Junior quarterback Nick Starkel lead the Razorbacks past Colorado State breaking open a close game in the 4th quarter with a touchdown pass to Cheyenne O’Grady as the Hogs moved to 2-1 on the season.
The game started off with a bang as it didn’t take long for the Rams to show off their offense. Marvin Kinsey Jr. found a hole in the right side of the Hogs’ defense and raced 75 yards for a quick 7-0 CSU lead with the point after.
Arkansas, under a new starting quarterback, answered almost as quickly. Nick Starkel directed five-play, 75 yard drive capped by a 24 yard touchdown pass to Trey Knox and just like that the game was tied.
This time Arkansas’ defense responded with a three and out setting up Starkel again who took the offense 82 yards on 11 plays with Chase Harrell scoring on a 14 yard pass from Starkel. Arkansas had the lead at 14-7.
After the visitors went three and out again the Razorbacks took just three plays to cover the distance to the opposing goal line, this time mostly on the ground. Rakeem Boyd raced 55 yards for the Hogs’ third score of the first quarter for a 21-7 lead
But CSU refused to fold putting together a 75 yard drive fueled by two big plays on the ground and a 14 yard touchdown pass from Collin Hill to Warren Jackson closing the lead to 21-14. Arkansas got three of those points back when Connor Limpert connected on a 54 yard field goal after Starkel had been sacked on a 3rd and 7 from the CSU 36. At the end of the first quarter it was 24-14 Arkansas.
The visitors opened the 2nd quarter with a fumble recovered by Arkansas’ Busta Brown at the Rams’ 36 yard line. But the Hogs failed to take full advantage of the gift when head coach Chad Morris passed on 4th and 2 attempt at the Rams 2 yard line. Instead, Limpert came on for a 22 yard field goal and a 27-14 lead.
Hogs would give that turnover gift back when Starkel failed to connect on a hand off to Boyd at Arkansas’ 43. CSU would take full advantage of Arkansas’ mistake with Hill finding Warren Jackson for 19 yards to the Arkansas 1. Hill took the ball over on the next play and Arkansas’ lead narrowed to a touchdown at 27-20.
The rest of the quarter was a punting contest until the Rams closed the game to 24-27 with a 46 yard Cayden Camper field goal, his first as a college kicker.
Arkansas came out of the dressing room hot, marching 75 yards in 8 plays. Boyd capped the drive with a 4 yard touchdown run for a 34-24 lead. CSU came right back, driving the ball to the Arkansas 3 yard line before the Hogs defense forced a short field goal and the lead was again down to a touchdown at 34-27. However the visitors did lose Hill on the drive to a knee injury near midfield and he would not return.
That would not stop the Rams. After an Arkansas punt, backup quarterback Patrick O’Brien had all day to throw on a 3rd and 13 pass to Dante Wright which was good for 75 yards and a game-tying touchdown as the 3rd quarter came to a close.
But the final stanza belonged to Arkansas. With just under 9 minutes left in the game Whaley capped a 68 yard drive run with a 5 yard run for a 41-34 lead. Then, with under 6 minutes left, Starkel found O’Grady who broke free from a crowd of four tacklers and raced across the goal line on a 68 yard touchdown catch for a 48-34 pad.
Then the Hogs defense struck. O’Brien threw to Kinsey Jr. for a loss of 1. He coughed up the football and La Darrius Bishop pulled off a 25 yard scoop and score. Arkansas lead soared to 55-34 , the game’s final points.
Starkel was 20/35 passing for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns. Boyd ran for 122 yards at 6.1 yards per carry with 2 touchdowns. Whaley added 81 yards with a touchdown while averaging over 9 yards per clip. Arkansas piled up 520 yards of total offense to 425 for CSU.