Live Blog: Arkansas vs. Cincinnati

Live Blog: Arkansas vs. Cincinnati

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks are no Notre Dame, but that’s a good thing.

Last season Cincinnati knocked off Notre Dame and rode that victory, along with a handful of other Top 25 wins, to a College Football Playoff appearance. The No. 23 ranked Bearcats brought a salty team into Fayetteville looking to make another statement against an Arkansas team thought capable of making noise in the SEC West this season.

However, it wasn’t meant to be. A slew of untimely penalties, balls that always bounced the Razorbacks’ way, and physical play on both sides of the ball allowed Arkansas to power through for its first season-opening win over a ranked team since 1975 with a 31-24 victory.

Below is our live blog account of how the action unfolded.

A Beautiful Day

There were worries rain might be a factor in today’s game. While there are clouds in the area just under two hours before kickoff, it’s fun in the sun once the game kicks off.

The good news for Razorback fans in the stands, it will be a relative cool game for the first weekend of September with a high of 84 degrees. 

Razorback Stadium-Cincinnati

New this year

One thing we have added this year is from time to time throughout the game we will give video from All Hogs reporter Andy Hodges live from Razorback Stadium.

On College Game Day today, the full panel picked Arkansas to win except Kirk Herbstreit and guest picker, rapper Jack Harlow. Keep in mind, they were in Ohio for the show.

Cincinnati Quarterback

Luke Fickell has named Ben Bryant the starting quarterback today. For those of you wanting to know more about what to expect from him today, you can read about him here.

Report from the field

Before we get started, let’s hear from All Hogs Managing Editor Andy Hodges from the field at Razorback Stadium.

Official Kickoff Time

Arkansas and Cincinnati will officially kick at 2: 40 p.m.

1st quarter

1Q, 0-0 (15: 00)

KJ Jefferson to Jadon Haselwood gets the Hogs to midfield, but Pittman opts to not go for it on 4th down.  Arkansas punts to Cincinnati after a decent first drive.

(11: 55)

Arkansas defense looked as if it had the Bearcats held deep in Arkansas territory, but a run by Ryan Montgomery gives Cincinnati just enough yardage to get the first down to keep the drive alive.

(9: 40)

Bumper Pool is all over the field. He drops Montgomery for a 2-yard loss to set up 3rd&5. 

(9: 00)

Arkansas got pressure up the middle and flushed Bryant out of the pocket, which is something he doesn’t like to do. He was met two yards short by the Hogs Drew Sanders, but didn’t go down. Linemen got behind him and pushed him across for the first down.

NOTE: Arkansas cornerback Hudson Clark has been shaken up and is out of the game. Malik Chavis is in for him.

Big play alert

LSU transfer Dwight McGlothern makes his presence known immediately by stepping in front of a Ben Bryant pass at the Arkansas 20 and picking it off. He returns it 50 yards to the Cincinnati 30-yard line.

Dwight McGlothern-Cincinnati

Arkansas Razorbacks cornerback Dwight McGlothern sets sail down the field after picking off a pass, gaining 51 yarads to set up a KJ Jefferson scoring run and an early 7-0 lead.

090322-Fans-Cincinnati-mm

Big play Alert

1Q, 7-0 (6: 18)

Jefferson finds Matt Landers for a key first down, then runs off tackle, slips a defender, and gets a key block by Landers on the edge to run for a 15-yard touchdown into the left corner of the end zone to put the Hogs up. Arkansas 7, Cincinnati 0

Random note of the game: 

Apparently real life Bearcats have a type of molecule in them that makes them smell like cooked popcorn.

(5: 12)

Defensive lineman Terry Hampton splits a double-team to get a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on Korey Kiner.

(4: 38)

Bryant tries to throw over the middle on 3rd & 15, but receiver slips and narrowly avoids another interception. The pressure up front seems to have him a little rattled.

Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant appears has already thrown one pick and almost threw a second as Arkansas forced a punt on 4th & 15.

Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant appears has already thrown one pick and almost threw a second as Arkansas forced a punt on 4th & 15.

(4: 00)

On 2nd & 7 Jadon Haselwood drops a pass behind the line of scrimmage from Jefferson. He scoops it off the ground and manages to avoid the turnover while managing to only lose two years.

(3: 08)

Arkansas forced to punt, but gets called for false start. Arkansas freshman punter, Max Fletcher, whose brother is the Cincinnati punter, has his punt sail out of bounds near midfield. Both brothers have come all the way from Australia to play against each other.

(2: 45)

Jalen Catalon gets a 15-yard penalty for hitting a Cincinnati game below the waist. Replay showed it was more at the belt, but Tunstall laid on the ground as if his knee had been torn. However, he was out for one play once the penalty was called and immediately came running back in.

