LITTLE ROCK — Three defensive starters did not dress out against Samford. Safety Rohan Gaines suffered a knee injury in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. He was replaced in the lineup by junior Alan Turner. For discipline reasons, Jarrett Lake was replaced in the lineup by junior Martrell Spaight, a two-time junior college All-American from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Defensive end Trey Flowers was announced as a starter but redshirt freshman Brandon Lewis started in his place. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Flowers had a knee issue and it was decided before the game that he was not ready.
Tight End TDs
To quote Yogi Berra, it was like deja vu all over again. Tight ends Alex Voelzke and Mitchell Lowewn’s first career receptions both went for touchdowns at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Voelzke’s came on a 6-yard toss from Tyler Wilson against Ole Miss last season; Loewen’s was good for 24 yards from Brandon Allen against Samford on Saturday. Lowen is a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Hawaii, the starter this season. Voelzke is a 6-6 sophomore from Longview, Texas. Both came to Arkansas as walk-ons, but earned scholarships prior to this season.
Run Into Record Book
Sophomore Jonathan Williams and freshman Alex Collins became the first tandem in Razorback history to record 100-yard rushing games in each of the first two games of a season. Collins led the team with 172 yards on 24 carries, including a 55-yard jaunt to set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Williams gained 126 yards on 17 tries, including a 49-yard gain on Arkansas’ second possession of the game, leading to a touchdown.
The two were coming off a big game in the season opener in Fayetteville, making Arkansas the only team in the nation on college football’s opening week with two running backs with more than 130 yards each and a quarterback with more than 200 yards. Quarterback Brandon Allen threw for 230 against Louisiana-Lafayette, Williams rushed for 151 yards, and Collins added 131. It was the first time since 2007 that the Razorbacks had two rushers with more than 100 yards each in a game. Collins was the first Razorback true freshman to gain 100 yards in his first outing since Felix Jones did it in 2005.
Turner started in place of Gaines on Saturday, but there was much more on his mind. His father died Friday night after a battle with cancer. Bielema said Turner knew Gaines was unable to play and chose to stay with the team.
There was considerable conversation related to Bielema’s pronouncement last week that the Razorbacks would treat the Samford game in Little Rock as a road game. Part of his plan was to fly back to Fayetteville to get everyone — players and coaches — back in their routine as soon as possible in preparation for the Southern Miss game at Fayetteville. The three-hour bus has been unpopular with players, according to Kiero Small, the Hogs’ starting fullback.
“The ride back was always , ‘Man, we’re got to take this ride.’ So being able to get back quicker will help us start getting ready for next week,” Small said.
In War Memorial
The Razorbacks recorded their 149th victory at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday against 54 losses. The outcome was far different than a season ago when Arkansas lost to Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock, leading to a 4-8 season under interim coach John L. Smith. The victory was the 90th in non-conference play at the venue against 26 losses and two ties. Arkansas is the only university in the country to play regular home games in two stadiums.
It’s a First!
Arkansas and Samford had never played each before Saturday night. Samford is the only Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) team on Arkansas’ schedule in 2013. Every Southeastern Conference team plays an FCS team this season. Arkansas is one of seven SEC teams to host an FCS opponent in the first two weeks of the season.
Final PPV Game
Those who chose to stay home and watch the Razorbacks on Saturday paid for it. Most shelled out about $35 for the game, called by KATV’s Scott Inman and ESPN basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes. With a new network dedicated to SEC football premiering next season, combined with SEC television contracts with ESPN and CBS, all games will be on regular TV for the forseeable future. Arkansas has had one game on pay-per-view annually for more than 10 years and a few others prior to that.
The Little Rock crowd of 47,358 was the smallest since the Troy State game in 2002 — a game in which rain was responsible for the small crowd.
— Dennis A. Byrd • Arkansas News Bureau