Arkansas 73, Nicholls 7

Arkansas rolled to a 56-0 halftime lead, went on to thrash over-matched Nicholls 73-7 and ended a program-long 10-game winning streak before an announced crowd of 63,108 fans Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Midway through the second quarter of Arkansas' 66-point victory Saturday, Nicholls punter Connor Fryoux was roughed by on-coming Razorback defender Tiquention Coleman.

It could arguably be said that he was the only Colonels player that hadn't been roughed up by the Razorbacks to that point and they were just getting him in on the act.

Seven different Arkansas players found the end zone as the home team ended a 10-game losing streak with a record-setting 73-7 hammering of its over-matched FCS foe before an announced crowd of 63,108 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"The locker room was just a steady crescendo," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said. "It was all business beforehand. There wasn't any clowning around. They knew they needed to come out and have a good mind frame. We changed some things up from a year ago and I think that we did everything the same way we did at Auburn.

"The post game? I have to work on that song, too," Bielema added of going over to sing in front of the students. "It was fun to go over there and dance with our guys and pay tribute to our students. Our students have been awesome since I have been here.

"But to get in there in the locker room and have that celebration was awesome," Bielema continued. "It was a lot of response."

He didn't downplay the significance of ending the school-record losing streak.

"It was nothing I enjoyed, it was nothing I like, it is nothing that I want to repeat again in my life," Bielema said. "But it is something we had to do. It is something that we earned. Now to feel the success of it, to taste that success, especially with young players I think is critical and that just builds confidence for you in the future."

NIcholls head coach Charlie Stubbs - a former Alabama assistant - knew his team was in for a beating as it lost its eighth straight game.

"They’re, of course, a very good team," Stubbs said. "There were so many mismatches out there unfortunately. We basically had no answer to some of the physical talent out there. I tried to prepare our kids the best I could.”

Arkansas travels to Texas Tech this week for a 2:30 p.m. game that will be televised by ABC.

The Red Raiders, who beat UCA 42-35 last week, defeated UTEP, 30-26, Saturday night.

"We want our home stadium to be an advantage," Bielema said. "I have been around other places in the past and you see places in our conference where there is a tremendous amount of pride from not only how the players play and how the fans show up. They have pride at Tech, too.

"Next time we come back here (Sept. 20 against Northern Illinois) will be against a team that isn't in the SEC, but has been to two straight BCS (bowl) games and we want this place to be live. Lot of that is going to be the attitude that we set next week on the road because if we have great fans here and they show up and be loud, then it is a pretty tough place to play".

It was the most points ever scored by Arkansas (1-1) at Razorback Stadium, tied for the third most in school history at any venue, the most since 1928 and certainly the most in the modern era and in Bielema's two years here.

The Razorbacks - who scored five touchdowns in their first 12 offensive snaps - had a 684-242 yard total offense advantage as they rushed for 495 yards and passed for 189.

"I think our offensive coaches and our players are just so much more in tune with opening it up and seeing our entire offense and knowing what to do," Bielema said.

Tailback Korliss Marshall might have had a field day, but he sat out with an injury as did defensive end Deatrich Wise, cornerback Tevin Mitchel and safeties DeAndre Coley and Sleepy McKinney.

"There are definitely things that we have got to correct," Bielema said. "There were some guys that we didn't know how much they were going to play on both sides - offense and defense - and guys we were going to limit based on the game flow and I think that was able to help us today to get preparation for Texas Tech starting tomorrow.

"From an injury standpoint, I think there was nobody significant (injured) during the game and that was a positive thing, but there were a lot of guys banged up from last week that we were going to be short with them and that was able to work out there today," Bielema added.

"Korliss obviously wasn't out there with us, but he'll be full go with us next week. We have no issues or concerns there."

Brandon Allen was 4-of-5 for 117 yards and tossed a career-high four touchdown passes while Alex Collins ran in a career-high three scores while racking up 131 yards and D.J Dean set up some scores as he returned four punts for 93 yards, including a 63-yarder.

Jonathan Williams had a 90-yard TD run (third longest in school history) while amassing 143 yards on four carries in the first half alone and Keon Hatcher's first two touches accounted for 142 yards and two scores.

Hatcher dropped a big pass at Auburn last week, but took a reverse and ran 82 yards on the Razorbacks' first offensive play of the game and then caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Allen later in the half.

"I was so excited for Keon," Bielema said. "I called him teacher's pet last year and he got mad. I don't need to give him kudos, but he just does everything we ask him to do. He works, he prepares, he's in it, he's conscientious. There will be so many times during the summer that I will pop in on Sunday or during the spring and he is here running routes on his own or working on footwork.

