FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team won 49-14 against Vanderbilt on Saturday, taking its fifth straight Homecoming game. The evening contest inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium was highlighted by standout quarterback Ryan Mallett’s record-breaking 409-yard passing performance. The Razorbacks totaled 555 yards of total offense, allowing a UA season-low 153 offensive yards to Vanderbilt. Arkansas improves to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt drops to 2-6 (1-4, SEC).
Head coach Bobby Petrino was happy with Razorbacks’ victory, noting the team came out and played like he expected.
"This was a good win for us today," Coach Petrino said. "We won it the way we should have. Overall, I was very pleased with how we played."
Mallett connected on 27-of-44 passes and tossed three touchdowns against the Commodores. Razorback wide receivers Greg Childs and Jarius Wright each notched 87 receiving yards, on five and six catches, respectively. Wright caught two Mallett touchdown throws in the second quarter for the first multiple-touchdown game of his career.
Coach Petrino noted that Mallett was dialed in during the week’s practices, helping result in his good performance.
"Ryan Mallett was focused all week," Coach Petrino said. "He came out today and really read the defense well and threw the ball well also."
Mallett’s 409 passing yards broke his own record of 408 set against Georgia last season. He also attempted a career-high 44 passes that ranks third on UA’s single-game chart. His Vanderbilt outing marks the fourth time in his career he’s passed for 400 or more yards. With his passing output, Mallett moved to second on Arkansas’ career passing yards list with 6,073 passing yards.
Razorback running back Knile Davis scored on two rushing plays and totaled 82 yards on the ground in the win. Ronnie Wingo Jr. added 52 rushing yards to Arkansas’ 138-yard team total in rushing.
The Razorback defense found the end zone for the final score of the game with Jerico Nelson snatching an interception and racing 39 yards past several Commodores to score at the 13:15 mark in the fourth quarter. Nelson finished as the team leader in tackles with seven and also added a pass breakup.
To start the second half, Russellville, Ark., native Zach Hocker added three more points to the Arkansas advantage with a 27-yard field goal to make the score 35-14. Before heading to the break, he hit a 26-yard attempt with 0:26 remaining to propel UA into the locker room.
The Mallett-Wright connection was alive in the second quarter, with the Razorback receiver grabbing touchdown throws twice from 15 yards out. In between Wright’s scores, the Razorback defense scored points of its own, notching a safety with 7:59 remaining in the first half. Junior linebacker Jerry Franklin sacked Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith in the end zone, stripping the ball in the process. Vanderbilt offensive lineman Wesley Johnson was able to recover the ball, but was downed in the end zone for the safety.
In total, Arkansas scored 26 points in the second quarter vs. Vanderbilt. The first-half total of 32 points is the most for any half this season for the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ 49 points in the game are the most in an SEC game under Coach Petrino.
Arkansas took the lead for good at the beginning of the second quarter with Davis rushing for the score on the ground from the two-yard line. Davis would score again from two yards out at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Vanderbilt found the end zone twice in the first quarter, with Jonathan Krause scoring on a 21-yard run and Smith connecting with tight end Brandon Barden on an eight-yard pass. The Commodores would fail to score again, surrendering 43 straight points to Arkansas.
D.J. Williams put the Razorbacks on the scoreboard first by grabbing a two-yard pass from Mallett with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter. The completion capped an eight-play, 78-yard drive. Williams was named the winner of the Crip Hall Award, given to the most valuable senior at UA’s Homecoming game. He finished with the game with four catches for 32 yards and the score.
The attendance inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium was 70,430.
Download: Arkansas-Vanderbilt Game Book.pdf