FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sparked by a touchdown on the opening play, Arkansas football posted 63 unanswered points en route to a 73-7 win over Nicholls Saturday evening in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Razorbacks scored touchdowns on their first five drives to open the game.
Arkansas’ 73 points are the most the Razorbacks have put up in the modern era. In 2003, Arkansas tallied 71 points at Kentucky in a seven overtime thriller.
The Razorbacks’ 56 points in the first half was a career-high for head coach Bret Bielema. Arkansas’ ten touchdowns ties for the second-most in school history.
“I’m very excited for the guys to come out and execute today,” said Bielema. “Our goal all week was to prepare with the intensity that we needed in all three phases of the game and play that way. I was excited with how our team came out and played on both sides of the ball, and a huge pat on the back for all of our guys for staying involved in the game.”
With an average of 12.7 yards per play (54 plays for 684 yards), the Razorback offense shattered the previous record of 10.76 yards per play set in 1947 against Northwestern (La.) State. Arkansas totaled 684 yards, the third-most in school history and most since the Razorbacks gained 713 yards against North Texas in 2007.
Arkansas’ proficient offense was led by sophomore running back Alex Collins, who punched in a game-high three touchdowns for the Razorbacks, while junior wide receiver Keon Hatcher recorded one rushing and one receiving touchdown for 132 total yards. Junior running back Jonathan Williams and Collins both rushed for over 100 yards, 143 and 131 respectively. The last time Arkansas boasted two 100-yard rushers was against Southern Mississippi in 2013 when Williams tallied 116 and Collins recorded 115. Eight different Razorbacks recorded touchdowns, including four different receivers, the most since 2012 against Kentucky.
Junior quarterback Brandon Allen collected a game-high four touchdown passes and was 4-of-5 for 117 yards. Allen shared time under center with his brother, redshirt freshman Austin Allen, whose first collegiate game was highlighted by a rushing touchdown and 72 passing yards.
On the other side of the ball, Arkansas’ defense was highlighted by senior linebacker Martrell Spaight who collected six tackles and a pass break-up. Sophomore Taiwan Johnson recorded a career-high 2.5 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss and three tackles. Sophomore cornerback D.J. Dean collected the first interception of his career in the third quarter and posted a 63-yard punt return for 94 total return yards.
After holding off Nicholls in the opening drive and forcing a Colonel punt, Arkansas embarked on a 63-point run that began with the opening play.
On the Razorbacks’ first drive, junior wide out Keon Hatcher took a reverse in the offense’s opening play and sprinted down the field 82 yards for a touchdown. The 15-second drive was the first time Arkansas has scored on an opening play since it hosted Kentucky in 2012.
In Arkansas’ next possession, Collins rolled in the Razorbacks’ second touchdown on the first play of a drive that lasted nine seconds. Collins’ second touchdown of the game came late in the first quarter on another drive-opening play and lasted six seconds, the shortest drive of the game.
In the second quarter, Williams tacked on Arkansas’ 49th point of the contest with a 90-yard scamper for a touchdown. The touchdown run tied for the third-longest in program history.
Sophomores Cody Hollister and Drew Morgan, and freshman Jared Cornelius collected their first career touchdown receptions.
The Razorbacks will next hit the road to take on Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on ABC/ESPN.
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