Kentucky 41, Arkansas 29

FAYETTEVILLE -- As the final seconds ticked off another missed opportunity late Saturday night, thousands of disgruntled Arkansas fans let their frustrations be heard.

They booed as the players walked off the field, their heads down following a second consecutive heartbreaker that could have gone in their favor.

The fans also booed Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, who is undeniably back on the hot seat following a 42-29 loss to No. 21 Kentucky in front of an announced crowd of 74,015 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Some fans could even be heard calling for Nutt's job, and their boos didn't miss their intended target.

"I heard them. I've been booed before right here. It's all right," Nutt said, looking clearly frustrated afterward. "If that's what they want to do, it's all right. They paid their ticket, so they can do that."

A season that began with high expectations and a No. 21 ranking devolved even further for the Razorbacks (1-2, 0-2 Southeastern Conference), who are off to their worst start since the 2005 season.

Arkansas blew a 10-0 lead, failed to capitalize on several Kentucky mistakes, and for the second consecutive week, couldn't get a late defensive stop to preserve a win.

"We went out there and stopped ourselves again. I feel like we had the game won, and all we had to do was just keep it on them," Arkansas running back Darren McFadden said. "We had our foot on their neck."

So did the Razorbacks simply shoot themselves in the foot with too many careless mistakes?

"I think we blew our foot off," Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs said.

Statistically, the Razorbacks were the more dominant team.

McFadden and fellow running back Felix Jones combined to rush for 306 yards and one touchdown -- despite suffering from heat exhaustion that caused Jones to vomit and McFadden to need intravenous fluids at the end of the first half.

Arkansas outgained Kentucky's high-powered offense in total yardage 495-435 and held the football for nearly 10 minutes longer. But the Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 SEC) scored three touchdowns over the final eight minutes to leave the Razorbacks bewildered.

Afterward, Nutt told his players to ignore the criticism that will certainly come after blowing a 29-21 lead with 11 minutes, 40 seconds remaining.

"I told them they've got to hang in there. It's going to be tough right now. They'll hear a lot of negativity," Nutt said. "I told them, 'Hey, just blame it on me.' And just go forward."

The loss dropped Arkansas into a 0-2 hole in the SEC with games against Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and LSU still on the schedule.

For the time being, though, the Razorbacks talked about Saturday's loss as if it were a wakeup call and a character-builder rolled in one.

"We don't know what's going on with SEC titles, but we're going to see this week who really wants to be a part of the team," Arkansas running back Michael Smith said.

Making matters worse, Arkansas wide receiver Crosby Tuck will miss the remainder of the season after fracturing his right elbow. It was another tough blow for a team whose confidence was already shaken following last week's 41-38 loss at Alabama.

McFadden missed the final minutes of the first half, as Arkansas athletic trainers Dean Weber and Eric Linson examined him on the sideline.

McFadden walked to the locker room with 1:28 remaining in the first half, and he didn't return until four minutes into the second half. He was certainly missed. The crowd roared upon his return.

Smith helped fill in late in the first half during McFadden's absence, and he fumbled the ball as Arkansas tried driving downfield to add another score.

Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley scooped up the football and returned it 66 yards to cut Arkansas' lead to 20-14 at halftime.

The Razorbacks missed several opportunities to add to their lead and possibly put the game away. They settled for a field goal early in the second quarter after a 73-yard run by Jones gave them first-and-goal at the 6-yard line.

Arkansas also came up empty when it recovered a fumbled kickoff return at the Kentucky 36 with around 11 minutes left in the first half.

"We had plenty of opportunities to beat Kentucky tonight. As an offense, we couldn't capitalize," Luigs said. "We couldn't roll the 6s (touchdowns) that we like to (and) had to settle for field goals.

"You can't win football games like that in this conference."

And so far, they haven't.

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