The No. 20 Razorbacks struck early and often on their way to a 45-10 trouncing of the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Any question that Arkansas was looking ahead to next week’s matchup vs. Texas A&M was answered 2:57 into the ballgame when redshirt junior running back Trelon Smith took the ball 13 yards to paydirt, giving the Hogs an early 7-0 lead.
It was the KJ Jefferson show, as the redshirt sophomore quarterback torched the Eagles’ secondary. He threw for a career-high 366 yards and three touchdowns, while the Arkansas offense accounted for 633 total yards. That is the team’s highest mark since the Hogs gained 661 against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Nov. 19, 2016.
“I think our defense played outstanding and played hard,” Razorback head coach Sam Pittman said in his postgame press conference. “On offense, as long as you can run the ball, you’ve got a chance…Overall, heck of a football game coming off the big win against Texas.”
The two teams traded three-and-outs to end the first quarter, and started similarly in the second quarter, until the Razorbacks turned to their hurry-up offense. The Hogs drove 99 yards on seven plays, ending with Jefferson hitting senior wideout Tyson Morris with a 14-yard strike to put the Hogs up 21-0 with just over eight minutes to play in the half.
Georgia Southern responded quickly with a chunk play of its own. Quarterback Justin Tomlin sprinted 76 yards to score on a play that seemed doomed at the start with the defense in the backfield, but overran the play. The run accounted for about a third of the Eagles’ total yards in the afternoon.
The two teams traded field goals to end the second quarter, and the Razorbacks led Georgia Southern 24-10 going into halftime.
“We’re not playing consistent,” Pittman said on his way to the locker room at halftime. “We let them score 10 (points) in the second quarter. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to be better.”
The Razorbacks wasted little time coming out of the half, scoring twice on Jefferson’s touchdown throws of 60 and 91 yards in the first four minutes of the second half and opening up a 38-10 lead.
The rest of the third quarter was fairly uneventful as the two teams traded three-and-outs, and the Hogs held a comfortable 38-10 advantage entering the final quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Malik Hornsby entered the game to begin the fourth quarter, drawing Jefferson’s career day to a close. Hornsby drove the Hogs down the field and scored from 6 yards out on a quarterback keeper that put Arkansas up 45-10 with 8:22 to play in the game.
The Hogs were dominant on the ground for the second straight week, rushing for 269 yards and three scores as a team. Redshirt freshman Dominique Johnson led all ball carriers with 75 yards — including a 48-yard rush — and one touchdown.
Arkansas will prepare to square off in the Southwest Classic next week against the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It is CBS’s Southeastern Conference game of the week, and is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m.