FAYETTEVILLE — Redshirt junior quarterback Jacolby Criswell made his Arkansas debut on Saturday in a 56-13 victory over Western Carolina.
Criswell, 6-foot-1, 230-pounds, transferred to Arkansas from North Carolina at midterm. The former Morrilton standout went to Chapel Hill out of high school when then-Arkansas coach Chad Morris made his son a priority.
On Saturday, Criswell was 2-of-2 passing for 28 yards including a 14-yard touchdown strike to true freshman wide receiver Davion Dozier. Sam Pittman took notice of Criswell’s play.
“Wasn’t that awesome,” Pittman said. ” Yeah, it was going to the left and that wasn’t an easy throw. He threw it to who, Dozier? That was so awesome. I mean the young kid being able to score a touchdown. But he threw a dart out there. Yeah, it’s huge for us to have two maybe three really, really good quarterbacks. Then, so I was real proud of him. And that’s building confidence and things of that nature.”
KJ Jefferson also heaped praise on Criswell following the game.
“Extremely proud,” Jefferson said. “I told him, once Coach (Dan) Enos told me I was done, I went over there to him and told him, ‘Just play your game. We’ve been prepping for it this whole week. They’re doing the same thing, so go out there, play off your instincts, trust yourself, have fun.’ That’s the main thing — having fun. Once I did see him go out there, he went 2 for 2 and a touchdown, so that’s a great stat. Just to have him go out there and build that confidence and knowing that he’s from Arkansas and it’s a big deal playing for the Razorbacks and for him to go out there and throw a touchdown was big for him. I was proud of him.”
At North Carolina, Criswell played in 14 games without a start. He completed 18-of-31 passes for 204 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Criswell rushed 20 times for 133 yards and a touchdown.
In three years at Morrilton, Criswell passed for 5,925 yards and 58 touchdowns. He also rushed for 2,568 yards and 41 touchdowns. As a senior, Criswell was named Arkansas’ Gatorade Player of the Year. He passed for 2,869 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,282 yardsd and 24 more touchdowns while leading Morrilton to an 8-5 record.