Arkansas 34, Louisiana 14

Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen throws for 220 yards and three touchdowns while sophomore Jonathan Williams rushes for 151 yards and freshman Alex Collins adds 131 more as the Razorbacks downed Louisiana 34-14 in their season opener before 69,801 fans in Fayetteville.

The Bret Bielema era opened in #1-0 style on Saturday with the balanced attack and ball-control offense the new head coach promised.

New starting quarterback Brandon Allen was 15-of-22 passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns, senior wideout Javontee Herndon caught two of those and Arkansas also had two rushers go over 100 yards each as the Razorbacks downed the University of Louisiana 34-14 before 69,801 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Bielema, who arrived from Wisconsin in December, has been tweeting #1-0 since he arrived and 522 yards of total offense and a defense that had four sacks, six quarterback hurries, an interception and a fumble forced and recovered made the victory possible.

"That is kind of the definition of how I like to play games," Bielema said as he ran his record to 8-0 in openers as a head coach. "In the second half to wear it down, get some turnovers and people just don't want to play for four quarters a lot of the time.

"I think our kids bought into it and I can't say enough about our coaches, the way they prepped them, and I think that was a very good football team there," Bielema added of Arkansas, who has won its last seven openers and 15 of the last 16. "Going back to last spring I started watching them on film and I was very impressed. They know how to win games and were within a touchdown of beating Florida a year ago."

Louisana head coach Mark Hudspeth admits that his team – which has gone 9-4 each of the last two seasons and won two straight New Orleans Bowls - was disappointed in the outcome and how it was physically dominated.

"I think they're disappointed because I think physically they felt like they matched up with (Arkansas) pretty good," Hudspeth said. "You've got to give Arkansas credit. They run right at you. They make you tackle them."

Sophomore tailback Jonathan Williams had a career-high 151 yards on 18 carries – including a 75-yard dash for a score - while herealded Razorback freshman tailback Alex Collins also topped the century mark with 131 yards on 21 totes.

"We've been calling them 'Thunder and Lightning all camp and I think that is a pretty good analogy," Hudspeth said. "One runs strong and is hard to tackle and other one is really fast and can break it, which we saw. I think they have a stable of backs. I think their personnel fits what Coach Bielema wants to do."

That made Collins the first true freshman to do that for Arkasnas since Felix Jones went for 137 against Missouri State back in 2005 while it was the first time since 2007 when Darren McFadden (321 yards) and Jones (163) did so against South Carolina.

"We want to get 22 (Nate Holmes) in there, too, because he is a nice change up to those guys," Bielema said. "What you guys saw today was what I have been seeing all fall camp. J-Will, nobody takes it more serious than him. He is a guy that is very gifted and is going to flourish in our type of system.

"Alex is obviously a guy that can change the game in a single cut, but on the edges there were some guys that were blocking very, very well," Bielema said. "I'm telling you, you throw on that field and (senior center) Travis Swanson is unbelievable on the pulls and some of those plays he was making. I am very excited about that dynamic and it is coming along."

The Razorbacks rushed for 292 yards (the high last season was 167 against Ole Miss) while passing for the 230 as Allen went the entire game in what was a dominant effort in time of possession with 37:12 to 22:48 advantage.

Interestingly enough, it was exactly 18:36 to 11:24 in both the first and second halves.

"It's great," Allen said of the running game. "Whenever you can run the ball at will like we did today, it really sets up the pass for you. I was really proud of the backs. It makes it easier on the passing game when they can do that and it is something that we have been working on all year."

True freshman Hunter Henry had five catches for 75 yards with one drop and one fumble while senior wideout Javontee Herndon had three catches for 72 yards with touchdown catches of 6 and 49 yards.

Henry's fumble was the lone turnover of the day for Arkansas, who had four penalties for 30 yards.

"We had a couple of guys that really grew today and I am glad it happened today," Bielema said. "Hunter Henry's fumble. My guess is those won't happen very much. He is going to grow and I don't think it is fair to justify for a freshman to come in and play as many reps as he did either. He was dragging pretty good. We wore him out and obviously we have got to be smart about that."

The high-flying Rajin' Cajun offense – which had seven starters back from a unit that set school records for points, first downs and total offense last season – was limited to just 274 yards total offense.

Louisiana quarterback Terrance Broadway had a few moments, but was contained for the most part while going 15-of-28 passing for 171 yards and rushing 13 times for a minus-one yard.

