LITTLE ROCK – Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams ran their way into program history and lifted Arkansas (2-0) to a 31-21 win over Samford (1-1) at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Collins rushed for 172 yards and one touchdown, while Williams aped 126 yards and one touchdown of his own, as the Razorback duo marked the first time in school history that Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in the first two games of the season.&
It was a day filled with landmarks for Collins, who not only scored his first-career touchdown on a 2-yard run to put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter, but also became the first Arkansas freshman to rush for 100 yards in each of the first two games of his career.
In total, Arkansas outgained Samford 333-114 on the ground, including closing out the game with 163 rushing yards in the fourth quarter to Samford’s 10 yards. The rushing performance marked the first time since 2007 that the Razorbacks had 250 or more rushing yards as a team in back-to-back games.
Opening with a touchdown on the first drive for the second straight game, Brandon Allen and the Razorbacks got things going through the air with14 unanswered points. The first of Allen’s two touchdown passes on the night came less than four minutes into the game, as Allen connected with Mitchell Loewen on a 24-yard score at the 12:02 mark of the first quarter. Allen later hooked up with Javontee Herndon on a 7-yard touchdown pass midway through the quarter to give Arkansas a 14-0 lead.
Zach Hocker closed the first half of scoring with a career-long 53-yard field goal, which helped the Razorbacks extend their lead to 17-7 at the break. With one made field goal on the night, Hocker also moved into a tie for third place on Arkansas’ career field goals made list with 51.
The Razorbacks responded to two second-half Bulldog touchdowns with an energized fourth-quarter rally, fueled by Collins and Williams asserting themselves in the running game. Williams scored the 1-yard, go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter and Collins followed minutes later with a 2-yard score to give Arkansas the 31-21 final.
Arkansas returns home to Fayetteville next weekend, as it hosts Southern Mississippi at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Sept. 14. Kickoff is set for 11:21 a.m. on SEC TV.
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