"To see him get rewarded today on the reverse and in the catching game and also back there on kickoff return, I know he was excited to get that opportunity as well. So to get a kid like that a chance was huge."

Allen completed touchdown passes of 22 yards to Drew Morgan, 7 to Cody Hollister, 50 to Hatcher and 38 to true freshman Jared Cornelius.

Those were the first scores for Morgan, Cornelius (2 catches, 51 yards) and Hollister.

"It was exciting of course," Cornelius said. "It feels good to start a win streak. You could tell that everyone was excited in the locker room."

Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Allen - Brandon's younger brother - saw the first action of his college career and was 4-of-9 passing for 72 yards passing with one interception and he also had a touchdown run.

Austin Allen was at the helm of a drive that ended with John Henson's 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter that pushed it to 66-7 with 14:08 left in the game.

The younger Allen also notched his first career touchdown with a 5-yard run that combined with Lane Saling's first-ever PAT pushed it to 73-7 with 3:33 remaining.

"It was nice to have an athletic quarterback in there to change the pace," Bielema said. "Austin did a nice job at making some decisions at the line. It was the first time he has played in two years and to play as well as he did in his hometown in front of a lot of people who know him is huge. I thought he did some good things; it was good to see him get some in-game experience and it’s important to get your No. 2 quarterback the amount of reps that Austin got today.”

The Colonels avoided the shutout with 9:15 left in the third quarter when Kennan Canty hauled in a 10-yard scoring pass from Kale Henderson.

Nicholls is now 3-22 since 2000 against FBS schools with a 27-23 win over Western Michigan and losses to Oregon (66-3) and Louisiana-Lafayette (70-) last season and then a 44-16 loss to Air Force last week to open the 2014 campaign.

Eleven true scholarship freshmen have now played in the first two games this season, including safety Josh Liddell. He had significant snaps at both free and strong safety on Saturday.

"I think we have played 11 true freshmen that have played and there is a possibility of one more," Bielema said.

There were also plenty of other newcomers seeing action for the first time such as redshirt freshman Damon Mitchell, a former quarterback.

Mitchell, nicknamed Duwop, had 3 carries for 36 yards while lining up at tailback.

"I thought it was fun to get Duwop in there and let him get some perimeter runs," Bielema said. "He is a very gifted athlete and a guy that we hope we can now continue to work in our program."

He also liked what he saw out of offensive linemen Cameron Jefferson (6-6, 300) - who actually wore 89 and lined up at tight end on Saturday - and Sebastian Tretola.

"I think he (Jefferson) could start for us (on the offensive line), but we put him at that big tight end and we put him at fullback," Bielema said. "He is so gifted, so athletic and he does everything right.

"Sebastian has dropped about 25 pounds and he is going to continue to give us depth. Those two in addition to Frank Ragnow coming in have been great." Arkansas is still hoping to redshirt true freshman offensive lineman Brain Wallace.

"We are going to try and hole Brian Wallace now," Bielema said. "We are not disappointed at all. I think his mom had a great line - we are preserving his redshirt, preserving his ability to play because we think he can be something special in a short fashion."

Senior linebacker Martrell Spaight had a team-leading six tackles on a day when 31 different Razorbacks had at least one tackle, interception or quarterback hurry.

Taiwan Johnson had 2.5 of Arkansas' six sacks and three of the 10 stops for lost yardage.

There were also five passes broken up and five quarterback hurries for the Razorbacks in the game.

There were 14 different Arkansas offensive players who threw a pass, caught a pass or had a run during the game with many of them being either freshman or sophomores.

“First thing we take from today is that we executed and it led to success," Bielema said. "Sometimes when you have repeated failures, you have to have these types of games to break that and teach our young kids that if you execute like we teach you, you can succeed and win.”

Tevin Beanum rushes the quarterback.

Jonathan Williams rolls 90 yards for a TD.

Drew Morgan turns for the goal line on a TD catch.

Keon Hatcher sails 50 yards for a TD after a Brandon Allen pass.

Taiwan Johnson closes in on a sack.

Trey Flowers sheds a blocker.

Damon Mitchell turns the corner.

Freshman Kendrick Edwards churns for yardage after his first catch.

D. J. Dean had a 63-yard punt return and a pass interception.

Brandon Allen scans the field.

Grady Ollison, converted from the O-line, records a sack.

Austin Allen got his first game time as a Razorback.

Photos by Jason Ivester

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