Jefferson throws 5 TDs, leads Arkansas to win over BYU

Oct 15, 2022, 4:41 AM | Updated: 6:20 pm
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) throws a pass against BYU during an NCAA college football gam...

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) throws a pass against BYU during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Provo, Utah. (Ben B. Braun/The Deseret News via AP)

(Ben B. Braun/The Deseret News via AP)

PROVO, Utah (AP) — KJ Jefferson threw for 367 yards and a career-high five touchdowns to lead Arkansas to a 52-35 victory over BYU on Saturday.

Raheim Sanders added a career-high 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground for Arkansas (4-3), which snapped a three-game losing streak after rolling up 644 total yards on the Cougars.

“It was a must-win game for us, and I think that showed today,” Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool said. There’s a lot of things that we had to change on the fly, especially in the first half.”

Third-down efficiency contributed greatly to fueling the Razorbacks’ potent offensive showing. Arkansas went 12-of-15 on third down.

“We put a lot of emphasis on starting fast on third down as well,” Jefferson said. “Look at all our games before this one: 3-and-out, 3-and-out, not being able to convert. Now just with the way we’re running practice, now putting big emphasis on it, everybody is buying into third down and moving the chains.”

Jaren Hall threw for a career-high 356 yards and three touchdowns to lead BYU (4-3). Puka Nacua had 141 receiving yards and Kody Epps added a career-high 125 receiving yards for the Cougars. Nacua also scored three touchdowns.

BYU tallied 471 total yards, but the Cougars lost their second straight game after repeatedly allowing quick scoring drives and committing three turnovers.

“What’s frustrating is losing the turnover battle because that’s not our identity,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “We’re focused on taking care of the football, and I didn’t feel like we did well enough at that today.”

BYU cut the deficit to 38-35 on a 33-yard catch by Nacua in the third quarter. Arkansas rallied with back-to-back touchdowns – culminating in a 64-yard scamper down the sidelines by Sanders – that extended its lead to 52-35 early in the fourth.

“Arkansas didn’t do anything to get us out of our game plan, and we knew we were coming in for a shootout, but there were struggles with execution in all phases of the game,” Nacua said.

Hall picked apart the Arkansas defense early in the first half. He threw a pair of first quarter touchdown passes to give the Cougars a 13-7 lead. Nacua’s 31-yard grab along the sideline on 4th-and-8 set up the first score. Epps dashed in for BYU’s second touchdown on a 21-yard catch-and-run.

The Razorbacks answered both touchdowns and seized a 14-13 lead early in the second quarter after Jefferson completed seven straight pass attempts, culminating in a 6-yard toss to Trey Knox.

BYU regained a 21-14 lead on a 5-yard run by Nacua but then lost momentum for good on back-to-back turnovers.

Hall fumbled the snap on fourth down at the BYU 34, setting up a go-ahead touchdown for the Razorbacks on a 4-yard grab by Matt Landers. Then, after Hall threw an interception to Hudson Clark, Arkansas extended its lead to 31-21 before halftime on a 15-yard catch by Rashod Dubinion – the third touchdown pass for Jefferson in the second quarter.

“That was the big turning point in the game because, let’s face facts, we hadn’t been able to stop them,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “We get it, and we go right down and score.”


Arkansas: The Razorbacks shook off a slow start and scored on eight consecutive drives extending deep into the fourth quarter. Arkansas ran 82 total plays and averaged 7.9 yards per play. Jefferson racked up five touchdown passes over the second and third quarters.

BYU: The Cougars took a half before they generated any consistent production in the run game. BYU tallied just 29 rushing yards on 11 running plays before halftime. Then, in the third quarter, the Cougars rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.


Arkansas visits Auburn on October 29th.

BYU visits Liberty next Saturday.


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

MLBPA keeps Clark, extends executive director through 2027

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Major League Baseball Players Association has voted to extend the contract of executive director Tony Clark through 2027. The 50-year-old Clark — who had a 15-year big league career, mostly with the Tigers and Diamondbacks — helped broker the players’ current labor deal with MLB. After several contentious months of […]
16 hours ago
FILE - New York Knicks guard Kemba Walker (8) dribbles up the court during the second half of an NB...
Associated Press

Mavs unclear on timeline for Walker as 4-time All-Star signs

DALLAS (AP) — The timeline for Kemba Walker to contribute for the Dallas Mavericks is uncertain as the four-time All-Star joins a roster in need of playmaking help behind superstar Luka Doncic. Walker went unsigned the first six weeks of the season before the 32-year-old guard was officially added by Dallas on Tuesday. Plagued by […]
16 hours ago
Southern California head coach Lincoln Riley stands on the sideline during the second half of an NC...
Associated Press

Trojan transformation: Lincoln Riley’s remarkable fix at USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Lincoln Riley took over Southern California’s four-win football program one year ago this week, the coach stood on the top rim of the Coliseum and boldly declared his Trojans should be competing for championships right away. Riley chuckled Tuesday when he was reminded of that exhilarating time in his life […]
16 hours ago
United States' Weston McKennie (8) celebrates after teammate Christian Pulisic scoring a goal durin...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 10

Highlights from the 10th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: and Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 days ago
Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi, right, reacts while the players of the United States celebrate at the end o...
Associated Press

Pulisic goal advances US in World Cup with 1-0 win over Iran

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic kicked the ball, scored the goal and then crashed into the goalkeeper in a collision that sent the American star to the hospital and the United States into the second round of the World Cup. More than an hour later, he contacted his teammates by FaceTime to join the […]
2 days ago
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze, center, gets ready to take the field with his team to play Arkansas...
Associated Press

Hugh Freeze asks Auburn fans for ‘chance to earn your trust’

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Hugh Freeze’s checkered past in the Southeastern Conference means he’ll have to win more than just games. He’ll also have to win over Auburn fans. Freeze’s return to the league more than five years after his scandal-plagued exit was greeted by considerable backlash on social media from wary fans. The former […]
2 days ago
Jefferson throws 5 TDs, leads Arkansas to win over BYU