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Razorbacks Win Season Opener 34-14 Over Ragin’ Cajuns

Coach Bret Bielema now has an 8-0 record in season openers.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR-- (University of Arkansas Press Release)There were plenty of fireworks on display inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday, as Arkansas (1-0) found the end zone four times and compiled 522 yards of total offense to earn a 34-14 victory over Louisiana (0-1) in its season opener and first game under new head coach Bret Bielema.

“We were very excited,” Coach Bielema said, who with the win improved to 8-0 on his career in season openers. “I can’t say enough about the way our guys prepared. I can’t say enough about our coaches and the way that they prepped them. That was a very good football team right there.”

In what was a balanced offensive attack for the Razorbacks, the backfield tandem of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins more than held up their end on the ground. Williams rushed for 151 yards, while Collins added 130 yards of his own, as the two marked the first time since 2007 that Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in a game. Collins also became the first Razorback freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since Felix Jones in 2005.

In just his second career start, quarterback Brandon Allen was just as effective through the air for Arkansas, as the sophomore completed 15-of-22 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

“If you want to go to the quarterbacks store and find the demeanor and personality of what you want, he’s got it,” Coach Bielema said. “(I was) very impressed with his quarterback skills that have nothing to do with throwing the football.

“He’s got that demeanor and personality that I think makes championship quarterbacks.”

The Razorbacks outgained the Ragin’ Cajuns by 206 yards on the ground, totaling 292 rushing yards on the game. As a result, Arkansas dominated time-of-possession as well, holding the football 37 minutes, 33 seconds to Lousiana’s 22:27.

Scoring on the game’s opening drive, Arkansas was first on the board, driving 75 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a six-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Javontee Herndon.

It was the first of two touchdown catches in the first half for Herndon, who also hauled in a diving 49-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter. The senior receiver finished the day with 73 receiving yards on three receptions.

Louisiana’s lone score of the first half came early in the second quarter, as it drove 71 yards in 10 plays to score on a two-yard touchdown run by Alonzo Harris and cut Arkansas’ lead to 14-7.

Zach Hocker added a pair of field goals for Arkansas to close the first half of scoring, converting first from 22 yards out and later from 34 yards. With 10 points on the day, Hocker claimed the Arkansas career record for total points (297).

The second half was highlighted by the defense of Arkansas, which forced a pair of turnovers.

Trey Flowers came up with the first change of possession for the Razorback defense midway through the third quarter, stripping Louisiana quarterback Terrance Broadway of the football and forcing a fumble that teammate Byran Jones would recover. Flowers ended the day with 2.0 sacks, five tackles and one forced fumble.

The Razorback offense capitalized on the turnover, as Allen threw for his third touchdown on the day and found Kiero Small out of the backfield, who then tiptoed the sideline and barreled over defenders at the goal line to score and give Arkansas a 27-7 lead.

Williams responded to Louisiana’s final score of the game, taking a handoff on the first play of the drive for 75 yards and the score to give the Razorbacks the 34-14 lead.

The Razorbacks travel to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock next Saturday to face Samford at 6 p.m. on pay per view.

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