PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The first three games of the Bret Bielema era at Arkansas were highlighted by dominant displays in the fourth quarter.
The Razorbacks protected leads by leaning on their offensive line, stringing together long drives that chewed up the clock and wiped out an opponent’s upset hopes.
PISCATAWAY N.J. — For three quarters, the Arkansas defense played well enough to give the Razorbacks a win against Rutgers.
But Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova reminded the Razorbacks it’s a four-quarter game as he rallied the Scarlet Knights from a 17-point deficit for a 28-24 win.
Sam Irwin-Hill, an ambidextrous rugby-style kicker, rolled to his right on fourth down late in the first period then tossed a rainbow pass to the deep snapper — yes, the deep snapper — for a first down. How did it happen? The Razorbacks lined up in an unbalanced line to the left with nobody to the right of Alan D’Apollonio except for a couple of flankers off the line of scrimmage. D’Apollonio was wearing a No. 82 jersey rather than his normal 53, which made him an eligible receiver. The play gained 24 yards to the Rutgers 27 and the drive resulted in Zach Hocker’s 41-yard field goal with 1:51 to go in the quarter, putting Arkansas ahead 3-0.
GARY NOVA: The Rutgers junior quarterback was a thorn in Arkansas’ side for the second straight year. Nova was 22-of-43 for 346 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and two fumbles lost on Saturday. Nova passed 4 yards to Leonte Carroo for the winning score with 5:18 left to play.
JANARION GRANT: A true freshman from Tilby, Fla., Grant showed Arkansas his elusiveness and speed in two big punt returns for Rutgers. His 58-yard return in the third quarter was good for a touchdown and put Rutgers within 10. His 47-yard return in the fourth quarter set up the go-ahead touchdown.