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.
Razorback football report: Sategna has memorable first score
Arkansas receiver Isaiah Sategna (16) returns a punt 88 yards for a touchdown during the first quarter of a game against BYU on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas receiver Isaiah Sategna got to show off his track speed on a punt return for a touchdown in Saturday night’s game against BYU at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Sategna fielded a 54-yard punt by Ryan Rehkow at the Arkansas 12, made some would-be tacklers miss and raced to the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown that put the Razorbacks ahead 14-0 with 11:29 left in the first quarter.
It was the first score for Sategna, a redshirt freshman from Fayetteville, as a Razorback.
Sategna was a state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump at Fayetteville High School in addition to being football star. He is a member of the Arkansas track and field team.
Arkansas returned a punt for a touchdown for the third consecutive season.
Nathan Parodi had an 80-yard return in Arkansas’ 45-3 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2021 in Little Rock, and Bryce Stephens had an 82-yarder in a 38-27 victory over Missouri State last season. Stephens’ touchdown gave Arkansas a 31-26 lead in the fourth quarter.
Sategna’s punt return is the fourth-longest for a touchdown by a Razorback.
Joe Adams holds Arkansas’ record with a 97-yard touchdown against Ole Miss in 2010. Ken Hatfield’s 95-yarder against Tulsa in 1963 ranks second and Terry Stewart’s 90-yarder against Wichita State in 1969 is third.
The top five also includes Orlando Watters’ 87-yarder against South Carolina in 1992.
Twice as nice
Arkansas defensive backs Dwight McGlothern and Hudson Clark combined on a turnover against BYU for the second consecutive season.
On Saturday night, McGlothern forced a fumble by receiver Chase Roberts that Clark recovered at the BYU 25.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Razorbacks after the turnover pushed them back 15 yards to the BYU 40, but they got a field goal from Cam Little on the last play of the half to take a 24-21 lead.
When Arkansas won 52-35 at BYU last season, McGlothern forced a fumble by receiver Puka Nacua that Clark recovered with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter at the Razorbacks’ 26.
Neither team scored the rest of the game as Arkansas put together a 73-yard drive that ended on downs at the BYU 1 with 27 seconds left.
TD for Hasz
Arkansas freshman tight end Luke Hasz caught his first touchdown when KJ Jefferson found him in the end zone for a 19-yard score to tie the game 21-21 with 1:43 left in the second quarter.
BYU freshman receiver Parker Kingston showed off his passing skills when he took a lateral from Kedon Slovis on a trick play and hit a wide open Deion Smith for a 37-yard touchdown to pull the Cougars within 14-7 in the first quarter.
Kingston played quarterback at Roy High School in Layton, Utah, and completed 187 of 314 passes for 2,649 yards and 24 touchdowns along with rushing 232 times for 2,136 yards and 33 touchdowns.
BYU defensive lineman Caden Haws, a redshirt junior from Little Rock who played at Pulaski Academy, led the Cougars onto the field before kickoff carrying a flag to honor the memory of former Razorbacks Alex Collins and Ryan Mallett, who both passed away recently.
All of BYU’s players signed the flag, which is black and has “Arkansas Razorbacks” written on it with a Razorback logo.
The signed flag was presented to the Razorbacks.
Arkansas suffered its first turnover of the season when BYU rover Max Tooley intercepted a pass by KJ Jefferson and returned it 24 yards to the Razorbacks 20, setting up a touchdown that tied the game 31-31 with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
First field goal
Going into the game, Arkansas had been the only SEC team not to attempt a field goal.
That changed on the last play of the second quarterback when Cam Little hit a 26-yarder.
Make it 19
It didn’t take Arkansas wide receiver Andrew Armstrong long to keep alive his streak of catches.
Armstrong, a senior transfer from Texas A&M-Commerce, caught a pass from KJ Jefferson on the game’s second play to extend his streak of receptions to 19 games dating to the 2021 season.
The Razorbacks started Lorando “Snaxx” Johnson and Jaylon Braxton at cornerback one week after their top three at the spot were Jaheim Singletary, Dwight McGlothern and Kee’yon Stewart.
