FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas treated a rowdy sellout crowd with a thorough beatdown of No. 15 Texas on Saturday.
The outcome was never really in doubt, as the Razorbacks scored the game’s first 16 points and didn’t let the Longhorns get back into it en route to a dominant 40-21 victory inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
It’s just the fourth time – in 19 tries – Arkansas has beaten Texas in Fayetteville, but it is now 4-2 against the Longhorns since leaving the Southwest Conference following the 1991 season. The fans responded by storming the field.
The Razorbacks piled up 333 yards on the ground, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt, with five different players rushing for at least 40 yards. Trelon Smith, AJ Green, Raheim “Rocket” Sanders and Dominique Johnson each scored touchdowns, as well.
On the other side of the ball, meanwhile, Arkansas contained Texas All-American running back Bijan Robinson to the tune of 69 yards on 19 carries. He came into the game with a career 7.6-yard average, but managed just 3.6 on Saturday.
After the two teams exchanged a pair of punts to start the game, Arkansas finally put together a drive that featured Jefferson runs of 15 and 12 yards for third- and fourth-down conversions, respectively. It stalled inside the 10, though, so the Razorbacks had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Cam Little.
Texas responded by finally moving the ball itself, but a sack by John Ridgeway and a delay of game penalty put it in a third-and-long situation. For a moment, the Longhorns looked like they’d convert, but Hudson Card’s pass sailed over an open Jordan Whittington in the end zone. They were forced to try a 52-yard field goal and Cameron Dicker’s attempt – after a timeout – was wide right.
The Razorbacks capitalized on the miss, marching 66 yards on seven plays for the game’s first touchdown. The drive started with a 22-yard run by Smith and was capped by a tough 5-yard run by Johnson, who carried a defender into the end zone to make it 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Arkansas forced another two three-and-outs – something it did on four of Texas’ first five possessions – and turned each of them into points, with Little booting 24- and 44-yard field goals to make it 16-0 in the first half.
The latter of those kicks was set up by a 34-yard run by Jefferson and actually grazed the upright before going through for the longest kick of Little’s young career.
The second half started with much of the same by Arkansas’ defense, as it forced another three-and-out immediately after halftime. However, Jefferson was intercepted by B.J. Foster on the Razorbacks’ first play.
That gave the Longhorns the ball at the 26 and they capitalized on the short field. After converting a third-and-5, Robinson punched it in from 1 yard out to pull Texas within 16-7 early in the third quarter.
Arkansas responded with an impressive drive, with Jefferson hitting Tyson Morris for a 45-yard gain. Johnson did a nice job picking up the blitz on the play and was rewarded with the next two carries, which he took for 19 and 12 yards.
Two plays later, Smith jumped over the pile and landed in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, capping a 6-play, 81-yard drive that took less than two minutes off the clock and pushed the Razorbacks’ lead to 23-7.
On its next possession, Texas avoided another three-and-out, but – after being stopped on third-and-4 – turned the ball over on downs when Robinson was stuffed on fourth down.
The Razorbacks couldn’t land the knock out blow, though, as their drive stalled out inside the 5. Instead, Little’s fourth field goal of the game – a 22-yarder – made it 26-7 late in the third.
That just delayed the haymaker. On the Longhorns’ next play, Zach Williams knocked the ball out of Card’s hand from behind and Greg Brooks Jr. scooped it up. Arkansas needed one play to find the end zone, with Raheim “Rocket” Sanders scoring on a 26-yard run.
Texas managed to respond with backup quarterback Casey Thompson in the game, but not without the help of a roughing the passer penalty on Tre Williams that erased what would have been a third-down stop. Thompson ended up scoring on a 5-yard keeper.
However, Arkansas answered with a 75-yard drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown run by Green. That pushed its lead back to 26, making it 40-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Razorbacks nearly staged a goal line stand late in the fourth quarter, but Thompson barely got in on a 2-yard run to make the final score of 40-21.
After an unsuccessful onside kick by the Longhorns, Arkansas ran out the clock with a few knees despite getting inside the red zone.
Arkansas will be back in Reynolds Razorback Stadium next week to play Georgia Southern. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT Saturday and will be televised on the SEC Network.