Long plays, Allen light up scrimmage.
FAYETTEVILLE — Austin Allen passed for 305 yards, and La’Michael Pettway and Chase Hayden combined for three plays of 65 or more yards to highlight the Arkansas Razorbacks’ 140-play scrimmage Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Allen completed 19 of 23 passes, including a 65-yard hookup with Pettway on which the sophomore receiver was dragged down at the 1 by freshman cornerback Kamren Curl.
Allen called it a good first scrimmage.
“I liked how the offense clicked and how hard we
played,” he said. “I really loved the third-down sequence where we hit, I think, 10 of 12 third downs. We played really well. Played clean. Didn’t turn the ball over.”
Pettway also caught a 67yard touchdown pass from Allen after getting past Curl over the middle and drawing a penalty in the process. Pettway, who had two touchdown catches Thursday during redzone work, finished with five receptions for a team-high 165 yards.
“Me and Austin had that connection today, and the O-line gave him just the right amount of time,” Pettway said. “He put it up, 50-50 balls, and even going across the middle I made some contested catches, so overall a pretty good day.”
Coach Bret Bielema said Pettway must keep showing consistency.
“He made a couple of ridiculous catches,” Bielema said.
“The arrow’s up. I’d buy a lot of stock. We just have to finish it off.”
The play of the day belonged to freshman Koilan Jackson, who brought in a one-handed deep ball from Carson Proctor for a 45-yard touchdown while running against starting cornerback Ryan Pulley down the right sideline.
The first-team defense, running mostly from its base 3-4 scheme, did a solid job holding down the reserves on offense with a few exceptions.
The freshman tailback Hayden broke loose on a run up the middle and broke down the left sideline for a 65-yard gain before Henre Toliver nudged him to the boundary at the 9. While an official ruled Hayden out of bounds, the tailback was apparently awarded a touchdown on the play. Connor Limpert added the extra point.
“When you give up big plays, you put yourself at risk of losing football games,” defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said. “That was a
strange play, that big run, because we had it defended very well, but he made a great play.”
Hayden wound up with 16 carries for 112 yards.
“Really, the O-line did a great job today,” Hayden said. “They’re the two deep, so that just shows the depth we have. They were opening up a lot of holes for me.”
Running with the first offense, Devwah Whaley rushed for 72 yards on 19 carries. David Williams added 58 yards on 12 attempts.
Allen completed his first five passes before tight end Jack Kraus had a pass over the middle go right through his hands.
Allen completed nine consecutive passes for 150 yards shortly thereafter.
Offensive coordinator Dan Enos talked up the sharpness of his starting quarterback.
“I love the way Austin played,” Enos said. “I loved his poise and his pocket posture and demeanor. I like the way he was getting off his first and getting to his second and third guys. He was very quick and decisive.”
The offensive coaches said the first unit needed to be more productive in the running game.
“I thought the first offensive line pass protected very well,” Enos said. “We ran the ball good, not great. We need to get better in that area. We dropped too many balls. So we have to be more consistent there.”
Rhoads’ first impression was on the most fundamental aspect of defense.
“We tackled well,” he said. “For the first time tackling since April, that’s pleasing. We don’t go to the ground much. Matter of fact, we’ll probably only go to the ground two more days before the opener.
“To press upon them the importance of what they’re doing in tackling drills and in nonlive practice situations, and then to go out there and execute it was very pleasing to us.”
The starting defense posted five sacks, two from Randy Ramsey, who had a strip-sack by swatting the ball free from backup quarterback Cole Kelley. But the starters also missed a couple of shots at interceptions on tipped passes.
“For the first scrimmage, I believe it’s a good start,” safety Santos Ramirez said. “We stopped the run pretty well besides the one big run by Chase.”
Said Toliver: “We did good today as a defense. We did what the coaches asked of us, we made plays. I think it was a win today for the defense.”
Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen passed for 305 yards, completing 19 of 23 passes, during the Razorbacks’ 140-play scrimmage Saturday in Fayetteville.