FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Bret Bielema's style of football shined in his first game as Arkansas Razorbacks head coach.
The Hogs rushed for 292 total yards Saturday in a 34-to-14 victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in near triple-digit heat.
"I have been very excited, I cant say enough" said Bielema after the game. "What you saw today I have seen all fall camp."
Sophomore running-back Jonathan Williams rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown. His night included a 75-yard run in the third quarter.
"They (offensive line) have been working hard since the spring, they worked hard in the summer and got bigger and stronger to open up those holes," said Williams. "That just comes with being able to play and take more reps in practice and getting a good feel for the offensive line."
Running-back Alex Collins added another yards on 131 yards on 21 carries in his college football debut. The highly-touted freshman from Florida became the first true freshman to rush for more than a 100-yards since Felix Jones in 2005. Williams and Collins became the first Arkansas duo to rush for 100 yards in the same game since all-Americas Darren McFadden and Felix Jones did it in 2007. The two running-backs even have a nickname for the tandem, the "first down boys."
"We came up with that nickname the "first down boys," said Collins. "Every time we touch that ball we want to keep the chains moving."
Arkansas' running game opened up the passing game for sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen. The Fayetteviille native finished 15-of-22 for 230 yards and three touchdowns. He connected on a six-yard and a 49-yard touchdown pass to senior Javontee Herndon in the first half. The Hogs added a Zach Hocker field goal for a 20-7 halftime lead. Allen credited a balanced-attack for the victory.
"It's huge having that big run game that we got going, the offensive line did a great job opening up holes for them," said Allen. "It's a definite confident boost for us to show that we have been working so hard on being a more physical team, a more balanced offense."
The Ragin' Cajuns was selected as the preseason favorite of the Sun Belt Conference. Louisiana's offense never ignited. Junior quarterback Terrance Broadway finished 15-of-28 for 171 yards and a lone touchdown. He found Jacob Maxwell with an 11-yard pass in the end-zone to finish a 75-yard drive middway through the third quarter. That cut Arkansas' lead to 24-14.
Louisiana would not score again. The Ragin' Cajuns threatened early in the fourth quarter. Preseason all-Southeastern Conference selection Chris Smith ended that driver, deflecting a pass into the arms of defensive lineman JaMichael Winston. The Hogs won the turnover battle two-to-one. The defense gave up 274 total yards.
"Our d (defense) took awhile to settle down," said Bielema. "I thought they did a good job against a nice offense."
Zach Hocker's 24-yard field-goal at the end of the half set the school's all-time scoring mark for a kicker with 295 points. Bielema pulled Hocker in the second-half to keep him fresh. The senior has suffered from a groin injury throughout fall camp.
"We got out relatively injury-free," said Bielema. "It's a normal game-week. We'll see where we go."
Arkansas travels to Little Rock Saturday to play Samford University. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.
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