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Razorbacks roll to win in historic game
War Memorial Stadium not soldout for first in-state matchup for Hogs since 1944
As games go, it wasn’t dramatic but it was certainly historic as the University of Arkansas football team faced its first in-state opponent since 1944 when the Razorbacks played the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Saturday in Little Rock.
The game’s outcome on Saturday makes one wonder why Arkansas hasn’t been playing more in-state schools, as the Hogs rolled past UAPB, 45-3, in front of a less than full War Memorial Stadium.
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Under former Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles, the Hogs famously didn’t play in-state schools, unless it came in a postseason matchup, like 1987’s basketball game the Razorbacks played against Arkansas State. Times have changed though and Arkansas has faced in-state schools in basketball and baseball in previous seasons.
The bands didn’t compete but performed together at halftime for a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, which wasn’t broadcast and that’s a shame. It was good.
The next time Arkansas plays an in-state opponent will be in 2025 when they will face Arkansas State in a game set for Sept. 6 and will also be played at War Memorial.
Arkansas’s last in-state game was in 1944 when they defeated what is now known as the University of Arkansas at Monticello, 41-0, on Dec. 2, 1944. The Boll Weevils had beaten the Hogs, 20-12, the previous year as both schools had sizable numbers of their respective student bodies in World War II.
Announced attendance for the game was 42,576 on a Saturday that saw almost perfect football weather. Capacity at War Memorial Stadium is 54,120.
A chunk of the Arkansas fanbase stayed on the former golf course beside the stadium, playing cornhole at their tailgates. The game was also nationally broadcast on the SEC Network, and listening along on the radio was another option, so going in wasn’t a necessity.
The fans, who did, got a show.
Arkansas was up 45-0 at the half as the Hogs completely dominated UAPB in all phases of the game as K.J. Jefferson was especially on target as he threw for 194 yards and four touchdowns on a 10 for 17 day.
Jefferson’s primary target was Treylon Burks, who put on a show. The former Warren Lumberjack, had four catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for a touchdown that went for 49 yards.
“Did you watch the game,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said in the post-game press conference, “he was the best player out there.”
As for Burks, he said after the game, “it was good to come home, to put on a show,” for the Little Rock crowd. He also said he wasn’t thinking about his possible professional future, at least not yet.
None of Burks’s scores were the game’s biggest play though. That came courtesy of Nathan Parodi, who returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.
All the players at the post-game press conference noted the return and how much it meant to the team and how excited it made all of them
“It was really exciting,” Pittman said.
With no doubt on the outcome, Pittman brought out reserves for the second half as Malik Hornsby came out to start the third quarter at quarterback while Burks also went to the bench.
After the game he said the coaching staff only played second and third teamers.
The Golden Lions kept it from being a shutout with a field goal with 6:34 remaining in the fourth quarter, as Arkansas was playing clamp down defense.
With the win, Arkansas improves to 5-3 overall, and one win away from being bowl eligible. They’ve got two weeks to get ready for Mississippi State as the Bulldogs travel to Fayetteville on Nov. 6. Kickoff time hasn’t been announced.
UAPB falls to 1-6 overall and will face Texas Southern next Saturday at Houston.
This is the second in-state opponent the Golden Lions have faced this season. They also lost to the University of Central Arkansas, 45-23, on Sept. 18.