Hogs Hold Off Central Florida 27-20; Talley Ru
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Fayetteville, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks fought off a furious last minute rally to defeat the Central Florida Golden Knights 27-20 Saturday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Leading 27-13 with 4:32 left in the game, the Razorbacks seemed to have victory in hand, but the Golden Knights would not quite and battled back. UCF quarterback Ryan Schneider hooked up with receiver Luther Huggins on a 52-yard scoring strike with 3:35 left in the game to cut the Hogs’ lead to 27-20.
Central Florida kicked off to put the Razorbacks in play at the 15-yard line. After a pair of Fred Talley runs netted only four yards, quarterback Zak Clark was sacked on third down to force a punt with 1:47 remaining.
Schneider drove the Knights to the Razorbacks’ 16 yard line with 32 seconds left. After an incomplete pass on third down, the Knights were left with one play to tie the game. On fourth down, the Knights fumbled and Arkansas’ Ken Hamlin recovered to seal the victory.
“We knew in August when we saw Central Florida on the schedule that we had our work cut out for us,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “They go to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Syracuse; they are not intimidated by big stadiums or big crowds. This game might not have been pretty to some people, but it was sure pretty to me. This was a quality win. Arkansas improved to 6-3 overall with the victory, while Central Florida dropped to 5-5 on the season.
The Razorbacks put up 14 points in the third quarter to stake a 24-10 lead. Fred Talley broke open a tie game with a 38-yard touchdown run for the Hogs’ first score of the quarter. Leading 17-10, quarterback Zak Clark capped an eight-play, 57-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Richard Smith to make it a 24-10 game at the end of the third quarter.
Central Florida cut the lead to 24-13 with 9:18 left in the game on Javier Beorlegui’s 41-yard field goal. Arkansas answered with an 11-play, 46-yard scoring march that culminated in Brennan O’Donohoe’s 36-yard field goal to push the score to 27-13 and set up the dramatic finish.
For the game, Arkansas rushed for 238 yards led by Talley’s 189 yard effort. Talley also ran for two scores in helping the Hogs win their fifth consecutive game. Clark threw for 129 yards on 9-of-14 passing with one touchdown.
Arkansas was 7-of-15 on third down conversions and forced two crucial turnovers.
Central Florida amassed 369 yards of offense for the game, 304 coming through the air. Schneider connected on 22-of-44 passes with one TD and one interception. The Golden Knights were held to 65 yards rushing on 25 carries for the game.
In the first half, the Golden Knights took the opening kickoff 69 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead. Schneider sneaked in from one yard out to put the Knights on the board.
Arkansas narrowed the gap just before the end of the first quarter when Brennan O’Donohoe connected on a 24-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.
The Golden Knights appeared to be heading for another score midway through the second quarter when Arkansas safety Ken Hamlin intercepted Schneider’s pass at the goal line to end the scoring threat. Hamlin returned his third interception of the season to the 11 yard line to set the Hogs offense up.
From there, tailback Fred Talley broke through the Golden Knight defensive front and scampered 81 yards to put the Razorbacks up 10-7.
It was the longest run from scrimmage this year for the Hogs and Talley’s longest career run.
Central Florida tied the game just before halftime on a 21-yard field goal by Beorlegui with 3:55 left.
Arkansas will conclude its home schedule next Saturday against Southeastern Conference Western Division rival Mississippi State. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. start at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game will not be televised.
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