FAYETTEVILLE – A confident New Mexico State squad came into Saturday night's season-opening football game with the University of Arkansas saying they were not going to let Razorback senior quarterback Matt Jones use his legs to beat them as he did last season.
Jones didn't rush for 132 yards like he did back in 2003, but the Aggies didn't exactly slow Jones down or any of his teammates for that matter.
Jones was 13-of-16 passing for 195 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 38 yards and another score as Arkansas rolled up 42 first-half points en route to a 63-13 win before 70,114 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
He played just one series past in the second half in a game where eight different Razorbacks scored touchdowns, including freshman running back Peyton Hillis (9 carries, 32 yards) putting the first two scores of his career on the board.
Also scoring on the night were running backs De'Arrius Howard and Kyle Dickerson, wideouts Marcus Monk, Chris Baker and Cedric Washington and even defensive back Chris Houston, who got on the act when teammate Kevin Woods blocked a punt.
Arkansas was ahead 28-0 before New Mexico State even got its initial first down, an event that happened with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter.
Jones and 6-6 freshman wideout Monk completed the first half onslaught when Monk leaped over a smallish NMS defensive back to complete a 38-yard touchdown connection with 17 seconds left to send it Arkansas to intermission with a 42-7 lead.
The Razorbacks rolled to 548 yards total offense – 327 in the air – while the Aggies were limited to just 216, only four of which they were able to get in the first quarter.
After Arkansas' defense pushed NMS back three yards on the game's opening possession, the Razorback took their first series of the year into the end zone.
Jones was 5-of-6 passing for 35 yards on the drive, with three of those passes to Carlos Ousley, who had six catches to lead his team on the night.
The 12-play, 58-yard drive culminated with Hillis scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard run and Chris Balseiro's PAT making it 7-0 with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.
Arkansas made it 14-0 on its second possession with Jones' two yard dash capping a six-play, 52-yard drive with 3:34 left.
The lead grew to 21-0 on the Razorbacks' fourth series after senior defensive lineman Arrion Dixon caused and recovered a fumble.
Howard did the honors this time on a 7-yard touchdown run after which Balseiro was true again at the 12:50 mark of the second quarter.
Just 63 seconds later, Woods rushed through to block a punt and Houston took it the final yard for the easiest score of the night and a 28-0 lead.
Backup quarterback Robert Johnson (5-of-8, 132 yards, 2 touchdowns) then got in on the act with a 74-yard touchdown pass to Baker that he caught short and ran away from the defenders to make it 35-0 with 5:46 left before halftime.
New Mexico State avoided being shutout in the first half when starting quarterback Buck Pierce hit backup quarterback Paul Dombroksi with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 showing on the clock.
Monk's score got the lead back to 35 by halftime and Jones erase any doubt with his one series in the second half.
He hit Steven Harris on a 50-yard pass play on the second half's first snap and Hillis eventually bulled in from the one to send Arkansas ahead 49-7.
It was quickly 56-7 when Johnson hit Washington on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 9:22 left in the third quarter.
NMS got to within 56-13 in the third quarter on Pierce's 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Lawson, but Jeremy Harrell blocked the extra point attempt.
Arkansas then capped the scoring with Dickerson's 4-yard touchdown run with just five seconds left in the game.
The students call the Hogs early in the NMSU game.
Peyton Hillis scores against NMSU.
De'Arrius Howard powers for yardage.
Robert Johnson rolls before passing.
Matt Jones plows through some Aggies.
Marcus Monk prepares for a play.
Photos by Tom Ewart
Arkansas 63, New Mexico State 13
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