Instant replay:

Noland upright in 1st start

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Arkansas quarterback Connor Noland hands the ball to running back Maleek Williams (23) during a game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas quarterback Connor Noland hands the ball to running back Maleek Williams (23) during a game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Saturday worked out much better for University of Arkansas quarterback Connor Noland than his first game for the Razorbacks.

Noland, a true freshman from Greenwood who started because Ty Storey suffered a concussion last week against Ole Miss, played well enough to help the Razorbacks beat Tulsa 23-0 to end a six-game losing streak.

How Freshman QBs Fared in Their First Start for the Hogs:

Oct. 20, 2018 - Connor Noland, Tulsa, 10-16, 124 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, Arkansas won 23-0

Sept. 9, 2006 - Mitch Mustain, Utah State, 9-17, 119 yards, 1 TD, Arkansas won 20-0

Nov. 5, 2005 - Casey Dick, South Carolina, 12-24, 137 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, Arkansas lost 14-10

Oct. 10, 1992 - Barry Lunney Jr., Tennessee, 13-19, 168 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, Arkansas won 25-24

Oct. 31, 1981 - Brad Taylor, Rice, 15-25, 197 yards, 1 TD, 20 rush, 90 yards, Arkansas won 41-7

Dec. 4, 1976 - Tom Rystrom, Texas, 6-13, 43 yards, Arkansas lost 29-12

Oct. 2, 1976 - Houston Nutt, TCU, 1-2, 7 yards, Arkansas won 46-14

In Noland's only previous game, he played off the bench in a 44-17 loss to North Texas and was sacked five times. He wasn't sacked once against Tulsa.

"The offensive line did a great job," Noland said. "They blocked really well and were very supportive of me.

"Obviously, for a freshman being in there, kind of nervous about stuff, for them to come out and block like they did, it's a big deal."

Noland completed 10 of 16 passes for 124 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. He rushed five times for 20 yards.

"What a special moment for Connor, a young man from right down the road," Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said. "He's probably dreamed of this moment his entire life.

"To be able to come out and lead the Hogs to a win, I'm very proud of him."

Noland settled in after throwing an interception on Arkansas' first possession.

"He never froze up or gave you the deer-in-the-headlights look," Razorbacks senior guard Hjalte Froholdt said. "He was comfortable with himself. He was like, 'I threw a pick, next play.' His mood was still up."

Noland, the first Arkansas true freshman to start at quarterback since Mitch Mustain in 2006, said he had a good idea by Wednesday he would be starting in Storey's place.

"Kind of just tried to build my confidence and watch a lot of film this week," Noland said. "I had a little notice to prepare myself and be ready."

Noland said he tried not to get caught up in the emotions of making his first start.

"But definitely you grow up watching the Hogs play, and to be out there on the field getting my first start meant a lot to me, so it was a big moment," he said. "Just tried to downplay that a little bit and focus on the game."

Award for Watts

Defensive tackle Armon Watts was voted by the media as the winner of the Crip Hall Award for being Arkansas' outstanding senior in the homecoming game. He had 4 tackles, including 1 sack, and forced a fumble.

"I feel honored," Watts said of being the Crip Hall Award winner. "I know a lot of greats in the past have got it. Just to have my name mentioned is an honor."

Jackson out

Redshirt freshman Dalton Wagner became Arkansas' fourth different starting left tackle this season.

Wagner made his first career start in place of junior Colton Jackson, who didn't dress out after suffering back spasms Saturday morning.

"We got news right before we headed [to the game] from the hotel that Colton had some back spasms," Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said. "We did not know that until the bus ride over here.

"We felt like maybe during warmups we could get him back, but he couldn't go."

Jackson had started the previous four games after coming back from back surgery. He was the projected starter going into the summer before his surgery. Wagner was expected to replace Jackson, but during fall camp he needed an appendectomy.

Redshirt freshman Shane Clenin started the opener against Eastern Illinois at left tackle, then true freshman Noah Gatlin started at left tackle the next two games before Jackson returned to the lineup.