(0: 18)

The Bearcats drive to the Arkansas 7-yard line, but the defense holds and the 24-yard field goal sails wide right. Razorbacks take over at their own 7-yard line.

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman smiles as his defense holds Cincinnati scoreless in the first quarter.

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman smiles as his defense holds Cincinnati scoreless in the first quarter.

End of 1st Quarter, Arkansas 7, Cincinnati 0

Divider

2nd quarter

2Q, 7-0 (15: 00)

Cincinnati held the ball for 10: 28 of the first quarter. 

Cincinnati leads in total yards 92-80.

Jefferson’s 16-yard run to end the first quarter sets Arkansas up at their own 36-yard line.

(14: 50)

Rocket Sanders appeared to have a big run to open the quarter, but a holding call by Trey Knox leads to it being called back. Things are starting to get chippy in the field. Sanders took a cheap shot on the next play and the fans let them hear it after no flag thrown.

(13: 11)

After netting -1 yards on the drive, Arkansas must punt. Fletcher gets a much better punt off this time for 40 yards to flip the field at the Cincinnati 25.

(12: 25)

Bryant hits Tre Tucker for 25 yards to get Cincinnati to midfield. Tucker fumbled, but Arkansas couldn’t recover. On the following play Bryant had Tyler Scott wide open after beating McGlothern deep, but missed on the throw.

(11: 23)

Cincy punter Mason Fletcher pins Arkansas deep at their own three. Sanders barely made it out of the end zone to avoid the safety on the ensuring play.

(11: 04)

No worry about a safety this time. Sanders through a huge hole for 26 yards to the 29-yard line. Jefferson fumbles while scrambling on the following play. The ball bounces back into his hands for a 6-yard gain.

(10: 02)

Facing 3rd & 4, Arkansas turns to running back A.J. Green who cuts up the middle for six to the just shy of the 37-yard line. Hogs are now in field goal range.

Hold your breath

Jefferson driven into the ground on a pass and was very slow to get up. Hornsby comes into the backfield to take the snap while Jefferson lined up outside. Looks like Jefferson is headed to the tent. He took a hard shot to the ribs on that tackle.

(7: 45)

Cincinnati starts at the Arkansas 20. Bryant almost threw his third interception of the day. 

(7: 02) 

Sanders takes down Bryant for a six-yard loss for his first sack as a Razorback forcing a Cincinnati punt.

(6: 32)

Arkansas starts at their own 32. The offense has struggled. Jefferson is back on the field. Has handed off on first two plays. 

(5: 10)

Jefferson scrambles and finds Warren Thompson in the flat for a first down to put Arkansas just shy of the 40.

(4: 21)

Jefferson comes up way short on sideline pass to Haselwood. Receiver slipped trying to get back to it, but it was several yards short. With the hit he took to his ribs, keeping an eye on passes coming up short will become necessary for Arkansas fans. Hogs will need to punt.

(4: 03)

Charles McClelland rips off 35-yard run to get Cincy near midfield.

Injury alert

Myles Slusher attempts to make a tackle out of the backfield. He lead with his head, which is never good. He immediately went to the ground and stopped moving. The replay looks like a neck injury, but we’re not doctors. It’s very serious though. If you are a praying person, this is the time. It looks bad. If Slusher comes out of this with only a concussion that will be best case scenario considering the way the hit was delivered.

Slusher has been helped of the field. He looks out of it.

(2: 35)

Bearcats go for it on 4th & 2. Bryant able to hit Will Pauling in the flat to get the first down. He was all alone.

(1: 24)

Bryant tries to hit a shot deep middle in tight coverage. Pass was perfectly on the hands, but Hudson Clark reached over from behind and knocked the ball away to give Arkansas a chance get a hold here at the end of the half.

(1: 19)

Bryant missed a relatively open receiver badly. Bearcats opt to kick the 48-yard field goal. The ball had a ton of distance, but it clanked off the right upright. Hogs take over at their own 30.

(1: 08)

Jefferson makes a beautiful throw down the left sideline. He hit Landers in tight coverage, but it’s knocked away at the last second. 

(0: 37)

Sanders gets Arkansas across midfield for the first time in forever. Arkansas takes a time out to play for 3rd & 1 and what to do if they don’t get it to give Cam Little a chance at a field goal to close the half.

(0: 30)

Sanders slips around the right edge after nothing was open up the middle. That 37-yard run gets Arkansas down to the Bearcat 5-yard line with 22 seconds and two timeouts.

Big Play Alert

Arkansas makes Cincinnati pay for not hitting the field goal with 22 seconds in the half. It wasn’t pretty, but Jefferson faked a run up the middle then flipped a jump ball to Trey Knox. Knox was well covered. If it’s even a little bit shorter there is no catch. Arkansas 14, Cincinnati 0

Trey Knox-Cincinnati

Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Trey Knox catches a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback KJ Jefferson in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Razorback Stadium on Saturday.

