FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A 35-point first half coupled with a stifling defensive performance led Arkansas to a 42-3 commanding win over Texas State Saturday night in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas (3-0) wins its third-straight game to open the season and is a winner in nine of its last 10 games. It is the second 3-0 start under head coach Bret Bielema and seventh 3-0 start to a season since 1998.
Quarterback Austin Allen threw for a career-high 241 yards on 16-of-21 passing with two touchdowns. Allen spread the ball around to seven different receivers, finding Keon Hatcher and Jeremy Sprinkle for the two scores through the air.
Running back Rawleigh Williams led all players with 121 yards on 19 carries, scoring twice. Freshman Devwah Whaley saw his largest output of his young Razorback career with 11 carries for 50 yards.
As for the defense, senior Brooks Ellis led the way with seven tackles, one for a loss. It’s the second-straight game Ellis has led the team in tackles and fourth in the last five games going back to last season.
It was a complete defensive effort Saturday night as the Hogs held the Bobcats to only three points on 105 yards of offense, 26 in the first half. It was the lowest offensive output for an Arkansas opponent since the Hogs held Texas to only 59 yards in the 2014 Texas Bowl.
How It Went Down
The Razorbacks wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard on their first two drives, taking a 14-0 lead on the Bobcats with a nice balanced attack. Quarterback Austin Allen began his night a perfect 6-for-6 through the air with Keon Hatcher as his favorite target.
Hatcher caught the first touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Allen and seemed to have a second on a long 74-yard pass down the field, but it was called back after a review. The video replay showed that Hatcher’s knee was down just inches before the goal line after being tackled. Nonetheless, the 73-yard passing play was Arkansas’ longest from scrimmage this season and career-longs for Hatcher and Allen.
Senior running back Kody Walked finished the drive with his 14th career touchdown run by powering through the line into the end zone.
As efficient as the offense was in the first half, the defense held Texas State’s offense to just 26 yards and one first down. It was the best defensive effort by the Razorbacks in a single half since holding Texas to eight yards in the second half of the 2014 Texas Bowl.
Senior defensive end Deatrich Wise came up with his third-straight game with a half sack or more and later in the second quarter, Ryan Pulley returned an interception for six points. Following the likes of Brooks Ellis last week. Pulley hauled in the second interception of his career and gave Arkansas a commanding 21-0 lead.
Arkansas made it 28-0 when Allen found tight end Jeremy Sprinkle for the 10-yard score during its next possession. For Sprinkle, it was his 10th career touchdown reception and tied him with D.J. Williams for first all-time among all Razorback tight ends.
The Hogs finished the scoring barrage after Rawleigh Williams got in on the fun with a one-yard score to take a 35-0 lead into halftime. On the last drive, Arkansas was able to go 93 yards in just eight plays, its longest scoring drive of the year and longest since 2013.
Williams scored the only points for the Razorbacks in the second half on a 15-yard touchdown run to make it 42-3 late in the third quarter. It was the final margin in the game as the fourth quarter was cut to 10 minutes due to impending weather in the area.
-Arkansas has scored 40 or more points in eight of the last 10 games.
-The Razorback defense has an interception returned for a touchdown in two straight games. The last time Arkansas had multiple interceptions returned for touchdowns in the same season was in 2009.
-Arkansas has held 15 of its last 16 opponents below their season rushing average dating back to 2015. Texas State averaged 106 rushing yards and was held to 22 yards on 26 carries.
-With his two touchdown passes against Texas State, QB Austin Allen has now thrown multiple touchdown passes in each of his first three starts.
-RB Rawleigh Williams III rushed for two scores, his first career game with multiple rushing touchdowns and the first by a Razorback this season.
-With a 10-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, TE Jeremy Sprinkle is the first player since Marcus Monk in 2005 to have a touchdown reception in each of the first three games to start the season. He is the only TE in the SEC and one of two in the nation with a touchdown reception in each of the first three weeks (Toledo’s Michael Roberts).
-With a 0.5 sack in the first quarter, DE Deatrich Wise, Jr. has recorded a half-sack in all three games this season and now has 9.0 sacks in his last eight games.
The Razorbacks travel to Arlington, Texas to take on No. 17 Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic. The game is set to be played at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.
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