No. 20 Arkansas Mauls Memphis


Memphis ranked among the nation's worst teams in three categories and performed that way in two of the three.

But, the Tigers -- No. 100 against the run -- held Arkansas to barely 2 yards a try Saturday. Because of that, and a poor first half by quarterback Clint Stoerner, the No. 20 Razorbacks had to struggle to beat the Tigers 23-9.

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  • Stoerner got Arkansas on the right track with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Michael Williams early in the third quarter for a 20-3 lead.

    Arkansas made 105 on the ground against the Tigers, who had been giving up an average of 232 yards per game. Madre Hill, who topped 100 yards against Kentucky and Alabama, gained 23 yards on 16 carries in the first half and carried only once for a yard in the second half.

    The Razorbacks (5-0) led 13-3 at the half even though Stoerner completed only 11-of-29 passes. His third straight completion of the second half was good for Williams' first career touchdown.

    On third-and-18, Williams ran a deep sideline pattern. Jeremy Stewart, chasing Williams across the field, swiped at the ball and missed. Williams caught it a couple of yards in bounds at the 30 and turned upfield with clear sailing.

    "Memphis was dedicated to stopping the run and they were effective," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "That's where not having Chrys Chukwuma really hurt us. He really complements Madre Hill."

    Chukwuma, the Razorbacks' leading rusher, was sidelined with an ankle injury. Arkansas also played without leading receiver Anthony Lucas, who has a thigh bruise. The Razorbacks managed only 43 yards rushing in the first three quarters, including a 19-yard reverse by Hubert Loudermilk and a 13-yard bootleg by Stoerner.

    "I'm surprised we didn't run the ball better than we did," Stoerner said.

    Memphis (0-5) continued to struggle on offense. ThTigers -- No. 111 in rushing and 109th in scoring out of the 112 I-A teams -- had a first down at the Arkansas 9 after a blocked punt and later had a first down at the Arkansas 5 after a couple of pass completions and settled for field goals both times.

    Arkansas put away the Tigers midway through the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks kicked the Tigers inside their 5, forced a punt and started from the Memphis 34. A pass interference penalty and a 13-yard burst by Alvin Ray moved the ball to the 8 and Todd Latourette's third field goal, a 22-yarder, made it 23-6.

    A 44-yard pass from Kenton Evans to Damien Dodson reached the Arkansas 5 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers settled for a 32-yard field goal by Ryan White after a motion penalty and a screen pass that lost another five yards.

    The victory completed the Razorbacks' first sweep of their non-conference opponents during the 1990s.

    Memphis' first-half offense consisted of 68 yards and one first down in each quarter -- one on an 18-yard pass from Evans and the other on a 14-yard pass from Evans. He completed only 3-of-15 in the first half and the Tigers failed on their first five third-down opportunities.

    Latourette's career-best 48-yard field goal gave Arkansas a 3-0 lead.

    Moments later, Darrius Blevins slipped inside an Arkansas player and blocked a Chris Akin punt that Michael Stone recovered at the 9. Evans lost 4 yards when he stumbled on second down and the Tigers tied it on White's 21-yard field goal.

    Arkansas' first TD drive began when Stoerner threw to Emanuel Smith for 17 yards on third-and-10. Loudermilk made 19 on his reverse to the 16 and Madre Hill scored over the right side from the 3.

    Rossi Morreale recovered Damien Dodson's fumbled punt at the Memphis 15 in the second quarter, Latourette kicked a 31-yard field goal after Mike McKenzie broke up a pass in the end zone and Loudermilk sneaked a peek at Reginald Howard before dropping a third-down pass.

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