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Failed fourth down turns tide against Hogs

by Wally Hall | September 17, 2023 at 2:56 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A razzle dazzle attempt to tie the game faded under a flood of flags, all against Arkansas.

A game it seemed to control until someone's analytics said go for it on fourth and 1 from the 50 while sitting on a 10-point lead in the third quarter.

That failed play didn't cost the Arkansas Razorbacks the 38-31 loss Saturday night, but it hurt because the field goal put some swagger back in the BYU Cougars, who swung the momentum when they scored touchdowns on their next two possessions.

It didn't help either that the home team's scoring was inconsistent.

The Razorbacks scored 24 points in less than six minutes of the first half -- 14 in the first 3:31 and 10 in the the last 1:43 -- and then only seven after that.

The biggest issue may have been the Hogs converting just 2 of 13 third downs.

It outrageous and utter euphoria in the Ozarks in the beginning.

After one possession and one punt return, the Razorbacks led 14-0 and since the O-line did a great job on AJ Green's 55-yard touchdown run, it appeared for the moment great improvement had arrived.

That run gave the Hogs a 7-0 lead before the defense held the Cougars to minus-1 yard on their possession, forcing a punt that initially appeared well covered.

Like a bolt of lightning was chasing him, Isaiah Sategna burst through the front line would-be tacklers, made a couple of cuts and 88 yards later was standing in the end zone and the Razorbacks were up 14-0 on Cam Little's extra point.

There was still 11:29 to play in the first quarter and it appeared the Hogs wouldn't have to sweat it like Alabama did with South Florida or Georgia with South Carolina.

Only someone forgot to send the memo to BYU that it was supposed to be more of a buy game.

Arkansas special teams play was not special and it allowed the Cougars to start consecutive drives at their own 47 twice, the 41 once and the Arkansas 45.

The visitors capitalized twice. The second time they started at their 47 and it was a two-play, 53-yard drive that highlighted when wide receiver Parker Kingston took a lateral, pulled up and threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Deion Smith, who couldn't have been more alone in a thunderstorm.

After Arkansas went three and out on its next possession, the Cougars lined up looking like it was going to be another pass play, just like nine of the first 12 plays, but LJ Martin went 45 yards and a touchdown to tie it at 14-14.

A 19-yard touchdown pass to Luke Hasz tied the game at 21-21.

Arkansas owned most of the second quarter except except for the end zone, but caught a break when Dwight McGlothern forced a fumble that Hudson Clark recovered and that led to a 26-yard field goal and a 24-21 halftime lead, and Razorback fans just happy to be ahead.

Like they did in the first half, the Hogs came out in a hurry and drove 53 yards on four runs for a 31-21 lead.

The defense was on the hunt and made the Coogs punt twice before the Razorbacks failed to convert a fourth and 1 from the 50.

A phantom personal foul penalty moved BYU to the 35, and it had fourth and goal but settled for a field goal. Then lady luck smiled on the visitors when Jefferson threw his first pick of the season and they scored on a 20-yard pass to tie it at 31-31.

After Arkansas missed a 49-yard field goal that bounced off the right upright, the Cougars mounted a 69-yard drive that they twice converted third and long and finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to take their first lead of the game 38-31 with 8:00 left.

A failed fourth-down conversion swung the momentum.

Print Headline: Failed fourth down turns tide against Hogs


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