Fayetteville, AR Story and photos by Mike Price
The Arkansas Razorbacks opened the 2019 season with a win over the Portland State Vikings, 20-13. It was not an impressive victory but there were some bright spots including the swarming defense that caused 3 interceptions and several quarterback sacks and hurries along with a solid rushing attack that racked up 204 yards, including 114 yards for Rakeem Boyd.
Ben Hicks, the transfer from SMU, got the start at quarterback for Arkansas. He missed on several open receivers throughout the game but did a good job of managing the game. Hicks finished 14 out of 29 for 143 yards. Nick Starkel, the transfer from Texas A&M, played for 2 drives in the 2nd quarter. The first drive ended with an interception near the goal line. The second drive ended as time expired in the half.
Arkansas fell behind 3-0 early as Portland State scored on a 50 yard field goal on their first drive. The Hogs answered with a 34 yard field goal from Connor Limpert. The Hogs then held the Vikings to a 3 and out and marched the ball down the field on a 10 play, 64 yard drive capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run by Devwah Whaley. The Vikings added another field goal in the 2nd quarter from 47 yards out to make it 10-6.
The 2nd half started with 3 punts and then the Hogs defense picked off the first play of the Vikings drive and marched it down the field in 12 plays behind some heavy doses of running both Whaley and Rakeem Boyd. Boyd capped the drive with a 2 yard touchdown run.
On the following series, the Vikings faced 3rd and 17 when McTelvin Agim tracked quarterback Davis Alexander down from behind and made the tackle after he had picked up 15 yards but Alexander got hurt on that play and did not return to the game. His backup, Jalani Eason, did come in and lead the Vikings to a touchdown late in the 4th quarter but also threw an interception to wrap up the game.
Arkansas (1-0) goes on the road to Ole Miss (0-1) to open up conference play next Saturday.