been touchdowns.
With 20 seconds left in the half the Cajuns blocked a Richie Butler punt and took over at the Arkansas 20-yard line. Sean Comsikey connected on a 25-yard field as time expired in the half to cut the Razorback lead to 17-10.
The Cajuns missed a chance to cut deeper into the Razorback lead after recovering a fumble on the Hogs first possession of the second half. But, Comiskey missed a 39-yard field goal to keep the seven-point margin.
The Razorbacks got some breathing room when Jones hit DeCori Birmingham on a 19-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. The score gave Arkansas 24-10 lead. The Hogs marched 58-yards in five plays to extend their lead.
The Cajuns were not finished however. With just under three minutes left in the game Charles Tillman blocked Butler’s punt and Wendall Williams returned it 18 yards for a touchdown to make it a 24-17 game with 2:51 left.
On the Hogs’ next possession, Richard Smith fumbled after being stripped of the ball and the Cajuns recovered at the Arkansas 33-yard line with 1:46 remaining.
On the Cajuns’ first play, Ken Hamlin made a leaping interception at the five-yard line to seal the Razorback victory. It was Hamlin’s second pick of the day.
Arkansas will next travel to Starkville for a 1:30 p.m. contest against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The game will not be televised.