FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas Razorbacks scored 42 points Saturday and took their time doing it.
So much time in fact that the great New Mexico State Aggies quarterback-receiver combo of Tyler Rogers and Jaleel Scott didn’t have nearly sufficient time to come back from an early 21-0 deficit.
Thus, the Razorbacks prevailed beating the Aggies, 42-24 before an alleged crowd of 70,727 announced as attending the 11 a.m. nonconference game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Coach Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks even their overall record at 2-2 before returning to SEC play in next Saturday’s 3 p.m. CDT SEC Network televised game at South Carolina.
Coach Doug Martin’s Aggies of the Sun Belt Conference drop to 2-3.
Included in its 41:35 over 18:25 time of possession, Arkansas mounted six touchdown drives consuming 3:59, the final 3:34 of the first quarter, 4:59, 4:17, 9:01 and 2:26.
Rogers and Scott couldn’t beat the Razorbacks and the clock though they sure tried. Rogers completed 23 of 38 for 344 yards and two touchdowns vs. one interception. Scott caught 9 for 174 yards including a 36-yard touchdown for the game’s final score with 12:47 left in the fourth quarter.
“I knew their offense was good,” Bielema said. “So we thought offensively to keep the ball in our hands and move the chains and make first downs and score in the red zone was really gonna be big.”
Arkansas’ defense made the Aggies one-dimensional limiting them to 23 yards net rushing.
Meanwhile the Razorbacks rolled for 230 on the ground led by running backs Devwah Whaley, 19 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown, and Chase Hayden, 12 carries for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns, balanced by quarterback Austin Allen completing 19 of 26 for 264 yards with three touchdowns vs. one interception.
Despite the dominance of Arkansas’ balanced offense and its defense against the run by the passing preponderance of Rogers and Scott playing pitch and catch, pass defense netted Arkansas’ play of the day.
Arkansas had taken a 7-0 first-quarter lead at 11:01 of the first quarter mounting a 9-play 80-yard drive including Allen completing a 16-yard pass to redshirt freshman receiver Jordan Jones of Smackover, four catches for an Arkansas leading 84 yards, and a 38-yard touchdown to sophomore Deon Stewart of Hardy (four catches for 71 yards).
Including 25 and 21-yard completion to OJ Clark, 6 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown, and Scott, Rogers’ passing gear soared the Aggies to the Arkansas 15 when Rogers looked for Scott in the end zone.
Redshirt freshman walk-on backup linebacker Grant Morgan of Greenwood looked for Scott, too. He deflected Rogers’ pass away from Scott and Arkansas senior captain and nickel back Kevin Richardson of Jacksonville, picked it off.
The Morgan to Richardson stole the Aggies’ momentum.
“It was big,” Bielema said. “Grant Morgan is just a really instinctive player that feels the game really well. He saw a vertical route and tipped that play. It was a big-time play.”
Arkansas junior receiver Jonathan Nance, 6 catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns, tallied his first TD on a 31-yard strike from Allen at for a 21-0 lead with 8:38 left in the half.
“It was a sight,” Allen said. “It’s a tradition he’s been a part of when it comes to winning, and he wanted to let us try it out. It was funny and hopefully a lot more wins come so we can keep seeing him do it.”