Former Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey returned to Donald W. Reynolds Stadium with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-4, 4-2) and powered his Conference USA team to a 45-19 blowout victory over the Razorbacks (2-8, 0-6) Saturday afternoon.
Storey completed 22 of 32 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball 17 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns in his Fayetteville homecoming.
“It meant the world,” Storey said. “A lot of people here rooting for us, I think I had like 58 tickets that I had to give out.”
Storey, a native of Charleston, Arkansas, threw for almost 1,600 yards, 11 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 116.9 for the Razorbacks in 2018. Those totals are higher than that of 2019 Arkansas junior quarterback Nick Starkel and senior quarterback Ben Hicks. Storey’s 2018 passing touchdown total matches the passing touchdown total of all Arkansas quarterbacks in 2019.
“I commended Ty all week long after watching him,” former Arkansas head coach Chad Morris said. “Obviously, his performance today was on-par. I had the chance to talk to him right after the game and just told him I was proud of him.”
Morris’ decision to start redshirt freshman quarterback John Stephen Jones did not spark a passing offense that has been dry all season. Arkansas quarterbacks completed 9-25 passes for only 87 yards on the day. Jones threw an interception on his second pass attempt and completed 3-10 passes for 27 yards.
True freshman quarterback K.J. Jefferson entered the game with about six minutes left in the second quarter. He played the remainder of the game, excluding one short drive by Jones in the third quarter, who took over because of concerns of an injury to Jefferson’s shoulder.
Jefferson went 6-15 passing for 60 yards and rushed for one touchdown and 57 yards on 16 carries.
Arkansas running back Rakeem Boyd tallied 185 rushing yards, two touchdowns and averaged more than 23 yards per attempt on a season-low eight carries. Both of his touchdowns came on rushes of 76 yards or more. Five of Boyd’s six touchdowns this season have come on rushes of 50 or more yards.
Boyd’s 185-yard day gives him more than 1,000 rushing yards this season despite his low number of touches. The last time Boyd has had eight or fewer carries in a game was Oct. 13 against Ole Miss, when he had seven. Boyd is one of the top running backs in the SEC.
“I was really proud of those guys up front [the offensive line],” Boyd said. “They did really good today, even though I did not touch [the ball] much.”
WKU rushed for 265 yards and four touchdowns and accumulated 478 total yards. The Hilltoppers scored four straight touchdowns during the first and second quarters and led 35-7 at half.
“We’re not going to come in here and make excuses that we fought hard,” Razorback linebacker Bumper Pool said. “You all saw the score.”
Arkansas has now allowed more than 1,200 rushing yards and almost 200 points in its last four games. In those four games, the Hogs have lost by more than 34 points on average.
“It’s going to take some time,” Morris said. “This is not an overnight fix, and we’ve seen that now for two years. We’re all incredibly frustrated.”
On Saturday, after another in a long string of losses, some questioned whether Morris was the right guy to coach the Razorbacks.
“Absolutely, I am the guy,” Morris said. “There’s no question.”
Morris was fired Sunday morning. Barry Lunney Jr., the Razorbacks’ tight ends and special teams coach, was named as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Arkansas plays again in two weeks against No. 2 LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.