FAYETTEVILLE — Hudson Clark was one of the catalysts for Arkansas in a 52-35 win over BYU on Saturday in Provo, Utah.
Clark finished with 11 tackles, four solo, one interception and a fumble recovery to help the Hogs break a three-game losing skid. Clark’s interception came with 2:22 remaining in the first half. It was his first interception since picking off three against Ole Miss in 2020.
“I think Keuan Parker, Trent Gordon, they did a huge job stepping up whenever we went three down having six DBs out there,” Clark said. “Just during the play, the quarterback kind of rolled out so all of the zone shifted left. So I just kind of drove on the out and it came right to me.”
Following your interception KJ Jefferson passed to Rashod Dubinion for a 15-yard touchdown to give you a 31-21 halftime lead. How did it feel to make your interception?
“It’s fine,” Clark said. “It’s kind of a relief getting one for the first time since 2020. I’ve had my hands on a few. Just coming down with it was big.”
Parker is a redshirt freshman cornerback from Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington. Clark liked how Parker stepped up on Saturday.
“I think he got in there and did exactly what he does in practice,” Clark said. “He goes out and balls every day in practice. He’s just been waiting on his opportunity,”
Earlier in the second quarter the Hogs defense had another huge play. BYU had a fourth-and-one play at its own 34 and leading 21-17. They opted to go for the first down but had a fumbled snap. Soon after that Jefferson found Matt Landers for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The Hogs took the lead 24-21 and never trailed again. Bumper Pool talked about that play and the Clark interception.
“Hudson’s pick might have been play of the game,” Pool said. “But that was so important for us. They came back and said it was fourth and short. The d-line, credit to them. We stemmed them inside, they went man-to-man, stuffed them, got the ball back, huge momentum shift.”
Clark also felt the fumble was the turning point in the game.
“Yeah, I would agree,” Clark said. “I think that fourth-and-1 really shifted the tide. Coming off the field quick was huge for our defense.”
After losses to Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State, Sam Pittman had said Saturday’s game was a must win. He got no argument from Clark on that.
“Like coach said, it was a must win early in the week,” Clark said. “Kind of saw the shift go from the coaches to us with holding each other accountable. And we saw that later in the game when adversity hit. They had some big plays, but we just bonded together, locked arms and went out and made plays.”
Arkansas will now get a bye week before heading to take on Auburn to close out a very difficult October portion of the schedule.
“Yeah, I think just being able to go in and next week, getting healthy like he said, being able to just come back together and realize, like, we got a long way to go, but we take one week at a time,” Clark said.
While the interception by Clark came earlier in the game he was also able to come up with a fumble recovery as BYU was driving in Arkansas territory in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Dwight McGlothern forced the fumble and Clark fell on it.
“I mean, Dwight made a heck of a play, and, you know, he was really excited about it on the sideline, hyping each other up,” Clark said. “But he was really the one that made the play, stripping it. I was there to fall on it.”
Clark was asked if he expected a shootout going into the BYU game?
“No, I don’t think we, going into it, we thought it’d be the high-scoring game of course,” Clark said. “Just kind of taking it where what happens to us, taking what’s in front of us, and going out every single play, focusing on one play at a time. I think that’s huge for our defense.”
Arkansas (4-3, 1-3) heads into the bye week with the same record they had at this time in 2021 when they went on to win nine games.