Phoenix Staff Reports
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen was able to placidly take a knee at the end of a 31-21 victory over Samford on Friday night, an ending that stood in contrast to two heartbreaking last-play losses in Little Rock last season.
Allen threw for two touchdowns on 9 of 17 passing for 125 yards. But the Arkansas running game was what allowed the Razorbacks (2-0) to overcome a third-quarter 21-17 lead by Samford (1-1).
Tailback Alex Collins rushed for 172 yards on 24 carries while Jonathan Williams added 126 yards on 17 carries. Each of the two freshmen scored touchdowns.
Fullback Kiero Small did his part blocking for Collins and Williams, but he also had a key first down with 2:01 to play that enabled the Razorbacks to run out the clock.
Williams scored on a 1-yard run to give Arkansas a 24-21 lead with 13:38 left in the fourth quarter. Collins put the game away with a 2-yard run on a drive in which he broke loose for 55 yards.
A year ago against Louisiana-Monroe, Allen made his unexpected debut after starter Tyler Wilson was hurt in the first half. Louisiana-Monroe went on to win in overtime and the loss set the tone for what turned into a 4-8 season under interim coach John L. Smith.
Allen showed his composure Saturday and would have had better numbers if not for a couple of drops as he had an interception-free night.
New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said after last week’s blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette that his young team wasn’t ready to beat Southeastern Conference opponents. It was all the Razorbacks could do to beat Samford on Saturday, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Samford QB Andy Summerlin threw for 117 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 28 passing. Tailback Fabian Truss finished with 103 yards on 16 carries. Summerlin hit Kelsey Pope three times for 29 yards as he spread the ball around to nine receivers. He threw to 10 players if counting a batted pass Summerlin caught on the rebound for 1-yard loss.
Samford moved the ball effectively for three quarters, but Arkansas outgained the Bulldogs 458-231 in total yards. Arkansas gained 333 yards on the ground to 114 for Samford.
Arkansas hurt itself with two lost fumbles and a couple of untimely penalties. Samford didn’t have a turnover.
TU wins at gun on field goal
Tulsa's Carl Salazar hit two field goals in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner from 34 yards out with no time left, lifting the Hurricane to a 30-27 win over Colorado State on Saturday.
Salazar's kick allowed Tulsa to rally from a 27-17 deficit entering the fourth quarter. Salazar missed two field goals in last week's opening loss to Bowling Green.
Trey Watts, who finished with 152 yards rushing, had a 45-yard run in the final 40 seconds that moved the Hurricane down to the Colorado State 20.
Quarterback Cody Green was 21-of-39 for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
But Tulsa’s offensive struggles continued to start the second half. The first play of the second half was a Je’Tarian Douglas run for a loss of 2 yards. The Hurricane went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
On the ensuing drive, TU was hit with a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. TU defensive end Brendon Todd’s fumble recovery on the Rams first drive seemed to spark the Hurricane offense. TU drove down the field and scored on a 31-yard field goal by Carl Salazar to cut the lead to 20-17. Those would be the only points for Tulsa in the third quarter.
Colorado State hit a field goal early in the second quarter and followed that with a touchdown pass to take the lead into halftime.
On third-and-long, Rams running back Chris Nwoke busted open a 56-yard run. That set up a 45-yard field goal by Jared Roberts to make the Colorado State lead 20-14.
On the following drive, TU went three-and-out after Colorado State defensive tackle Joe Kawulok recorded his first career sack.
The Hurricane finally started to move the ball in the final three minutes of the second quarter, but failed to get any points on the board after quarterback Cody Green threw an interception deep in Rams territory with 23 seconds left to play.