Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Hogs blow lead late at Rutgers
Arkansas defender Tevin Mitchel is called for pass interference as he tries to defend against Rutgers receiver Brandon Coleman in the 4th quarter of Saturday's game at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. Rutgers overcame a 17-point second half deficit and beat Arkansas 28-24 Saturday in front of a near-record crowd at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Gary Nova led a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives to give the Scarlet Knights their second consecutive win over the Razorbacks. Nova hit Leonte Carroo for a 33-yard score on fourth-and-12 with 9:55 remaining and again for a 4-yard touchdown with 5:18 left to give Rutgers the lead for good.
Arkansas (3-1) took a 24-7 lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from running back Jonathan Williams to tight end Hunter Henry midway through the third quarter. The Razorbacks led 10-7 at halftime.
Rutgers (3-1) began its comeback late in the third quarter when Janarion Grant returned a Sam Irwin-Hill punt 58 yards for a touchdown. Grant had a 47-yard return to set up the Scarlet Knights' go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
Playing without starting quarterback Brandon Allen, Arkansas got big plays from its defense and just enough firepower from its offense to build the big cushion. Cornerback Tevin Mitchel returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and AJ Derby led a scoring drive on the first possession of the second half, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Javontee Herndon.
Williams' pass came one play after Chris Smith recovered a fumble forced on a sack by Trey Flowers, giving the Razorbacks a 24-7 lead with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Arkansas had a 24-yard pass from the punter Irwin-Hill to deep snapper Alan D'Appollonio to convert a fourth down and set up a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter that gave the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead. Jarrett Lake recovered a fumble and Dan Skipper blocked a kick to foil a pair of promising drives for Rutgers early in the game.
Playing in place of the injured Allen, Derby completed 14 of 26 passes for 127 yards. Arkansas struggled to move the ball, with a season-low 283 yards of total offense.
Nova passed for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had passed for career-highs 397 yards and 5 touchdowns a year ago in a win at Arkansas.
The Razorbacks will host Texas A&M next week in Fayetteville.