Little Rock, Ark. – Defenses dominated the day as neither Arkansas nor Troy State broke the 150-yard barrier in offensive production, but it was the Razorbacks who came away with a 23-0 victory Saturday afternoon.The Razorbacks improved to 5-3 overall, while Troy State dropped to 3-7.
The shutout was the first for the Razorbacks since blanking Southwest Missouri State 38-0 in 2000. It also marked the first shutout of Troy State since Oct. 1, 1983, a span of 230 games.
Arkansas was limited to six first downs by the Trojans’ defense which is ranked ninth nationally. The Razorbacks had 125 yards of total offense with 65 yards coming from the rushing game and 60 through the air.
Quarterback Matt Jones led the Hogs with 22 yards rushing while Fred Talley ran 12 times for 20 yards. Talley’s streak of 100-yard rushing games was snapped at three.
Troy State finished with 142 yards of total offense with 95 yards coming via the ground game and 47 yards from the passing game.
DeWhitt Betterson led all rushers with 52 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Hansell Bearden finished 8-of-27 for 47 yards and two interceptions.
“I am really proud of our defense,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “They came to play today. This team (Troy State) has not been shut out in a long time and this is an accomplishment. We made too many mistakes offensively, but you have to give Troy State credit, they have a very good defense.”
Junior Bo Mosley set the Hogs up inside the Troy State 30-yard line after a blocked punt, but the Razorbacks were unable to take advantage of the field position and were forced to punt.
Punter Richie Butler pinned the Trojans inside the 15-yard line. Aided by a pair of penalties, the Razorbacks forced TSU to punt from inside its end zone.
Once again, the Arkansas special teams stepped up as Tom Crowder blocked the punt and Mosley recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. It was the third special teams score for the Hogs in the last two games.
Late in the second half, the Trojans fumbled inside their 35-yard line to put the Hogs in business. Following a Matt Jones scramble and a burst up the middle by Fred Talley, Arkansas was inside the TSU 10-yard line.
On a second and nine play, Jones hit George Wilson on a roll out for the Razorback touchdown. The extra point was no good to give the Hogs a 13-0 lead at halftime.
David Carlton gave the Razorbacks a 16-0 lead with a 27-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. The score capped a nine-play, 40-yard drive.
The Razorbacks were again in scoring position following another Troy State turnover. Ken Hamlin intercepted a Hansell Bearden pass and returned it 29 yards to the TSU 22-yard line.
Troy State’s defense tightened and pushed the Hogs out of field goal range.
The Razorbacks held a 16-0 lead late in the fourth quarter when Mosley returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown to give the Hogs a 23-0 lead. The touchdown was his second of the game and capped the scoring.
Arkansas returns to action next Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia. The game is slated for an 11:30 a.m. (CT) kickoff from Williams-Bryce Stadium. The game will be televised regionally by Jefferson Pilot.