FAYETTEVILLE – Snacking on cupcakes can be healthy.

FAYETTEVILLE – Snacking on cupcakes can be healthy.


Arkansas needed Saturday’s 73-7 win over Nicholls State in the worst way, losers of 10 straight games, facing a streak of 357 days since its last victory. The Colonels were all too easy a task for even the holders of second-longest losing streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.


Arkansas ripped the Thibodaux, La., school for 35 points in the first quarter alone, notching three touchdowns on single-play drives. It took five plays total to start the game and hit the 21-point mark.


Keon Hatcher took the Razorbacks’ first play from scrimmage 82 yards for a touchdown on a reverse; Alex Collins went 33 yards on the ground on the first play of the team’s second drive; Brandon Allen connected with Drew Morgan for a 22-yard score on the third play of the third drive; Cody Hollister hauled in a ball from seven yards on the sixth play of the fourth and Collins punched in his second score from two yards on the first play of the fifth, and final, drive of the quarter.


Thirty-five points scored and negative-five yards allowed in the first 12 minutes. It was simplicity. And much-needed.


"Yeah, I think this is a big confidence boost for us, especially because we had those 10 straight going and things had been down a lot with a lot of those losses," Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said. "I think this win here is going to be big for a lot of people on this team. Maybe some guys that had their confidence down a little bit. I think this has boosted that up a lot."


The Razorbacks were so easily handling Nicholls State that coach Bret Bielema was able to go to his reserves by the third drive of the game. By the second drive of the second half, comfortable with a 56-0 lead, he went to them en masse and for good. And from down the depth chart they came. Austin Beck, a third-year offensive guard, saw the first game-action of his Arkansas career.


Those bench players didn’t have quite the ease as the first- and second-teamers, which was to be expected, but it allowed Bielema an opportunity to build cohesion, camaraderie and instill a confidence throughout the roster: three things that have been lacking over the last two seasons.


Hatcher was all smiles afterward, having scored 50-yard receiving touchdown, the 82-yard rushing touchdown and picking up another 47 yards on a kick return. His attitude was a far cry from last week after he dropped a likely touchdown pass in the Razorbacks loss at Auburn.


"The coaches have a lot of confidence in me," Hatcher said. "After that play I messed up on in Auburn, they knew I was going to shake back from it, so I thank them for that, too, having that confidence in me."


All four of Allen’s four completions were for touchdowns. Little brother and back-up Austin Allen played most of the second half and added another four completions and a rushing touchdown in his Razorbacks debut. Collins ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries and Jonathan Williams added another 143 yards and a score on just four carries. Arkansas managed 684 yards of total offense, set a school record for most points at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium and tied for the third most points in school history.


But as nice as the post-game celebration in the locker room was, an FBS opponent looms with Texas Tech in Lubbock next week. Defensive end Trey Flowers is aware.


"The biggest positive would have to be confidence," Flowers said. "We came out here, we executed and you saw the results. That will give us an incentive to do our job even better against a better opponent and make sure we take care of business then."