LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas showed up for a football game Saturday night in Little Rock, but a track meet ended up breaking out.
Good thing the Razorbacks got out of the blocks first and hit the finish line quicker in a game that featured nearly 1, 000 yards total offense.
Matt Jones passed for 272 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdowns through the air as Arkansas whipped the University of Louisiana-Monroe 49-20 before 55,652 fans, the 10th largest crowd in War Memorial Stadium history and one of two games the Razorbacks will play in Little Rock this season.
Those four touchdowns gave Jones a total of 62 accounted for in his career, tying the school mark of former Razorback Clint Stoerner for touchdown responsibility.
The two teams rolled up 967 yards of total offense in the game, including 648 between the pair by intermission, as several individuals put up big numbers.
The Razorbacks did slow down the Indians in the second half as they limited them to just 65 yards in the final two quarters.
Arkansas had a pair of rushers to the century mark with Decori Birmingham rushing 14 times for 127 yards and DeArrius Howard tacking on 109 yards on 13 totes.
ULM quarterback Stephen Giles passed for 298 yards, 278 of it by halftime and 192 in the second quarter alone.
Arkansas wideout Stephen Harris caught 6 passes for 133 yards while Drouzon Quillen had 3 catches for 127 yards and Joey Trappey had 4 catches for 105 yards for ULM.
Five differerent Razorbacks scored touchdowns with Harris and freshman Marcus Monk hauling in a pair each and running backs Peyton Hillis, Birmingham and Howard all finding the end zone as well.
It was designated as a home game for the Indians in a deal that helps them with the required NCAA D-I attendance and they looked quite comfortable after an early two-touchdown Razorback burst.
Although ULM successfully recovered an onside kick to start the contest, the Indians fumbled the ball right back on the first play and Arkansas wasted little time in putting points on the board.
Jones went up top for 29 yards to Stephen Harris to start a 7-play, 48-yard drive that was capped when Decori Birmingham got in from the 1 at the 12:46 mark. Chris Balsiero's PAT made it 7-0.
It became 14-0 on the Razorbacks' next possession, this time Jones and Harris hooking up on a 10-yard scoring toss on the final play of a 5-snap, 70-yard spree and Balseiro being true once again.
ULM then begin its offensive push with Ragan Walters finding the range on a 26-yard field goal and busting a big play through the air to set up its first touchdown on the year.
Gyles, who was 7-of-13 passing for 192 yards in the second quarter alone, connected with Trappy on a 51-yard play and Arkansas native Kevin Payne of Junction City doing the honors from 1-yard out.
Walters' PAT made cut it 14-10 with 14:37 remaining in the second quarter.
Arkansas answered right back with Jones' 21-yard touchdown pass and Balseiro's PAT making it 21-10 with 12:27 left before intermission.
But ULM needed just one play this time and Gyles hit Quillen for 77 yards a touchdown which he scored while running over the back judge. Walters' point after cut it to 28-17.
Walters' 24 yard field goal trimmed ULM's deficit to 28-20 with 4:01 on the clock before Jones led Arkansas to its final of five touchdowns in the opening half.
A 26-yard pass to Harris was the key play of a drive that ended with Hillis crashing over from the 1 with :51 seconds left before the break and Balserio making it 35-20.
Arkansas started the scoring in the second half when Jones hit Monk from the 25 with 7:10 left in the third quarter and Balseiro connected to make it 42-20.
Jones then hit Harris for a 11-yard touchdown just into the fourth quarter as Arkansas went up 49-20.
Arkansas hosts Alabama next Saturday.
DeCori Birmingham scoots towards an opening.
Meganne Britton is a featured twirler for the band.
Marcus Monk caught two TD passes.
Photos by Tom Ewart
Arkansas 49, ULM 20
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballYesterday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM