Razorbacks Bounce ULM, 52-6

Robby Hampton threw four touchdown passes to lead Arkansas to a 52-6 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on a chilly Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Hampton's four TD passes tied the Arkansas record shared by Joe Ferguson, Ronnie South and Brad Taylor.

The Hogs parlayed Hampton's improved passing, solid defense and a winning kicking game performance for the easy victory. They improved to 4-1 on the season. Louisiana-Monroe is 1-5. The Hogs struggled with their running game until the game was out of reach. It was 38-6 when Brandon Holmes scored on a 39-yard draw at 1:43 of the third quarter to put them over 100 yards rushing for the first time.
The Hogs were without two starters in the offensive line for much of the night. Nathan Ball started for the injured Shannon Money (ankle) at left tackle. Right guard Kenny Sandlin, who injured a shoulder in practice, gave way for Scott Davenport after the third series. Sandlin was pulled for precautionary measures.
Arkansas travels to South Carolina next week for an 11:30 a.m. (CT) date with the Gamecocks and former UofA coach Lou Holtz. That game will be on Jefferson-Pilot television. South Carolina was 4-1 before traveling to Kentucky on Saturday.
The Hogs made one first down on their first possession, but had to punt after finding no running room up front, a trend that would continue.
That's when the defense stepped up. Sacha Lancaster hit Mark Henderson in the backfield, causing a fumble recovered by Quinton Caver at the ULM 44-yard line. It took the Hogs one play to convert. Hampton found Michael Snowden behind secondary on a crossing pattern. He delivered a bullet. Snowden hauled it in without breaking stride to gallop all the way for the 44-yard TD pass. It was 7-0 at 12:15 of the first quarter.
The Indians were three and out, but the Hogs caught the turnover bug at that point. Alvin Ray fumbled at the end of a nice run to give the Indians possession at the UofA 45. That possession ended when Caver and J.J. Jones threw Henderson for a 4-yard loss on a fourth-and-inches play at the 15-yard line.
But the Hogs gave it back on the next play. Backup tailback Brandon Holmes dropped the ball just after the handoff. ULM recovered at the UofA 17-yard line. They came up empty when Justin Mink's 29-yard field goal was wide right.
That's when the Boos returned, the cheers for UofA wide receiver Eddie "Boo" Williams. Double covered and virtually eliminated from the offense by Alabama and Georgia, the 6-5 Williams made the two big plays in a 11-play, 80-yard TD march.
Williams hooked in front of the ULM bench just past the first-down stakes on a third-and-10 play. He eluded the cornerback to ramble another 25 yards down the sideline for a 35-yard gain to the ULM 30-yard line. Then , on a third-and-3, Williams drove his man into the end zone then stopped to catch Hampton's strike on his back hip for a 7-yard TD play. It was 14-0 at 11:42 of the second quarter.
A 23-yard punt setup the next UofA points, Brennan O'Donohoe's first career field goal, a 22-yarder to make it 17-0 at 4:37 of the second quarter. The Hogs reached the ULM 3-yard line before Ray lost two and Hampton had to throw the ball away in the face of a rush. The Hogs did convert a fourth-and-two in the drive, but went for the field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
The defense got on the board next for the Hogs. Rover Corey Harris batted a screen pass that linebacker J.J. Jones picked off at the 14-yard line. He sidestepped ULM quarterback Andre Vige at the 8-yard line before stepping into the end zone for his first career TD. It was 24-0 with 4:09 left in the half.
The Hogs punted on their final possession of the night. They declined to try for a fourth-and-1 at the ULM 45-yard line. It was probably a wise decision. The Hogs made only 54 yards on their 20 first-half running plays.
The third quarter started in grand fashion for the reserves. With Carlos Hall in Virge's face, Corey Harris intercepted and returned 20 yards to the ULM 6-yard line. Hampton hit fullback Desmond Garcia in the flat. The old prep wide receiver turned the corner to complete the 6-yard TD pass to make it 31-0 at 13:59 of the third quarter.
That might have brought on the UofA backups, but the first team defense gave up a four-play, 78-yard touchdown march. Vige hit Tim Lyons for a 48-yard pass and run to the 11-yard line. Bryan Jacobs scored on the next play, busting a draw over right tackle. J.J. Jones broke up the 2-point pass to leave the score at 31-6.
Defense set up the next Arkansas points. A 22-yard punt, caught by a lunging Steadman Campbell, left the Hogs just 42 yards to cover. The Hogs couldn't run it, but Hampton's scrambling passes did the trick in solid fashion. Hampton scrambled to convert third and seven with a 9-yard strike to Gerald Howard. He scrambled for a back pedaling Richard Smith on third-and-9 for a 29-yard TD strike Smith hauled in while falling back in the middle of the end zone. It made the UofA lead 38-6 at 3:41 of the third.
Another short punt left the Hogs just 39 yards to cover. They did it in one play. Holmes took a handoff on the sprint draw. He ran through three arm tackles to roll 39 yards for the TD.
Jimmy Beasley blocked a punt to give the Hogs possession at the ULM 22-yard line. With Jared McBride at quarterback, the Hogs needed three plays to score. Holmes made 9 and 13 yards on consecutive carries over the left side behind Ball and La'Zerius White for the touchdown. It was 52-6 at 0:16 of the third and the game would end at that score.

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