The warmup acts against Western Carolina and Kent State were ancient history.

On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Arkansas got a rude dose of reality courtesy of BYU, which handed the Razorbacks their 1st loss of the season in a 38-31 thriller that saw the Hogs blow a 10-point lead in the 3rd quarter.

The Cougars (3-0) stayed unbeaten by storming back and stealing one on national TV, scoring the final 17 points of the game, including the winning touchdown with exactly 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Arkansas (2-1) had 1 last chance to tie the game late in the 4th period, driving deep into BYU territory. But its final chance from the Cougars’ 26-yard line was denied, and it only gets harder for the Hogs, who will start the SEC gauntlet next Saturday night at Death Valley against LSU.

Player of the Week

It’s junior running back AJ Green, who piled up 86 yards rushing on just 9 carries, including a 55-yard touchdown run just 1:39 into the game that gave the Razorbacks an early 7-0 lead.

Green added a 7-yard TD run early in the 3rd quarter that gave Arkansas the 31-21 lead that it eventually let slip away by not scoring again.

Green outdid his rushing yards total from the week before against Kent State, when he had 82 yards. His 2 touchdowns on Saturday night were also his 1st 2 of the season.

Freshman of the Week

Tight end Luke Hasz was all over the place in just his 3rd career game at Arkansas. The 6-3 native of Oklahoma caught 4 passes for 78 yards, and his 19-yard touchdown catch from KJ Jefferson tied the game at 21-21 with 1:43 left in the 2nd quarter.

Hasz added a 30-yard catch on Saturday night and now has 9 catches for 123 yards on the young season. He continued to show on Saturday that he can be a dependable part of the passing game, and Jefferson hasn’t been shy about targeting the 1st-year player.

Biggest surprise

Simply put, it wasn’t Jefferson’s finest hour, or 3 hours, on Saturday night. The senior star was very careless with the ball, which certainly contributed to the loss. Jefferson had an interception, and if it was just that 1 interception than maybe things turn out OK for the Hogs and they stay undefeated.

But there were more miscues. Jefferson also fumbled the ball twice and lost 1 of those fumbles. When you consider how close the game was and that Arkansas had a 10-point lead in the 3rd quarter, you have to think that the result might’ve been different had Arkansas’ star quarterback not given the ball back to BYU twice.

Biggest concern

This is an easy one. It was the flood of penalties that the undisciplined Hogs were called for, all 14 of them for a whopping 125 yards. It’s kind of amazing that Arkansas was still in position to win the game late in the 4th quarter, considering the litany of flags.

Those flags helped negate the fact that Arkansas outgained BYU, 424-281, and dominated the time of possession. The Hogs had the ball for more than 35 minutes to just under 25 for the Cougars, but it didn’t matter in the end because Arkansas just kept getting called for penalties. The ridiculous amount of flags or anything approaching 14 penalties can’t continue if the Hogs have any hope of making any kind of dent in the brutally tough SEC West.

Developing trend

The troubling trend on Saturday night was this: Arkansas would take a double-digit lead and then fail to put its foot on the gas pedal and pull away. First, the Hogs roared out of the gates, taking a 14-0 lead early in the 1st quarter to seemingly set the tone for the rest of the night.

But then you blinked, and BYU had scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-14 lead early in the 2nd quarter.

Then you blinked again, and the Hogs had answered right back, scoring 17 unanswered points of their own to take the aforementioned 31-21 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Once again, Arkansas had the chance to seize control for good and get to 3-0, but once again it all came undone, as BYU scored the final 17 points of the game to ruin the night in Fayetteville.

Key stat

We could go with the flood of penalties again here, but instead we’ll point to Arkansas going just 2 for 13 on 3rd down. Seeing so many drives go up in the smoke by not converting enough on 3rd down can ultimately be your downfall, and on Saturday night that 10-point lead the Hogs had would’ve been a lot easier to hold had they held onto the ball a while longer on some of those later drives.

First impression about Week 4

The 1st impression is not a good one for Arkansas, which turns around after the tough loss to the Cougars and heads to Baton Rouge to play suddenly revitalized LSU. While the Hogs will be playing their SEC opener, the Tigers (2-1) played their conference opener on Saturday and rolled to a 41-14 victory at Mississippi State as they continue to put the Florida State loss in the rearview mirror.

Now Arkansas will have to deal with dual-threat quarterback Jayden Daniels and dynamic receiver Malik Nabers, who both had outstanding games against the Bulldogs. And the Hogs will have to deal with them at Death Valley, on a Saturday night and seemingly just as LSU is regaining its footing after the season-opening loss to the Seminoles.