By Drake Priddy
FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas falls to BYU 38-31 and will head into SEC play 2-1 on the season.
The Razorbacks had a chance to tie or win the game with a late drive with less than two minutes remaining, but penalties led to their ultimate demise.
During the last-ditch effort, Left tackle Andrew Chamblee had to exit the game due to injury, and starting left guard Brady Latham shifted over in his place. Starting right tackle Patrick Kutas was also injured but returned later in the game.
Unfortunately, the shift in positions caused the offensive line to commit five penalties, four of which were accepted. Head coach Sam Pittman believes the movement among the lineman led to the late penalties.
“They were holding,” said Pittman. “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 Chamblee went down we moved Brady out to tackle. Well, we moved Chamblee over to begin with because 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.”
Altogether, Arkansas received 14 penalties for 125 yards, 10 of those being on the offensive side of the ball. BYU’s defensive line proved to be a formidable opponent in the trenches. With that said the offensive line did look better but the Cougars did push them around at times.
Pittman credits the BYU defensive scheme and their aggressiveness for their success tonight in DWR Stadium. BYU did not bring anything new or surprising, they just executed on the defensive side of the ball.
“…There wasn’t any blitzes we weren’t ready for,” said Pittman. “It wasn’t a blitz-fest. They pounded gaps when we were trying to run the football. They just whipped us. That’s what happened on the edge. We started chipping them and all those things. Going into the game we didn’t really feel like we’d need to chip out there, but they proved that they were longer, stronger than what we anticipated on watching film-wise. They got after us.”
One of the more interesting questions from the game was the call to go for it on fourth and one on the 50-yard line after already allowing 281 yards.
“I mean, we were up 14-0 and they went on a 21-0 run in the first half, and I don’t think it was because we went for it on fourth down,” said Pittman. I mean, I think they were making third and longs and we couldn’t get them off the field. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t go for it on fourth down. Obviously, we didn’t make.”
Penalties were the Achilles heel of both the Arkansas offense and defense, but turnovers didn’t help the Razorback scoring cause. Arkansas quarterback redshirt senior K.J. Jefferson also through his first interception of the season after throwing 77 passes this season. He also had a fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Though the offense had two key turnovers they still put-up respectable numbers. Jefferson completed 24 of 35 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 13 times for 21 yards.
Junior running back A.J. Green led the Arkansas rushing attack with nine carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns. His longest run was 55-yards and was the fourth play of the game.
Freshman tight end Luke Hasz made his first collegiate score today and
tallied up four catches for 78 yards. Redshirt Senior Andrew Armstrong also had a good day. He grabbed nine receptions for 98 yards.
The Razorbacks will travel to Baton Rouge next weekend to take on the Tigers of the Louisiana State University (LSU) at 6 p.m. on ESPN.