Hopes that John Stephen Jones or K.J. Jefferson would provide a spark to Arkansas offense quickly faded and the Hogs defense turned in its worst performance of the Chad Morris era as Western Kentucky totally embarrassed the Razorbacks 45-19 in front of a small crowd at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The game started pretty much like it had with Arkansas’ other two starting quarterbacks this season. After a holding penalty on the first play of the game the Razorbacks started in a hole. On 3rd and four Jones scrambled left and was picked off by Antwon Kincade at the Arkansas 42 after an off balanced throw.
It took the Hilltoppers nine plays to cover those 42 yards with Jacquez Sloan scoring on a 19 yard reverse and the Hogs were quickly in a 7-0 hole.
But Arkansas quickly bounced back. Four plays into the next possession Rakeem Boyd broke loose for a 76 yard touchdown, his longest of the season, and the score was tied.
But Western Kentucky methodically regained the lead. Storey directed a masterful drive 75 yard drive featuring three 3rd down conversions. He capped it with a nine-yard touchdown run and the score went to 14-7.
Arkansas promptly when three and out and the Hilltoppers were at it again, needing to go just 59 yards after a bad punt. That touchdown drive featured a pair of 4th down conversions. Storey made it 21-7 with a one-yard run.
Chad Morris stuck with Jones at quarterback and the Hogs went three and out again.
With the ball back Western Kentucky didn’t need a long drive to score this time. Just two plays in fact. Storey pass found a wide open Jahcour Pearson for 69 yards and a touchdown and the lead zoomed to 28-7.
Jefferson entered the game at that point. He managed a first down with his legs but a third down pass after that was off target and Arkansas served up its 4th punt of the half.
Arkansas didn’t stop Western Kentucky’s offense a single time in the half as Storey then took his guys 68 yards in 12 plays on a drive with three more 3rd down conversions and a 4th down conversion. Gaej Walker scored on a one yard run for a 35-7 halftime lead.
The visitors were a perfect 4-4 on 4th down conversions in the half but Arkansas finally got a stop on the Hilltoppers first possession of the second half. Unfortunately Arkansas’ offense remained the same as Jones returned at quarterback. He misfired on three passes and Arkansas punted again.
Western Kentucky drove the ball to the Arkansas one yard line but the Hogs defense stiffened again holding off the visitors on three straight plays forcing a 19 yard field goal for a 38-7 lead.
Jefferson reentered the game and appeared to throw a touchdown pass to Treylon Burks from the WKU 26 but the frustration continued as the play was wiped out by holding call on Myron Cunningham. The drive ended with no points as Jefferson missed Burks in the endzone on a 4th and 16 try.
The Hogs defense continued its bounce back forcing the Hilltoppers into another punt. Boyd responded by setting a second new career long run in the game, this one for 86 yards as he closed in on 1,000 yards rushing for the season. The score narrowed to 38-14 with the score.
But disaster struck again as Jefferson became the third Arkansas quarterback this season to give up a pick- six. The pass went off Burks hands and into the arms of Devon Key who returned the pick 25 yards for the score and a 45-13 lead.
Jefferson then led the Hogs on a 70 yard drive, the big play 29 yard run by T.J. Hammonds. Jefferson scored on a one-yard run. The try for two failed and the score was 45-19.
An onside kick attempt by Arkansas failed but Arkansas got the ball back after a fumble forced by Jalen Catalon and recovered by Micahh Smith and time ran out on Arkansas after a short drive.