Rapid Reaction: KJ Jefferson throws 5 TD passes in return as Hogs blast BYU
Welcome back KJ Jefferson!
Arkansas and BYU went back and forth throughout the game on Saturday, but it was Jefferson who made the difference in the Hogs’ 52-35 victory over the Cougars on Homecoming at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
In the first meeting between the programs, Jefferson returned to the Arkansas lineup after sitting out a loss at Mississippi State last week and led the Razorbacks to their first win in 4 games. Jefferson threw a career-high 5 TD passes as the Hogs broke a 3-game skid with an impressive showing on offense. Arkansas scored 24 points in the 2nd quarter but didn’t shake the Cougars until the 4th quarter.
Jefferson left the game in the final minutes after taking a hard hit.
After Jefferson threw 5 touchdown passes, “Rocket” Sanders raced 64 yards for a touchdown and the Hogs finally had some breathing room, leading 52-35, early in the final period. Sanders finished with 175 yards.
Ahead 31-21 at the break, it took the Razorbacks just 2 plays to score out of halftime. Jefferson delivered a 39-yard touchdown pass to Matt Landers to increase the lead to 38-28. But BYU quickly answered with a TD of their own to make it a 3-point game. No problem, Jefferson rallied the troops again. calmly and coolly driving the Hogs 75 yards in 12 plays to rebuild the lead to 45-35 on a 5-yard TD pass from Jefferson to Matt Landers.
The teams traded touchdowns in the opening quarter with BYU scoring first. Arkansas answered with an impressive 9-play, 75-yard drive. “Rocket” Sanders completed the march with a 15-yard TD run. BYU scored again to regain the lead but missed the PAT kick, settling for a 13-7 lead after 1 quarter.
The Hogs gained their first lead of the game when Jefferson found Trey Knox in the end zone on a 6-yard scoring strike and Cam Little delivered the PAT kick for a 14-13 edge.
But it was short-lived. The teams continued to go back and forth. BYU went right down the field to regain the lead and added a 2-point conversion for a 21-14 advantage.
Arkansas swung the momentum back in its favor, scoring the next 10 points to take a 24-21 lead by halftime. After Little connected on a 34-yard field goal, the Arkansas defense stopped the Cougars on a 4-th-and-1 from the BYU 34, giving Jefferson a short field.
He took advantage and the Razorbacks grabbed a 24-21 lead on a 4-yard TD pass to Landers.
A Hudson Clark interception gave Arkansas the opportunity to put another score on the board before halftime, and Jefferson did not disappoint. The 240-pounder broke 3 tackles in the pocket on 3rd-and-11, rolled to his right, and completed a 36-yard pass to Trey Knox.
It set up Jefferson’s 15-yard TD pass to Rashod Dubinion and the Hogs enjoyed a 31-21 lead at halftime.