No. 20 Arkansas 23, Memphis 9
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Clint Stoerner made up for a poor first half with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Michael Williams early in the third quarter as No. 20 Arkansas beat Memphis 23-9 on Saturday.
The Razorbacks (5-0) led 13-3 at the half even though Stoerner completed only 11-of-29 passes. His third straight completion of the second half was good for Williams’ first career touchdown.
On third-and-18, Williams ran a deep sideline pattern. Jeremy Stewart, chasing Williams across the field, swiped at the ball and missed. Williams caught it a couple of yards in bounds at the 30 and turned upfield with clear sailing.
Memphis (0-5) continued to struggle on offense. The Tigers _ No. 111 in rushing and 109th in scoring out of the 112 I-A teams _ had a first down at the Arkansas 9 after a blocked punt and later had a first down at the Arkansas 5 after a couple of pass completions and settled for field goals both times.
Arkansas put away the Tigers midway through the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks kicked the Tigers inside their 5, forced a punt and started from the Memphis 34. A pass interference penalty and a 13-yard burst by Alvin Ray moved the ball to the 8 and Todd Latourette’s third field goal, a 22-yarder, made it 23-6.
A 44-yard pass from Kenton Evans to Damien Dodson reached the Arkansas 5 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers settled for a 32-yard field goal by Ryan White after a motion penalty and a screen pass that lost another five yards.
The victory completed the Razorbacks’ first sweep of their non-conference opponents during the 1990s. Arkansas, playing without leading receiver Anthony Lucas and leading rusher Chrys Chukwuma, was inconsistent on offense. The Razorbacks managed only 43 yards rushing in the first three quarters, including a 19-yard reverse by Hubert Loudermilk and a 13-yard bootleg by Stoerner.
Memphis’ first-half offense consisted of 68 yards and one first down in each quarter _ one on an 18-yard pass from Evans and the other on a 14-yard pass from Evans. He completed only 3-of-15 in the first half and the Tigers failed on their first five third-down opportunities.
Latourette’s career-best 48-yard field goal gave Arkansas a 3-0 lead.
Moments later, Darrius Blevins slipped inside an Arkansas player and blocked a Chris Akin punt that Michael Stone recovered at the 9. Evans lost 4 yards when he stumbled on second down and the Tigers tied it on White’s 21-yard field goal.
Arkansas’ first TD drive began when Stoerner threw to Emanuel Smith for 17 yards on third-and-10. Loudermilk made 19 on his reverse to the 16 and Madre Hill scored over the right side from the 3.
Rossi Morreale recovered Damien Dodson’s fumbled punt at the Memphis 15 in the second quarter, Latourette kicked a 31-yard field goal after Mike McKenzie broke up a pass in the end zone and Loudermilk sneaked a peek at Reginald Howard before dropping a third-down pass.
Hill, who topped 100 yards against Kentucky and Alabama, made 23 yards on 16 carries in the first half and didn’t play in the second half.