Courtesy: Arkansas Athletics
The University of Arkansas football team (3-1) suffered its first loss of the season, as Rutgers (3-1) scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to rally for a 28-24 win at High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday.
AJ Derby made his first collegiate start at quarterback for Arkansas, throwing for 137 yards and one touchdown, but it was Jonathan Williams who came up with the highlight play through the air for the Razorbacks. Taking the toss on a designed trick play, Williams set to throw and connected with Hunter Henry on a 21-yard touchdown reception, the first of Henry's career.
Javontee Herndon recorded the other Razorback offensive touchdown early in the third quarter, adjusting in the end zone and hauling in a 17-yard pass from Derby. It marked the third touchdown in four games this season for Herndon, who finished the day with two catches for 35 yards.
A spirited defensive effort from Arkansas helped the Razorbacks jump out to a 24-7 lead midway through the third quarter, but a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown from Janarion Grant toward the end of the third quarter sparked a Rutgers rally and comeback win.
The Razorback defense forced a total of three turnovers on the game--the most since forcing five against Auburn last season--highlighted by a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tevin Mitchel. The junior's pick-six score also marked the first defensive touchdown since 2011 for Arkansas.
Darius Philon made his presence felt on the Razorback defensive line, recording the first two sacks of his career in the first quarter. Chris Smith chimed in with one sack of his own and recovered a fumble that was forced by Trey Flowers. Jarrett Lake also recovered a fumble in the first quarter.
Arkansas' special teams negated an early Rutgers scoring opportunity, recording the program's first blocked field goal since 2012 after Dan Skipper deflected a Scarlet Knight attempt from 42 yards out in the first quarter. Zach Hocker also booted a 77-yard punt in the first quarter, the longest by a Razorback since 2002.
Arkansas returns home to Fayetteville where it will open Southeastern Conference play next weekend against Texas A&M at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Sept. 28. The game is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ESPN2/ESPNU.