Arkansas junior defensive end Trey Flowers sacked Broadway twice, caused a fumble on another play that was not ruled a sack because the ball went forward. Fellow defensive end Chris added a sack – the 14th of his career.

The defense stymied Louisana for most of the day after its first two drive resulted in a missed field goal and a touchdown.

"I've always thought that with the defense, you've got to get hit in the head a couple of times," Bielema said. "You've got to get used to making the call, getting to the line in a hurry. Again that is a very good offense...Every one says the defense has an advantage (in the opener). I've never believed that even as a defensive coordinator."

Senior linebacker Jarrett Lake and junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel had seven tackles each to lead the Razorbacks while junior safety Alan Turner and senior middle linebacker Austin Jones both had six stops.

Lake and freshman defensive end Deatrich Wise combined on a sack while fellow rookie defensive end Jamichael Winston picked off a pass.

Arkansas scored on its first possession of the season – an impressive 11-play, 75-yard jaunt that lasted nearly seven minutes and was dominated by runs to the right side.

"It wasn't anything planned," Bielema said. "In general, we felt good about the match-ups on that side and it became the game plan as the game rolled on. We had more and more success to that side until the big bounce by J-Will."

Williams and Collins combined for 55 yards on the series while Allen was 3-for-3 and hit Herndon on a 6-yard toss for the touchdown.

Kicker Zach Hocker – who was questionable up until game time with a groin injury but would become the school's all-time leading scorer with 296 points by the end of the day – booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 8:24 left in the opening quarter.

He also recorded touchbacks on all five of his kickoffs during the game, but did give way to transfer Sam Irwin Hill to punt (2 boots for 41 yard average) in a game that featured two punters from Australia.

"Going back to last Friday we just felt like he (Hocker) wasn't right," Hocker said. "We rested him all this week and going into today wd didn't know if he was going to go. He is a tremendously tough kid. After that third kickoff went into the back of the end zone, I told him I would hate to see you when you are healthy."

Lousiana's Steph Brauchle missed a 27-yard field goal on the Rajin' Cajuns' first possession of the game, but the visitors dented the end zone on their second try to deadlock the game.

The big play was a 31-yard pass from Broadway to Elijah McGuire to the Arkansas 2 with Alonzo Harris cashing it in on the next play and Brauchle's PAT tying it at 7-7 with 13:58 left in the second quarter.

Allen tossed his second touchown – and third of his career – when he hooked up with Herndon on a beautiful 49 yard toss that combined with Hocker's PAT made it 14-7 with 11:30 showing in the second quarter.

Hocker would add field goals of 22 and 34 later in the quarterback with the second one coming after a drive that started at the Razorback 4 and took the last 2:02 before intermission off the clock. Allen and Henry hooked up three times on that drive.

"I wanted to see if we could get it off for the first down and I knew if we got to the 35 we would have a shot with Hocker to make a 52-yard field goal or better and that's how it panned out," Bielema said. "Obviously you got introduced to Hunter Henry there and he made a couple of nice catches. To convert those points at the end of the half, that's really, really big.

"I felt like we were playing beyond the game there and setting up some things down the road," Bielema added.

Arkansas would add Kiero Small's 10-yard TD catch from Allen and Williams' 75-yard dash in the third quarter sandwiched around an 11-yard TD pass from Broadway to Jacob Maxwell.

Small (3 catche for 25 yards and 4 carries for 7 yards) crushed Louisiana defensive back Corey Trim at the goal line and broke the defender's facemask.

"That was unbelievable would be one word," Bielema said of his powerful fullback. "He made the cutback to stay in bounds. I honestly thought going into today that he might be our most productive player and in a certain way he was. In critical downs, he made first downs. He made that touchdown all on will power. He is a very, very gifted player and he fits perfectly in our system."

Bielema is happy that he has Small around even if it took last season's season-ending injury for that to happen.

"I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason and I am so thankful he was injured a year ago because he is going to be an absolute stud for us in our offense," Bielema said.

Arkansas returns to action next Saturday night at 6 p.m. when it plays Samford (1-0) in Little Rock.

Javontee Herndon scored two touchdowns for the Hogs.

Jonathan Williams sets sail on a 75-yard touchdown run.

Keon Hatcher rolls with a first-half catch.

Freshman Alex Collins found room outside early and ended the day with 131 yards on 21 carries.

Javontee Herndon heads to the end zone to start a touchdown play.

Photos by Jason Ivester, Hawgs Illustrated

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