Wagner has been practicing primarily at right tackle, so he had to adjust to playing the other side Saturday.

"He did phenomenal," senior left guard Hjalte Froholdt said. "It was right before game time that we made that change. Dalton didn't really know until game time. So I'm proud of him."

Dumb & dumber

Both teams had players flagged for stupid penalties in the second quarter, but only the Razorbacks were able to take advantage.

Arkansas cornerback Nate Dalton was called for unsportsmanlike conduct while covering a punt when he shoved Tulsa return man Jarion Anderson in the face after Anderson signaled for a fair catch.

Razorbacks Coach Chad Morris sent Dalton to the locker room after the penalty.

"We're not about that," Morris said.

The penalty meant Tulsa started its possession at its 25 instead of the 10. The Golden Hurricane moved to the Arkansas 41 but were stopped on downs.

After the teams exchanged punts, Arkansas drove to the Tulsa 15 and had a second and 6, but the Razorbacks lost 12 yards on a poor shotgun snap that quarterback Connor Noland was fortunate to recover at the 27.

Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson was called for targeting as he dove for the loose ball.

The targeting penalty was overturned after a replay review, but Tulsa wide receiver JuanCarlos Santana -- who was on the sideline -- drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty because he picked up the flag from the targeting call and threw it.

"We had a young kid on the sideline that just doesn't need to do that," Tulsa Coach Philip Montgomery said. "We'll learn from it, and I will obviously take care of that when I get back."

Instead of Arkansas facing third and 18 from its 27, the penalty on Santana gave the Razorbacks a first down at the 13. Three plays later Connor Noland's 7-yard touchdown pass to Grayson Gunter put Arkansas ahead 10-0.

Injury report

Arkansas starting running back Rakeem Boyd left the game in the second half because he was dehydrated, Coach Chad Morris said. Before going out, Boyd rushed 22 times for 99 yards.

Running back Devwah Whaley didn't play after undergoing ankle surgery. He might return late in the season.

Defensive tackle Briston Guidry, who missed the previous two games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, played as a reserve.

Running back T.J. Hammonds missed the game because of an ankle injury.

Just over 40,000

Tickets scanned for the game -- meaning actual attendance -- was announced at 40,128 by Arkansas. Tickets sold were announced at 56,691.

Pulley doesn't start

As expected, Chad Morris disciplined cornerback Ryan Pulley by not starting him.

Pulley was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct with 29 seconds left in last week's 37-33 loss to Ole Miss -- Pulley didn't stop talking to the Rebels after an unofficial told him that was enough -- so Morris sat him down to start the Tulsa game.

Redshirt freshman Montaric Brown made his first career start in Pulley's place. Pulley entered the game on the second play of Arkansas' second defensive series.

Pulley had an interception to stop Tulsa's last drive of the first half. He has three interceptions this season.

McClure starts

Sophomore D'Vone McClure made his fourth start at nickel back for the Razorbacks, but his first since the third game. McClure replaced senior Kevin Richardson.

Make it 19

Arkansas extended its winning streak over Tulsa to 19 games. The streak began when the Razorbacks beat the Hurricane 37-3 in 1977.

Tulsa last beat Arkansas in 1976 when Steve Cox hit three field goals in the Hurricane's 9-3 victory.

The next season Cox transferred to Arkansas, where he became an All-Southwest Conference punter and also handled place-kicking duties.

Arkansas is 55-15-3 all-time against Tulsa, including 42-5 in Fayetteville.

Big feet

Tulsa's Thomas Bennett became the third punter ranked in the top four nationally Arkansas has faced this season along with Texas A&M's Braden Mann and Colorado State's Ryan Stonehouse.

Bennett came into the game averaging 49.9 yards to rank third. He averaged 40.6 yards on six punts Saturday.

Mann is averaging a national-leading 54.5 yards. Stonehouse is second at 50.4 yards entering this week.

Sports on 10/21/2018


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