FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas football topped the Northern Illinois Huskies, 52-14, in Donald W. Reynolds Stadium, Saturday evening.
Arkansas’ (3-1) win snapped Northern Illinois’ (3-1) 17-game road winning-streak, the longest road run in the nation.
The Razorbacks scored a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams all in the first half. It marked the first time Arkansas has scored in all three phases of the game since Oct. 31, 2009, against Eastern Michigan when they scored via an interception return, a blocked punt and seven offensive touchdowns.
Lifted by junior quarterback Brandon Allen’s 199-yard passing performance, the Arkansas offense produced 427 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Keon Hatcher.
Sophomore running back Alex Collins led the team in rushing for the eighth time in his career with 79 yards, followed by junior running back Jonathan Williams who had 69 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Korliss Marshall tallied a career-high 137 all-purpose yards, propelled by a 97-yard game opening kickoff return.
On the other side of the ball, the Razorback defense held the Huskies to 303 total yards, well below their average output of 550.7 per game. The total marks the lowest total offensive output for Northern Illinois since it was held to 259 yards in the 2013 Orange Bowl. Senior defensive end Trey Flowers collected nine tackles, two for loss and a sack for a loss of 11 yards that forced a fumble. Sophomore corner back Jared Collins tallied six tackles and two breakups, while sophomore defensive tackle Darius Philon collected his first career touchdown after recovering a fumble and rumbling 14 yards to the end zone.
Marshall set the tone in the first moment of the game, returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. The last time Arkansas returned a game-opening kickoff was in 2009 when Dennis Johnson punched in a 91-yard score against Missouri State. The 97-yard scamper is Marshall’s longest career kickoff return and was his first trip to the end zone as a Razorback.
On the Huskies’ second possession of the game, Flowers broke through the line, forcing a fumble. Philon recovered the fumble 14 yards for a touchdown, the first touchdown off a fumble recovery since 2011 against LSU.
Following a Huskie three-and-out on their third possession, Williams punched in his seventh touchdown of the season. The Allen, Texas, native found the end zone from 15 yards out, completing a drive that spanned 69 yards, 12 plays and a time of 6:26. Williams has scored in all four contests this season.
In the final drive of the first half Allen shined, completing six of seven passes before scrambling and finding Jared Cornelius in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. In a drive that amassed 71 yards, 58 of them came out of the air, giving Allen 80 passing yards in the second quarter alone.
Arkansas closed the first half with a 28-7 lead. The Razorbacks have scored at least 21 points in the first two frames in all four games this season.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Allen took it on his own and scurried two yards into the end zone, widening the Razorbacks’ lead to 35-7. Allen has rushed in a score for two consecutive games.
With 9:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, Hatcher broke free from coverage to dive into the end zone for an over-the-head 44-yard toss from Allen. The drive lasted one play and nine seconds, the sixth time this season the Razorbacks’ have scored in less than 30 seconds.
To cap the Razorbacks scoring, Marshall took his second trip to the Northern Illinois end zone, marching in a score from 27 yards out. The drive spanned eight plays and 68 yards, making the final score, 52-14.
The Razorbacks will next travel to AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, to take on SEC foe Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic, Saturday, Sept. 27. The kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., and will be broadcasted on CBS Sports. Tickets for the classic can be purchased here.
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