GAMEDAY College Football

Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 24

(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

By ERIC W. BOLIN
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - KJ Jefferson threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Trey Knox, and ran for 62 yards and another score to lead No. 19 Arkansas past No. 23 Cincinnati, 31-24.

Jefferson ran for the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter, threw a jump-pass touchdown to Knox in the second and found Jadon Haselwood for another score in the third.

"Seems to me like when the game gets a little tighter, a little closer, when he's really got to take over the game, he's got the knack to do it," Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said of his quarterback. "Seemed to me like most every time we need him to win the game, he makes some kind of play."

Cincinnati was held scoreless in the first half despite four of its seven drives reaching Arkansas territory. Bearcats kicker Ryan Coe missed two field goals, from 25 and 48 yards, and Ben Bryant threw an interception at the Arkansas 20 that ultimately turned into the Razorbacks' first trip to the end zone.

Bryant was better in the second half, leading Cincinnati to scoring drives on its first two possessions of the half.

Trailing by seven points and with the ball on the Razorbacks 39, Bryant was strip-sacked by Jordan Domineck and Arkansas recovered. Jefferson threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Knox two plays later for his fourth score.

Knox, a senior, was a starting wide receiver his freshman year but had just seven catches his sophomore season in Pittman's debut 2020 season. Knox moved to tight end and caught 20 balls as a junior last season.

"He's worked hard at tight end and he believes he's a tight end," Pittman said. "He is. He's a good one."

Knox had six receptions for 75 yards.

Pittman said he asked Knox after his second TD '"You happy you moved to tight end?' Those are special moments because you never know if it's going to work out."

Arkansas running back Rocket Sanders ran for 117 yards on 20 carries for the sophomore's second career 100-yard game.

Bryant, a transfer from Eastern Michigan who wasn't announced as the starter until before kickoff, was 26 of 43 passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns with the one interception. His 15-yard throw to Leonard Taylor with 5:49 left created the final margin. Jefferson completed 18 of his 26 throws to reach his 223-yard mark.

THE PORTAL GIVETH

Most of Arkansas' big plays not involving Knox and Jefferson came from players picked up via the transfer portal. Domineck (Georgia Tech) and Drew Sanders (Alabama) had sacks. Dwight McGlothern (LSU) had Arkansas' interception. Matt Landers (Toledo) started and caught three passes for 43 yards while Haselwood (Oklahoma) had three grabs for 42 yards and the score.

BEAT UP

Cincinnati's rally came in large part because of the passing game. Bryant took advantage of Arkansas losing starting nickel Myles Slusher and starting safety Jalen Catalon late in the second quarter and early in the second half.

The Bearcats' first touchdown came immediately after Catalon, a preseason first-team All-SEC selection and former freshman All-American, left the game.

Pittman said Slusher should be OK going forward, but he was less sure about Catalon. He did not disclose either injury.

THE TAKEAWAY

Arkansas' offense, with Jefferson at quarterback, is SEC worthy. The defense struggled in the second half after losing two starters from the secondary.

Cincinnati had the talent to win the game, but its mistakes were too plentiful against a quality opponent.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter CinArk
Ark TD 6:18 KJ Jefferson 15 yd run (Cam Little kick) 0 7
Second Quarter CinArk
Ark TD 0:17 Trey Knox 5 yd pass from KJ Jefferson (Cam Little kick) 0 14
Third Quarter CinArk
Cin TD 10:59 Corey Kiner 5 yd run (Ryan Coe kick) 7 14
Ark TD 8:00 Jadon Haselwood 19 yd pass from KJ Jefferson (Cam Little kick) 7 21
Cin TD 6:50 Nick Mardner 35 yd pass from Ben Bryant (Ryan Coe kick) 14 21
Cin FG 4:44 Ryan Coe 26 yd FG 17 21
Ark FG 1:28 Cam Little 32 yd FG 17 24
Fourth Quarter CinArk
Ark TD 9:26 Trey Knox 32 yd pass from KJ Jefferson (Cam Little kick) 17 31
Cin TD 5:49 Leonard Taylor 15 yd pass from Ben Bryant (Ryan Coe kick) 24 31
Team Stats
  Cincinnati Arkansas
First downs 24 23
  Rushing 7 11
  Passing 15 11
  Penalty 2 1
3rd Down Efficiency 8-16, 50% 8-16, 50%
4th down efficiency 1-1, 100% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 31-111 45-224
Passing Yards 325 223
Return Yards 66 70
Completions-Attempts-Int 26-43-1 18-26-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 3--30 2--19
Punts 4 6
Punts-Average 46.3 38.5
Fumbles Lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties - Yards 10-65 7-63
Time of Possession 31:24 28:36
Cincinnati Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
B. Bryant 26 43 325 2 1
Arkansas Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
K. Jefferson 18 26 223 3 0
Cincinnati Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Kiner 12 59 4.9 1
C. McClelland 5 44 8.8 0
T. Tucker 1 8 8.0 0
E. Prater 1 8 8.0 0
R. Montgomery 4 7 1.8 0
M. Montgomery 3 4 1.3 0
B. Bryant 5 -19 -3.8 0
Arkansas Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
R. Sanders 20 117 5.9 0
K. Jefferson 18 62 3.4 1
A. Green 3 18 6.0 0
R. Dubinion 2 16 8.0 0
M. Hornsby 1 13 13.0 0
J. Haselwood 1 -2 -2.0 0
Cincinnati Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Scott 5 77 15.4 0
T. Tucker 4 66 16.5 0
C. McClelland 4 42 10.5 0
J. Whyle 5 38 7.6 0
N. Mardner 1 35 35.0 1
J. Thompson 1 28 28.0 0
L. Taylor 3 20 6.7 1
W. Pauling 3 19 6.3 0
Arkansas Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Knox 6 75 12.5 2
M. Landers 3 43 14.3 0
J. Haselwood 3 42 14.0 1
R. Dubinion 1 29 29.0 0
W. Thompson 2 22 11.0 0
R. Sanders 3 12 4.0 0
Cincinnati Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Arkansas Interceptions
Player Int Yards
D. McGlothern 1 51
Cincinnati Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Fletcher 4 185 46.3
Arkansas Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Fletcher 6 231 38.5
Cincinnati Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Tucker 2 37 18.5
Arkansas Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Stephens 1 3 3.0
Cincinnati Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Tucker 1 29 29.0
Arkansas Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Green 1 16 16.0
Cincinnati Missed FG
Player Length
R. Coe 25
R. Coe 48
Arkansas Missed FG
Player Length




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