Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Instant replay: Defense takes another hit, holds up
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom is shown during a game against BYU on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Provo, Utah.
PROVO, Utah — The University of Arkansas’ banged up secondary took another hit when starting cornerback Malik Chavis came out of Saturday’s game against BYU in the second quarter with a head injury and didn’t return.
Defensive backs Jayden Johnson and Khari Johnson, who both started last week at Mississippi State and were injured, didn’t make the trip. Nickel back Myles Slusher also didn’t travel for the second consecutive game with an injury.
The Razorbacks were down six defensive backs from the start of the season after Chavis left.
With the mounting injuries, to start the second half against BYU the Razorbacks’ defensive backs were Dwight McGlothern, Latavious Brini, Simeon Blair, Hudson Clark, Trent Gordon and Keuan Parker.
But the patchwork secondary held together and helped the Razorbacks beat the Cougars 52-35 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Arkansas held BYU to 14 points in the second half, none in the fourth quarter.
A big play came when Clark, a redshirt junior who has played both cornerback and safety, got his first interception since having three in one game against Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in a 33-21 victory on Oct. 10, 2020.
BYU quarterback Jaren Hall hung a deep pass intended for Puka Nacua from the Cougars’ 40 and Clark intercepted it at the Arkansas 32 with 2:22 left in the second quarter.
“It’s kind of a relief getting one for the first time since 2020,” said Clark, who led the Razorbacks with 11 tackles. “I’ve had my hands on a few. Just coming down with it was big.
“During the play, the quarterback kind of rolled out so all of the zone shifted left. So I just kind of drove on the out and it came right to me.”
Landers for three
Receiver Matt Landers, a transfer from Toledo, tied an Arkansas record with three touchdown catches. He was the first Razorback with three touchdown receptions since 2015 when Drew Morgan did it against Ole Miss and Jeremy Sprinkle did it against Mississippi State.
Odom on sideline
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom called plays from the sideline for the second consecutive game.
Odom, in his third season at Arkansas, usually works from the press box, but he was on the sideline last week when Mississippi State beat the Razorbacks 40-17.
Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman said this week he believed it was good to have Odom on the sideline because the team has needed some new starters in the secondary because of injuries.
On the air
Chuck Barrett, Arkansas’ long-time play-by-play radio announcer, called Saturday’s game after his mother Patricia Ann Falls Barrett died at age 91 Wednesday morning in Dardanelle.
“She’d been ill for a long time, and so there was some peace that came from her passing,” Barrett said. “She was a U of A alum, and she was a Razorback fan, and I know she would have told me to get on that plane and go to Provo and do the game because people are counting on you.
“And so that’s what I’ve done. She raised me well.
“She would have said this, too, ‘I’m sorry I did it during football season,’ “ Barrett added with a chuckle. “But that’s just kind of how it goes sometimes. That’s how life is.
“People have been very nice, very kind, and I’ll always remember that."
Barrett and his sister, Jane, were with their mother when she passed away.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 5-7 p.m. Monday at Hardwicke Funeral Home in Clarksville. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Clarksville.
Arkansas junior quarterback KJ Jefferson returned to the starting lineup against BYU after missing last Saturday’s game at Mississippi State because he had taken a hit to the head the previous week against Alabama.
Senior defensive tackle Terry Hampton, a transfer from Arkansas State University, made his first start for the Razorbacks after playing off the bench the previous six games.
Junior defensive back Latavious Brini, a transfer from Georgia, made his third start of the season and first since Arkansas beat Missouri State 38-27 on Sept. 17.
Two games involving teams from the SEC and Pac-12 and ones which next season will be in the Big 12 and Big Ten played 45 miles apart in Utah on Saturday.
The SEC’s Arkansas and BYU — which is joining the Big 12 after being an independent since 2011 when it left the Mountain West — kicked off at 2:30 p.m. Central time.
Then at 7 p.m., Utah and Southern California had a Pac-12 matchup a 50-minute drive up Interstate 15 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. USC is leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
Arkansas senior Reid Bauer made his only punt of the game a good one. He boomed a 62-yarder in the second quarter.
It was a season-long for the Razorbacks and matched the second-longest for Bauer, who had a 64-yarder as a true freshman in 2018 and a 62-yarder in 2020.
BYU nose guard Caden Haws, a redshirt sophomore from Pulaski Academy, had four tackles and batted down a pass by KJ Jefferson on the game’s first play.
As the Razorbacks came into the stadium before the game, several men dressed in BYU clothing served as greeters, clapping for the players and welcoming them to the stadium.
To say it’s the opposite of what SEC teams normally experience on the road would be a massive understatement.
BYU also passed out ice cream to Arkansas fans in the stands and flew a Razorback flag atop its south end-zone seats.
Red for Razorbacks
With BYU wearing white jerseys and pants as part of a “whiteout” for Saturday’s game, the Razorbacks wore their red home jerseys with white pants.
It was the first time Arkansas wore red jerseys on the road since the Razorbacks won 16-13 in overtime at LSU last season.
Arkansas improved to 22-5 all-time against independents.
Prior to Saturday, the Razorbacks hadn’t played against an independent since 2002 when they beat South Florida 42-3 and Troy 23-0.
Troy joined the Sun Belt in 2004 and South Florida joined Conference USA in 2003, the Big East in 2005 and the AAC in 2013.
See you next year
Saturday was the first meeting in football between Arkansas and BYU and the opener of a two-game series between the teams.
The Cougars will play Arkansas next year in Fayetteville on Sept. 16.
BYU vs. SEC
BYU is 4-7 in matchups against SEC teams that were in the conference at the time of the matchups.
The Cougars won 29-26 at Tennessee in double overtime in 2019 in their most recent game against an SEC prior to Saturday.
Give them Liberty
BYU travels to Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday to play Liberty, while Arkansas has an open date.
Later in the season, Liberty travels to Fayetteville to play the Razorbacks on Nov. 5.
Before playing Liberty, Arkansas has the open date, then plays at Auburn.
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