Sun September 17, 2023

By Lance Hawley

Hogs Fall to BYU
By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE -- It appeared Arkansas might have an easy time of it against BYU as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 11:29 left in the first quarter, but then 14 penalties and two turnovers later the Hogs fell 38-31 before 74,821 fans in Razorback Stadium.

Sam Pittman was quick to credit BYU, but also knew his team made too many mistakes to win the game.

"I want to give BYU credit," Pittman said. "We knew they were going to have a team who played extremely hard, and they certainly did. They took care of the ball a little bit better than us and they certainly did in the penalty area. I want to give them credit. They played a good football game. We've got a lot of things to clean up. They exposed us a little bit with their pass rush. Not necessarily bringing extras, just with their ends. Certainly, the penalties, we've got to get a handle on that."

Arkansas got the ball first and on a second-and-7 play at its own 45 KJ Jefferson handed to running back AJ Green who sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown. Green had three carries for 63 yards on the drive and only got six carries the remainder of the game. Green was asked afterward if he felt he could have carried the ball more?

"I definitely did, but I mean, we just had other looks and the defense was playing great on the run," Green said. "We just had other plans. I mean, we didn’t really think about just running the ball. We were just trying to get down and score at that point. So that really wasn’t anything that was running through my mind. I just wish we went down there and won the game."

After Arkansas held BYU on its first possession, Isaiah Sategna returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown. That put the Hogs up 14-0. But Arkansas had 14 penalties for 125 yards.

"It was tough for our offense because once we were getting momentum and getting our tempo and playing fast like we usually do, then a penalty would stop our momentum and we’d have to slow everything down just to get set back up and move the ball back," Green said. "That just kills our momentum, like I said. When we’re able to just run the ball and get down, run the next play, throw the ball out, get down, run the next play, it kills teams because they never have enough time to get set up and know what’s coming and be prepared for it."

The Razorbacks had 424 yards of total offense compared to 281 for BYU. However, in addition to the penalties, Arkansas was only 2-of-13 on third-down conversions.

"Some of it had to do with distance, some of them had to do with percentage of getting -- we were losing first down, so we were behind the sticks, you know," Pittman said. "Obviously, there was a few drops, then we had some pressure. The pressure that BYU gave us tonight was really probably the difference in the game as far as playing the game. I just thought they were all over us. It wasn't necessarily a blitz fest, but I think that affected us big-time on third down."

BYU scored the next 21 points with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter. Then Jefferson found tight end Luke Hasz for a 19-yard touchdown with 1:43 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 21.

But Arkansas wasn't finished, Dwight McGlothern forced a fumble and Hudson Clark fell on it at the BYU 26. The officials called an unsportsmanlike penalty on Arkansas claiming the players were trying to go into the stands. That pushed the ball back to the BYU 41. Arkansas had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Cam Little to take a 24-21 lead into halftime.

Arkansas forced a three-and-out on BYU to start the second half. Arkansas went 53 yards in four plays with Green covering the final seven for a 31-21 lead.

The Hogs then forced another BYU punt. The Hogs appeared to have a first down at midfield, but a review showed that Jefferson's pass to Isaac TeSlaa came up a few inches short. Arkansas went for it and Rashod Dubinion was stopped for no gain. BYU took momentum and scored the final 17 points to take the win. Pittman was asked about the momentum after that?

"I really don't know. It's hard to say because I guess we could say all the points after that came because of that play. I know three of them came off of that play. I don't know that the other 14 did. I mean, I don't know. Who's to know? I know three of them did."

"I really don't know," Pittman said. "It's hard to say because I guess we could say all the points after that came because of that play. I know three of them came off of that play. I don't know that the other 14 did. I mean, I don't know. Who's to know? I know three of them did."

Arkansas had one final drive to try and tie the game or even possibly win it if they opted to go for a two-point conversion and make it. However, the Hogs had five penalties on the final drive with the majority of them holding by offensive linemen.

"They were holding," Pittman said. "They were all holding penalties. Well, no they wasn't. One was offsides on one as well. The rest of them were holding penalties. You know, when (Andrew) Chamblee went down we moved Brady (Latham) out to tackle. Well, we moved Chamblee over to begin with because (Patrick) Kutas had gotten hurt. Then Chamblee went down. Kutas came back out there. But we just weren't moving our feet. We were getting on edge. They bulled us a lot of the game. Then when you set for the bull sometimes you're susceptible to the inside move and that's what happened. We were holding."

Jefferson was 24-of-35 passing for 247 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Green led the Hogs with nine carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Andrew Armstrong had nine receptions for 98 yards. Hasz caught four passes for 78 yards and the touchdown. Jaheim Thomas led the Hogs with nine tackles including a quarterback hurry. Chris "Pooh" Paul was next with seven tackles including 1.5 for loss.

Arkansas will now head to LSU for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPN Saturday night. Both teams enter the game with 2-1 records. 

Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Sports Action