Razorbacks are just too much for Alcorn

Published 8:39 pm Saturday, October 1, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Austin Allen has never been a big believer in the Little Rock curse, especially after winning two state high school championships there.

The Arkansas quarterback’s history of success in War Memorial Stadium carried over to Saturday, with his three touchdown passes helping the No. 20 Razorbacks (4-1) put an end to their recent capital city woes with a 52-10 win over Alcorn State.

Arkansas was 1-5 in its last six games in its home away from home.
Much to the delight of the central Arkansas crowd, those struggles didn’t carry over to Saturday. The

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Razorbacks took a 24-0 first-quarter lead and were rarely challenged after that against the Football Championship Subdivision Braves (1-3).

“I’ve always liked Little Rock, even going back to high school I always liked Little Rock,” Allen said. “So, coming here and playing well and getting the win is something the whole program really needed.”

Alcorn State, the back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference champion, was led by quarterback Noah Johnson, who threw for 158 yards and rushed for 55 more. Arron Baker had 85 rushing yards on 13 carries, and Jaborian McKenzie caught seven passes for 88 yards.

The Braves played well — they had 313 yards of offense, including 155 on the ground — but have now lost three consecutive games for the first time since early in the 2012 season.

“Our guys were up for the task that was in front of them. We’ve played in this stadium before and that helped. We stopped here yesterday for our walkthrough and our guys were ready,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “We did some great things today, but Arkansas was playing at a different speed and at a different strength. We knew coming in that we were going up against an SEC team but our guys fought.”

Alcorn trailed 24-7 late in the first half and had a chance to get within two scores. Johnson completed a 39-yard pass to Jalen Walker down to the 1-yard line with nine seconds left, but a bad shotgun snap resulted in a fumble that Arkansas recovered.

“I wish we could get that play back,” McNair said. “It was a big swing going into the half. It was just a breakdown on what we were trying to do and we couldn’t get the snap. It would have been huge going in with 14 points.”

Allen finished with 206 yards through the air and completed 13 of 18 passes. The junior now has 10 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four games.

He had plenty of help on Saturday, with running backs Devwah Whaley and Rawleigh Williams each topping the 100-yard rushing mark. Whaley finished with a career-high 135 yards on just nine carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Williams had 126 on 13 carries.

Jared Cornelius added a pair of touchdown catches, and safety Henre’ Toliver added a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown — the third time Arkansas’ defense has returned an interception for a score this season.

“Pick 6s are always nice, and to have three of them this year (is nice),” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “… Either on an interception, a fumble recovery or a blocked field goal, we have the athletic advantage going the other way, and obviously they’ve created it and made it happen.”