Fayetteville, Ark.- Trailing by a point at halftime, the Kentucky Wildcats exploded for 20 points in the third quarter to come away with a 29-17 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday afternoon.Playing in a steady rain most of the afternoon, the Wildcats got a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Jared Lorenzen who threw for 253 yards and hit on 19-of-31 attempts.
“We had some chances today, but didn’t get it done,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We had some special teams breakdowns and that really hurt. We have not had that happen this season.
“We knew their quarterback was very talented and he showed that today. They did a good job of moving the ball. They are a good team, no doubt about it.”
The Wildcats finished with 332 yards of total offense. Aaron Boone had seven catches for 102 yards and one TD, while Derek Abney had four catches for 70 yards. Artose Pinner led the ‘Cats with 67 yards rushing on 26 carries.
Arkansas racked up 515 yards of total offense with 293 coming via the ground game. Fred Talley ran for 182 yards on 24 carries to lead all rushers. Talley moved into 8th-place on the all-time Arkansas rushing list with 2,088 yards.
Matt Jones threw for a career-best 210 yards, completing 15-of-25 passes. The 15 completions were also a career-high for Jones.
The Wildcats capitalized on their first possession of the game, driving 40 yards in nine plays to take a 3-0 lead on Taylor Begley’s 49-yard field goal.
Arkansas missed a chance to even the game on the ensuing possession when the Wildcats partially blocked a 51-yard field goal attempt by David Carlton.
The Razorbacks took a 7-3 lead one possession later after recovering a fumble at their 14-yard line. The Hogs needed just two plays to cover 86 yards as fullback Mark Pierce ran 34 yards to the end zone to give the Razorbacks the lead.
Arkansas extended its lead to 10-3 at the beginning of the second quarter on Carlton’s 26-yard field goal.
The Wildcats found the end zone just before halftime. Tommy Cook hauled in a four-yard pass from Jared Lorenzen to cap a 10-play, 51-yard drive. The Razorbacks, however, prevented the ‘Cats from tying the game when Pervis Osborne blocked the extra point attempt to preserve a 10-9 lead at intermission.
Kentucky grabbed the lead after intercepting a Matt Jones pass on the first play of the second half. Pinner ran in from 12-yards out to give the Wildcats a 16-10 lead.
The Wildcats extended their lead when Derek Abney returned a punt 86-yards for a touchdown. The PAT was no good to give Kentucky a 22-10.
The punt return was the first for a touchdown against the Razorbacks since Terry Fair of Tennessee returned one 86 yards for a score in 1996.
The Razorbacks narrowed the gap with eight minutes left in the third quarter when De’Arrius Howard scored from one-yard out to make it a 22-17 game. The score capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive.
Kentucky added to its lead after recovering a fumbled punt at the Arkansas 18-yard line. Lorenzen hit Boone on an 18-yard screen pass to push the lead to 29-17 with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team was able to score in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats held the Hogs at bay after two red zone opportunities. The Razorbacks were able to capitalize on just one of four chances inside the Kentucky 20-yard line in the second half.
Arkansas returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 19, against the Ole Miss Rebels. The game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.