(0: 17)

Kiner injured after an Arkansas player hit him late. He was then shoved to the ground by Arkansas defensive lineman Cameron Ball while Kiner tried to limp off. Not a good look by Arkansas as we head into the half.

End of 1st Half – Arkansas 14, Cincinnati 0

Halftime Stats

Passing:  

Cincinnati 92, Arkansas 78

Rushing: 

Cincinnati 87, Arkansas 146

Total Offense: 

Cincinnati 179, Arkansas 224

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Individual Rushing leaders:

Cincinnati:

Charles McClelland 2-39-0

Corey Kiner 6-37-0

Arkansas:

Rocket Sanders 10-82-0

KJ Jefferson 7-54-1

Individual Passing leaders:

Cincinnati:

Ben Bryant 12-20-92-0-1

Arkansas:

KJ Jefferson 9-15-78-1-0

Individual Receiving leaders:

Cincinnati:

Jadon Thompson 1-28-0

Tre Tucker 1-25-0

Arkansas:

Matt Landers 2-37-0

Warren Thompson 2-22-0

Halftime notes:

The Arkansas offense struggled mightily the first half. There is no rhythm in the passing game. Until Jefferson led the Razorbacks on a long drive in the final minute following a field goal that clanked off the right goal post, there was no life in the Hogs’ offense.

For Cincinnati, Bryant will need to get it together from a mental standpoint. The defensive line for Arkansas, which was expected to have difficulty against a highly experienced and physical Bearcat offensive line, has kept Bryant on edge. Cincinnati is fortunate to have not given up three interceptions instead of one. 

The Bearcats will need to figure it out on special teams. In shades of last year’s Mississippi State game, Cincinnati missed a short field goal that should have been a chip shot and narrowly missed a 48-yarder that had a ton of distance. If those go through it’s 7-6 at the half instead of 14-0. Special teams may come back to haunt the Bearcats.

Halftime Report from the Box

Let’s head up to the box in Razorback Stadium to get observations from All Hogs managing editor Andy Hodges.

Divider

3rd quarter

3Q, 14-0 (15: 00)

(13: 25)

Bryant comes out in a bit of a rhythm in the passing game as he marches Cincinnati to the Arkansas 38 with a pair of completions.

(12: 54)

Bryant is on fire. He’s chipping away at the Hogs with a pair of short passes. Mix in a penalty for defensive holding on the Arkansas secondary and the Bearcats have moved to the Hogs 20.

(12: 39)

Bryant has Tyler Scott wide open in the end zone. The pass sails just a little, causing Scott to twist around. The ball hit is hands, but he couldn’t make the catch. As we said in the scouting report, Bryant loves the short passing game. It’s his bread and butter.

Injury alert

Catalon missed a tackle on Bryant and went to the ground. It didn’t look like anything big, but he stayed on the ground and came off the field with his right arm hanging awkwardly. Remember, the losing streak last year started when Catalon went out.

Big Play Alert

Kiner plants hard on a run up the middle and carries Razorbacks into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and Cincinnati is right back in it. Arkansas 14, Cincinnati 7

(10: 50)

Arkansas starts the drive at their own 25. After a pair of running plays with minimal success. Jefferson threads a pass into Knox on super tight coverage.

(9: 59)

Wow! Rashad Dubinion just got on every Razorback fan’s radar by turning that swing pass into a 35-yard reception. Amazing speed and feet.

Big Play Alert

Jefferson throws a perfect pass into triple coverage for a Haselwood touchdown as Arkansas gets a much needed answer to the Cincinnati touchdown. Huge answer from the Hogs to keep the pressure off themselves. Arkansas 21, Cincinnati 7

Injury alert

Arkansas has now lost its third member of the secondary. Jadon Johnson has to be helped off the field at a time where Bryant is finding his rhythm.

Big Play Alert

Bryant immediately takes advantage of the injury and caps a 3-play, 70-yard drive with a perfectly thrown deep pass to Nick Mardner for a 35-yard touchdown. He began the drive with a 30-yard pass to Scott. Bryant is feeling and the lack of players left in the secondary is starting to affect the Hogs. Arkansas 21, Cincinnati 14

Big Play Alert

On Hogs’ first play of the drive, the snap is fumbled at the 3-yard line. Bearcats recover and take over in the shadow of the goal line.

(6: 32)

Bearcats have pair of pre-snap penalties that back them up the 13-yard line. 

(6: 15)

Cincinnati gets a third penalty, this time a delay of game, and now 1st & Goal at the three has turned into 2nd & Goal at the 18. An incomplete pass follows to force 3rd & Goal.