McGlothern missed the game with a turf toe injury, while Singletary went through warmups but was held out. Both played later in the first half and started the second half.
Arkansas linebacker Chris Paul made his first start of the season as did safety Hudson Clark.
Arkansas opened in a two-tight end set on offense, and Francis Sherman, a senior transfer from Louisville, made his first career start. Freshman Luke Hasz was the other starting tight end. Hasz has started all three games.
Injured Arkansas tailback Raheim Sanders attended the game, unlike last week when he was resting his knee. He hung out on the sideline with other players recovering from injuries: defensive back Malik Chavis and Dallas Young, defensive linemen Marcus Miller and Quincy Rhodes, and offensive lineman Luke Brown, Eli Henderson and Terry Wells.
KJ can block
KJ Jefferson’s passing and running skills are well documented, but Arkansas’ senior quarterback showed on a play in the second quarter he also can block when needed.
When running back Dominique Johnson reversed field, Jefferson laid a block on rover Max Tooley to help spring Johnson for a 13-yard gain and a first down.
It didn’t hurt on the block that Jefferson weighs 247 pounds and Tooley 225.
Cougs Care, a division of BYU’s alumni association, delivered about 40,000 pounds of food to the St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville pantry on Friday.
The Northwest Arkansas chapter of the BYU alumni association also held a pregame tailgate party at which more food was accepted to donate to St. James.
“The BYU motto is ‘Enter to learn, go forth to serve,” and so it’s kind of a function of that,” Blaine Douglas, president of the Northwest Arkansas BYU alumni association, said of the food donations. “We’re trying to serve the community.
“The tailgate is a great example of having fun and connecting as BYU alumni, but let’s do some good, too, while we’re at it.”
The Northwest Arkansas BYU alumni association also held a golf tournament Friday at Dogwood Golf Course in Bella Vista that raised funds for college scholarships. The tournament featured foursomes with Arkansas and BYU alums with proceeds helping local high school students.
“We had more than 200 golfers,” said Douglas, who works at Walmart. “You get a whole round of golf with someone from the other side and just get to know them better and make some connections.”
BYU’s alumni association in 2019 began donating food and other items to organizations in cities where the Cougars play with a game at Tennessee when it partnered with the Knox Area Rescue Ministries on a coat and food drive.
In 2022 BYU fans donated $2,500 worth of diapers in Pasco County, Fla., before a game at South Florida, 1,541 books in Lynchburg, Va., before a game at Liberty and more than 1,500 pairs of socks and gloves in Albuquerque, N.M., where the Cougars played in the New Mexico Bowl.
It was announced in November 2018 that Arkansas and BYU had agreed to a two-game series, which started last season when the Razorbacks beat the Cougars 52-35 in Provo, Utah.
Saturday night marked the first time BYU played at Arkansas.
“We are extremely excited to be playing at Arkansas,” Douglas said of the visit from BYU to Fayetteville. “We’ve had this circled on our calendars ever since the dates were announced.”
Douglas said there are about 850 BYU alumni who live in Northwest Arkansas.
Blair, team honored
Gary Blair and the 1998 Arkansas’ women’s basketball team were honored on the field between the first and second quarters and led fans in a Hog Call.
Blair coached Arkansas for 10 seasons from 1993-2003 and led the Razorbacks’ to their lone women’s Final Four appearance in 1998.
The team held a 25-year reunion this weekend and Blair also was honored for his recent induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
After leaving Arkansas, Blair led Texas A&M to the 2011 national championship. He also is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Louis Campbell, a former Arkansas defensive back, assistant coach and administrator, served as the Razorbacks’ honorary captain for the pregame coin toss.
Big 12 crew
BYU is in its first season as a member of the Big 12, and a Big 12 officiating crew called the game.
When Arkansas won 52-35 at BYU last season, an SEC officiating crew called the game.
BYU fifth-year senior Kedon Slovis is the first of two former USC quarterbacks the Razorbacks are scheduled to face this season.
Ole Miss junior quarterback Jaxson Dart also played at USC, where he was a teammate of Slovis in 2021.
Slovis played three seasons at USC, then played at Pitt last season before transferring to BYU for his final season of eligibility.
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