Jefferson leads Arkansas to win
Maumelle’s Chamblee gets off to a dominant ‘start’
It was the KJ Jefferson show Saturday at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium as the Arkansas Razorbacks cruised past Western Carolina, 56-13, in the season-opener.
Jefferson, the senior quarterback, threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns on an 18 for 23 night. He also rushed for a touchdown in three quarters of effort before being replaced by Jacolby Criswel, the North Carolina transfer, who played his high school football at Morrilton.
Jefferson’s performance earned praise from coach Sam Pittman, who said, “you know, he played well.”
Jefferson started the game a perfect 12 for 12 but after the game he was more concerned with the incompletions, then the touchdowns.
“Like I’ve said, there’s always room for improvement,” Jefferson said. “We always want to get better. So we will all go back to the drawing board and correct some mistakes.
“Maumelle High School graduate Andrew Chamblee did indeed start at left tackle for the Razorbacks in the game and was one of four newcomers on the offensive line this season.
Their overall performance drew praise from Jefferson.
“They were really good," he said of the line. "They're starting to gel together and I mean they are always communicating. We meet on the sidelines, they're always talking with each other. Coaching each other up while they're playing. Going over what [the defense] is doing and working together."
Also seeing action from North of the River were defensive linemen Nico Davillier and Quincy Rhodes Jr.
Davillier, a sophomore from Maumelle,, saw action on special teams as well as some spot play at defensive end. That was also true for Rhodes, who played at North Little Rock last year, and is a true freshman.
Rhodes also had a scary moment late in the fourth quarter and got tangled up with a teammate and Western Carolina player. Rhodes hit the turf and stayed there for approximately five minutes while trainers and medical personnel from both teams rushed to his side.
Joining them was Pittman, who came out to check on his player. He addressed the injury in the post-game.
“He hit his head on the ground,” Pittman said. “So, when I got out there he was fine. He wanted to get up the whole time, of course.”
But Pittman said the medical staff was being “very cautious.”
After being on the turf for about five minutes, Rhodes walked off the field under his own power and headed straight for the locker room as his day was over with 1:17 remaining in the game.
Arkansas (1-0) will host Kent State at 3 p.m. next Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. That game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. It will surely have a larger crowd then the announced attendance on Saturday of 44,397 and nearly 10,000 short of a sellout.