(5: 22)

Bryant hits a pass to Tucker at the four and Fickell decides to go for it. However, the loudness of the crowd causes a second delay of game an it’s now a 26-yard field goal. Considering the momentum Cincinnati had when it recovered the ball at the 3-yard line, giving up a field goal would be a massive win for the Arkansas defense.

Big Play Alert

Kicker Ryan Coe finally knocks through a field goal. Arkansas 21, Cincinnati 17

(3: 36)

Jefferson throws perfect ball to Sanders in tight coverage on the wheel route. Defender grabbed Sanders by the shoulder to prevent a catch that was still almost made. Pass interference called and the Hogs are at midfield.

(3: 20)

Jefferson throws low to a wide open Sanders who makes the catch but falls down while scooping it up. There was nothing but open cow pasture ahead if the throw is able to get there in a reasonable location.

(2: 30)

Jefferson with a big 10-yard run followed shortly by a big 15-yard run by Sanders that puts him over 100 yards with 109 yards on 15 carries.

Big Play Alert

The Arkansas drive stalled in the shadow of its own end zone, but Cam Little knocks down a 32-yard field goal to extend the Razorback lead. Arkansas 24, Cincinnati 17

Big Play Alert

Bryant hits McClelland on a deep pass to the Arkansas 18-yard line. Receivers are running free against what’s left of this Arkansas secondary. The defense responded with a violent hit by Landon Jackson and Zach Wiliams on Bryant that knocked his helmet off, making him at least the 10th Cincinnati player to lose his head gear.

END OF 3RD QUARTER – ARKANSAS 24, CINCINNATI 17

Divider

4th quarter

4Q, 24-17 (15: 00)

(13: 47)

After a long drive, Cincinnati set up for what would have been a 53-yard field goal. Instead, the Bearcats got another delay of game call that had Fickell slobbering in anger along the sideline at his team costing itself points. On the ensuing punt, the execution was perfect as Fletcher pinned the Hogs on the 1-foot line. However, a Bearcat lined up illegally, negating a tremendous special teams play.

(13: 30)

Arkansas begins this drive just inside their 10-yard line. AJ Green has made his way back into the game at tailback hoping to at least give the Hogs some breathing room.

Big Play Alert

After the Razorbacks managed a first down to get room, Jefferson took one of the few blindside sacks he’s ever taken. He then is tackled for what looked like a safety, but referees rule forward progress was stopped at the 1-yard line.

(10: 50)

Jefferson scrambles in the end zone and zips a pass over the middle to Knox for 22 yards to give Fletcher a reasonable chance at a flipping the field on a punt.

Big Play Alert

Tucker breaks free up the middle on the punt return and finds a seam for 30 yards to the Arkansas 37-yard line and the Bearcats are one pass away from tying this thing. It will be on the defense once again to come up with a big play.

Big Play Alert

Well that didn’t take long. Once again, the defense saves the Razorbacks’ bacon. Senior defensive lineman Jordan Domineck not only sacks Bryant at the 49-yard line, he knocks the ball free and scoops it up on the run, but falls. 

Big Play Alert

It has been a jarring last minute for Cincinnati. Jefferson hits two big passes off the turnover. The first was a 17-yarder to Haselwood, followed by a 32-yard touchdown pass to Knox. Knox caught the ball in the flat and looked like a defender had a bead on him, but freshman tight end Ty Washington executed a perfect block that cleared a lane along the sideline. That was all Knox needed to make the sprint along the sideline. 

Knox has been a puzzle the Bearcats can’t solve. He’s big and plays like a center in basketball backing someone down at time, but still has the speed and hands of the promising receiver he came in as before Pittman asked him to mold himself into a tight end. Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 17

(7: 17)

Bryant is ripping apart this depleted Arkansas secondary this half. He has completed passes of 18 and 23 to Bryant to get the Bearcats down to the Arkansas 16.

Big Play Alert

Bryant is patient in the pocket and rips a shot over the middle to Leonard Taylor for an easy touchdown catch. This is starting to feel like the North Carolina-App State game from earlier today. Buckle up. We’re in for a crazy finish. Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 24

Big Play Alert

Cincinnati had everything covered on 3rd & 9 with pressure on Jefferson. However, he found a way to escape the pocket and weave his way for just enough yards to get a first down and keep the ball out of the Bearcats hands. Now it’s time to run, run, run and eat clock for the Hogs.

(2: 15)

Dubinion pulls off his second impressive run of the season and it may have sealed the win by blowing through tacklers for 13 yards while putting Arkansas in field goal range if they can’t run out the clock with this new set of downs.

(0: 39)

As KJ Jefferson ran around just long enough to make it possible for Arkansas to run out the clock on what has been a tight game, a skirmish broke out. For those who didn’t notice, Pittman was immediately out in the middle of it yelling at his players to not get caught up in anything that would cost the team in the closing seconds.

FINAL: ARKANSAS 31, CINCINNATI 24

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Arkansas Divider

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