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Arkansas handles Tennessee-Martin 63-28

3039 days ago
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Alex Collins ran for a career-high five touchdowns and Brandon Allen threw for 265 yards to help Arkansas overcome shoddy defense in a 63-28 win over FCS foe Tennessee-Martin on Saturday. 

Collins finished with 173 yards on 16 carries, while his five rushing touchdowns in a single game ties for second most in program history. Allen was sharp in three quarters of work, completing 14 of 19 passes and throwing two touchdown passes as the Razorbacks (4-4) racked up 591 yards of offense in their final nonconference outing of the season.

The outcome was never in doubt after Arkansas built a 21-0 lead, but the Razorbacks' defense struggled mightily as UT Martin gouged the Hogs for 519 yards of offense, including 263 in the first half. UT Martin quarterback Jarod Neal threw for 380 yards against a pass defense ranked No. 100 in the nation, but the Skyhawks couldn't catch up after early interceptions by Arkansas' Rohan Gaines and Brooks Ellis.

Arkansas' offense rolled, scoring touchdowns on nine of its first 11 drives against the overmatched Skyhawks, who lost 76-3 at Ole Miss to open their season in their only other game against an FBS school this year. Allen was sharp a week after tossing three touchdowns and making key plays with the game on the line in the Razorbacks' 54-46, four-overtime win over Auburn.

Without injured running backs Jonathan Williams and Rawleigh Williams, the latter of which underwent neck surgery after an injury sustained last week, Collins shouldered the load more than usual. His five-touchdown performance bested his previous career-high of three scores last year against Nicholls and was a touchdown shy of equaling Madre Hill's school record set in 1995 against South Carolina.

Collins' 2-yard run punctuated the opening drive of the game, then he added scoring runs of six and five yards early in the second quarter to make it 21-0 as the Arkansas defense ended UT Martin drives with interceptions.

Allen found Damon Mitchell wide open for a 49-yard score and Collins added a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but the Skyhawks matched the two scores with a pair of six-play drives that kept the Razorbacks guessing and cut the deficit to 35-14 at halftime.

UT Martin made it a game on the opening drive of the third quarter, mixing run and the pass effectively before Trent Garland's 1-yard touchdown run capped another long scoring drive to pull within 35-21.

In addition to Neal's 380 passing yards, the Skyhawks gashed Arkansas' run defense for much of the afternoon, running for 139 yards and averaging six yards per attempt against a Razorbacks' unit that struggled to defend in space.  

Arkansas finally put the game out of reach with three quick scores in the third quarter. Allen found junior speedster Dominique Reed for a 71-yard score and then scored on a 3-yard scramble to extend the lead to 49-21, before Collins added a 63-yard touchdown run late in the quarter on the starters' final drive.

Allen's younger brother, Austin, relieved him in the fourth quarter and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle on his first snap.