Arkansas 28, ULM 27

Casey Dick passes for a career-high 323 yards, Michael Smith rushes for a career-high 157 yards and D.J. Williams has a career-high 124 yards receiving and Arkansas needs every one of them to rally from 18 points down to beat Louisiana-Monroe 28-27 before 55,048 fans at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

It's said that a lot of teams make their most improvement between the first and second games.

This year's University of Arkansas squad, however, seems to do that from the third to the fourth quarter.

For the second straight week, the Razorbacks scored two fourth quarter touchdowns and converted a late fourth down pass to avoid being upset – this time downing the University of Louisiana-Monroe 28-27 Saturday before 55,048 fans at War Memorial Stadium.

"It was a full day's work, there is no doubt about that, " first-year Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "We made it hard, but we stuck in there together as a team. I'm proud of our players. I am proud of the character they showed, how they stuck together and found a way to win another game."

Senior quarterback Casey Dick connected with sophomore tight end D.J. Williams on a pair of scores – the last one with 1:22 left to tie the game.

"Casey just keeps getting better and made some real nice throws," Petrino said. "...D.J. has shown that he can be a big player for us and one you can rely on."

Razorback sophomore kicker Shay Haddock – a transfer from TCU who is not even in the press guide and took over for a struggling Alex Tejada – then booted what turned out to the game-winning PAT.

It held up because ULM's Jeremy Gener missed a 42-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the game.

"It came down to making plays," noted ULM head coach Charlie Weatherbie, whose team lost 34-0 last week at Auburn. "We had several opportunties to win. On our last drive we drove the ball all the way down the field and didn't make a catch on a shovel pass. We still had had chance with the 45-yard field goal and it just didn't go our way."

Gener, who had been successful from 40 and 20 yards in the game, watched this boot go wide right ato keep the Warhawks (0-2) from taking down Arkansas like they did Alabama last season.

"I thought our sideline was great," Petrino said. "I thought we kept our poise, our staff kept our poise, the players were very attentive, working hard to make adjustments, working hard to try and to find a way to stop them and also score points.

"We made it hard," Petrino said. "We should have been ahead. We had a lot of opportunities early in the game and didn't get points on the board and that always comes back to haunt you."

Dick was 22-of-34 passing for a career-high 323 yards and two touchdowns, Michael Smith rushed for a career-high 157 yards on 22 carries and Williams caught 5 passes for 124 yards and the two score.

Freshmen Joe Adams also had 7 catches for 89 yards as he Razorbacks rolled up 506 yards total offense to 341 for the Warhawks.

"We are a team that never gives us," Dick said. "We had guys step up and make plays for us."

But the actual play of the night could certainly have been a 25-yard pass on 4th and 1 that kept the next-to-last UA drive alive.

Dick faked a run and hit true freshmen Chris Gragg, who made his first career catch a big one and set up Arkansas inside at the Warhawks' 7.

"It is a play we have practiced for a long time," Petrino said. "It is a play that we like to run on third and short or fourth and short. I felt like they would really load the box, try to come and stop us. We didn't convert earlier on about a 4th-and-2 1/2 running the balll. We called it, we had practiced it a bunch. What a great catch, what a great play by Chris Gragg and Casey Dick."

Weatherbie said he expected something like that from Petrino.

"We know Petrino will do stuff like that," Weatherbie said. "He's a riverboat gambler so to speak, and it was a great call."

Two plays later, Smith's 8-yard run – following a block by Williams – got the Razorbacks to within 27-21.

Smith was suspended for the first game of the season - a 28-24 win over Western Illinois - but had already piled up a career high of 121 yards by halftime.

"I thought he did a real nice job on hitting the holes, showing his speed, making yards after he broke through the line of scrimmage," Petrino said. "You have got to take your hat off to our offensive front because I thought they handled the front running the ball.

"We just needed to score early so we could have taken the air out of the ball in the second half and ran it more," Petrino said. " I do feel llike we wore them down. It didn't help us on the pass rush, but you would have liked to put those points up and be able to run later in the game."

Arkansas found itself down 24-6 when Louisiana-Monroe scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter.

The Razorbacks cut it 24-14 when Dick connected with Williams on an 8-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

After ULM cashed with a 40-yard field goal to go up 27-14 with 12:56 left in the game, Dick and Williams hooked up again.

This time was for a 76-yard pass play, setting up 4-yard touchdown by Michael Smith on the next play and Haddock's first career PAT that got it to within 27-21 with just over 12 minutes left.

Arkansas had taken a 6-0 lead just into second quarter when Smith dashed 13 yards for a score.

Smith was originally ruled down at the 1-yard line, but a replay review of the action then credited him with getting the ball over the plane of the goal before his knee was down.

Tejada missed the PAT leaving it 6-0 with 11:40 left in the second quarter.

The night started out extremely rough for Tejada, who missed field goals of 45 and 24 yards on the Razorbacks' first two possessions.

He would then miss the aforementioned PAT and then compounded his misery by getting a delay of game on the ensuing kickoff and then kicking the ball out of bounds to give it to ULM on the 45.

Alex had great practices this week," Petrino said. "I don't think he missed a single field goal in practice. He needs to come back next week and get back some of his confidence. Everybody needs improvement; we have a lot of work to do on the special teams."

Haddock was given the nod in the second half and was successful on both of his PAT attempts.

"We put him in there and he hit two extra points right down the middle," Petrino said. "The last one counted, actually they both counted and were very big." The Warhawks took advantage of the gift, especially when Arkansas offered up two more on penalties that kept the drive alive.

On ULM's sixth play inside the UA's 7-yard line, Kinsmon Lancaster hit Rodney Lovett on a 1-yard TD pass.

Gener's PAT gave the Warhawks a 7-6 lead with 8:12 left before halftime.

It grew to 10-6 when Jeremy Davis' punt was blocked, Louisiana-Monroe took over on the Arkansas 21 and Gener drilled a 20-yard field goal with 3:48 left in the half.

The Warhawks then took the second-half kickoff and drove the length of the field.

Anthony McCall beat Issac Madison to haul in a 33-yard TD pass from Lancaster with 10:19 left in the third and Gener's PAT pushed it to 17-6.

It then grew to 24-6 when Gary Frazier dashed in from 1-yard out with the clock showing 6:11 remaining in the third.

Arkansas (2-0) takes a major step up in competition next Saturday when it travels to Austin to take on Texas in a 2:30 p.m, game that will be nationally televised by ABC.

"We have yet to get a turnoverso that makes you think they will come in bunches," Petrino said, "and we will need them in bunches next Saturday."

Arkansas freshmen Joe Adams stiff-arms Louisiana-Monroe cornerback Otis Stamps in first-half action on Saturday night.

Michael Smith scores Arkansas' second-quarter touchdown on a 13-yard run.

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