Wilson toyed with Kentucky's first-year defensive backs to the tune of five touchdown passes before retiring just ahead of the night's second lightning storm. The fifth-year senior quarterback helped the Hogs to four touchdowns in the first quarter, including wheel-routes throws of 74 and 77 to freshman Williams.
All that was really needed was a look at the Kentucky depth chart. Six true freshmen were listed in the two deep at the four slots at cornerback and safety -- if the Hogs could put together their first antiseptic home performance.
"We knew they had freshmen," Wilson said. "We called an aggressive game plan and took some shots. Our plan was to go at them. If it wasn't there, the coaches told me to check it down."
Wilson, noting some frustration was "released," said it was "like old times" the way the offense executed. He said, "We had a lot of play action, bootlegs and then that helped our running game gash them. We had it all tonight."
Indeed, the Hogs had it all working and didn't commit a turnover on the way to a 28-0 lead after one quarter, 42-0 at halftime and by 49-0 after Wilson engineered a 10-play, 75-yard march to open the third quarter.
Kentucky opened with three freshman defensive backs and a true freshman at quarterback. None played well. Jalen Whitlow made one play in the first half -- a screen pass to erase third-and-10 on the second UK possession -- against a UA blitz that had him unloading early and off target.
Arkansas safety Ross Rasner sacked Whitlow on his first third down try and the UK quarterback was only 1 of 7 passing in the first half.
Arkansas entered as an 18-point favorite. And that looked silly low even before the first quarter ended.
The only question by then -- after the first of two rain storms hit Reynolds Razorback Stadium -- was whether or not Frank Broyles Field would be flooded. It was by 10 p.m., when both teams had retired to the locker room for the third time -- twice because of lightning and once for intermission.
The Hogs entered with defensive question marks, but the Wildcats didn't threaten until Whitlow -- relieved by Morgan Newton for three possessions -- returned to find La'Rod King with a rare strike along the UK sideline. King sidestepped UA safety Rohan Gaines and set sail on a 61-yard scoring play.
That was the only thing Arkansas coach John L. Smith -- proudly clutching the game ball -- didn't like about the performance. He also said it was "like old times tonight" and praised coaches and players for remaining focused after the 1-4 start with back-to-back victories.
Smith said there was little question about where to go early with the passing game. It was at those freshmen in the UK secondary.
"That was it," he said. "We thought we could exploit them. And Tyler did a good job with it. He's probably kicking himself that he didn't get a few more, too, and we'll kick him a little when we show it to him."
Smith, who had an appearance in bankruptcy court Friday, couldn't remember his last game ball. He said Wilson presented it to him in front of the squad afterwards.
"I'm proud of it," Smith said, who battled the Wildcats during his days as Louisville coach. "It's a special game to me because of who we played. It was a big, big day for me and our team.
"It's never bad when you win, but when it's against a certain program it sure is nice. It was like that back at Idaho when we played Boise and then for those Louisville-Kentucky games. Tonight was special that way again."
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino was part of the UK series at Louisville. But he said it wouldn't matter who it was Friday night.
"Really, it was a great night for Coach Smith -- I think he was real surprised -- and we were happy for him, but, honestly, it was about the win and how we played," Petrino said. "It did seem like old times. We prepared really hard. And then we came out and executed all the things we prepared.
"Sometimes you work hard and scheme it up and you don't get the execution. Sometimes you just don't make the plays. Tyler played well tonight, but he had a lot of guys making plays for him tonight."
Defensively,the Hogs allowed just 170 yards -- most on the late TD play. The best UK play was the punt. Landon Foster booted it eight times for a 48.4 average.
Since the Wildcats snapped it only 40 times, there were not a lot of tackles for the Hogs to make. The defensive chart showed just 15 solos, 45 counting assists. True freshman A. J. Turner and senior Terrell Williams were among four players with five total. Turner led with three solos.
"He's like all freshmen, he made a few mistakes," Smith said of Turner, who made his first start at inside linebacker. "But it's so doggone satisfying to see them improve. He's not the only one who is improving. He made some big, big tackles, but he's going to get so much better like so many of them."
Rasner said he saw at least a few of Turner's hits.
"Sometimes you don't see much because you are doing your job," Rasner said. "But there was one play that I had outside leverage with him inside of me and I was coming. I saw that one. He blew up that running back. That was some hit."
It went mostly like it was scripted, including that first play TD pass to Williams. Wilson said the Wildcats gave them the front that was expected and matched up the way the Hogs hoped.
"We worked on that play all week and thought it might be good," Wilson said. "We got the defensive end on Jonathan and that's a one-on-one."
UK senior end Jonathan Wyndham fell down trying to stay with Williams, then the freshman running back made everyone else look bad with a nifty cutback.
"I like our odds with that," Wilson said. "We knew we had the matchup we liked."
Petrino said it was a matter of running it exactly like they'd practiced all week.
"He did it the same way in practice, a similar cutback," Petrino said. "If you do it practice, you should be able to do it in the game. That's what we always talk about, take it to the game field. He showed up early this week in practice. We were using him a lot like we've used Ronnie Wingo."
Wingo sat out with a shoulder injury sustained last week at Auburn. The Hogs also rested defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones, struggling with sore knees.
"We talked to him about resting him," Smith said. "Dede (Jones) had been digressing with his legs. We want to try to get him fresh."
The Hogs will have an open date to get more bodies well, including tight end Chris Gragg. He sat out for the third straight week and is expected to play in two weeks against Ole Miss, after an open date.
Smith said a decision was made to pull a redshirt on freshman wide receiver D'Arthur Cowan. Safety Defonta Lowe also showed up on special teams, an area where he played early this season.
"We just don't have enough guys," Smith said. "We have some regulars playing on too many special teams. You can play on one, but not every one.
"Cowan has tremendous explosion. We wanted to get him in last week in certain packages and we didn't do it. We talked to him about it last week and he said he wanted to play."
Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said the goals have been the same all year, but it's just taken time for everything to fall in place.
"They (the defense) have been playing well the last couple of weeks," Haynes said. "They're starting to realize what it takes to play good defense. We challenge them every week to stop the run and they did that. That puts offenses in certain situations and it was good to see that we did that two weeks in a row.
Did Haynes make changes?
"We basically, just nailed down our calls," he said. "Let's just make sure we're sound and we don't give up big plays at the end."
What took so long to click?
"I don't have an answer for that," Haynes said. "It just took some time and guys have to realize that. When you're in a new system, you get into a new system, you have to take learn our expectations and what we want out of you. But our guys are really buying into it."