PISCATAWAY, N.J. Bret Bielema once said "people don’t want to play football for four quarters."
Arkansas seemed to be that team in its 28-24 loss to Rutgers Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium.
The Razorbacks were able to use the running game in the fourth quarter to overcome a 21-17 deficit against Samford and solidify a win against Southern Miss in their two previous nonconference games. But against Rutgers, Arkansas could not establish the running game in the final period and blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead.
Arkansas rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Samford to beat the Bulldogs 31-21. Against Southern Miss, the Razorbacks held the ball for 13 minutes, 7 seconds in the final quarter, running the ball 19 out of 20 plays.
Saturday, however, the Razorbacks produced just three yards on the ground in six attempts during the fourth quarter.
Without starting quarterback Brandon Allen, the Razorbacks attempted a season-high 28 passes against the Scarlet Knights. AJ Derby completed 14 of 26 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Punter Sam Irwin-Hill completed a 24-yard pass to long snapper Alan D'Appollonio to convert a fourth down and Jonathan Williams threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry.
Williams and Alex Collins each rushed for at least 100 yards in the first three contests, but as a team, Arkansas combined for just 101 rushing yards Saturday. The Razorbacks gained just three yards on the ground in both the second and fourth quarter.
Collins finished the game with 63 yards rushing on 16 carries (3.9 yards per carry) and Williams was held to 25 yards on 12 attempts (2.1 yards per carry). The tandem entered the game ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, in rushing yards nationally.
Rutgers entered the game ranked fifth in the country in run defense, allowing just 59 yards per game. Arkansas ranked 11th in rush offense prior to the loss.