Allen leads Arkansas past La-Lafayette 34-14
Brandon Allen made sure his new head coach made a solid first impression at Arkansas.
Allen was 15-of-22 passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns as Arkansas opened the Bret Bielema era with a 34-14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Allen, taking over as the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks, threw a pair of touchdown passes to Javontee Herndon and helped improve Bielema to 8-0 in his career in season openers
Sophomore Jonathan Williams rushed for 151 yards and freshman Alex Collins added 131 of his own for Arkansas (1-0), which outgained the Ragin' Cajuns (0-1) 522-274 in total yardage. Williams did so on 18 carries while Collins had 21.
Terrance Broadway was 15-of-28 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown for Louisiana-Lafayette, which fell to 0-37 against Southeastern Conference opponents.
The Ragin' Cajuns entered Saturday full of confidence, coming off back-to-back 9-4 seasons that included a pair of wins in the New Orleans Bowl and a near upset of Florida last season.
However, they quickly discovered that the Razorbacks had plenty of confidence of their own under Bielema - who has spent much of the offseason ridding Arkansas of the memories of last season's 4-8 disaster and instilling a new breed of physical football.
The power game was evident on the Razorbacks opening drive, during which they ran the ball eight times and threw it only three on their way to a touchdown. Allen capped the 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with a 6-yard scoring pass to Herndon, who was open after a play-action fake to the other side of the field.
Arkansas finished with 292 yard rushing, surpassing the team's highest total on the ground from all of last season - a 167-yard effort in a loss to Mississippi.
The rushing output was a mirror of the teams Bielema fielded while at Wisconsin, where he led the school to three Rose Bowls.
Williams, who left the game briefly in the first half with an apparent shoulder injury, had the highlight of the game - in a game full of highlights - for the Razorbacks. The sophomore put Arkansas ahead 34-14 midway through the third quarter when he took a handoff to the right and then cut back to the left, scampering 75 yards down the sideline for the score.
While the running attack controlled the action for much of the game for the Razorbacks, it was Allen who shined equally as bright in his first game as Tyler Wilson's heir at quarterback. Allen, who struggled in limited action last season while Wilson was injured - including a start in a 52-0 loss to eventual national champion Alabama - was 11-of-15 passing in the first half for 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Allen's second touchdown was a 49-yard strike to Herndon to put Arkansas up 14-7 early in the second quarter. The pass came after a play-action fake on first down, and Herndon made a spectacular play on the ball - making a one-handed catch with his left hand and cradling it next to his body while falling into the end zone.
Louisiana-Lafayette trailed 20-7 at halftime and appeared to grab the momentum after recovering an Arkansas fumble early in the second half. However, the Razorbacks forced a fumble on the Ragin' Cajuns first play following the turnover.
Allen followed five plays later with his third touchdown pass of the game, a 10-yard pass in the flat to fullback Kiero Small - who avoided one defender and barreled over two more on his way into the end zone.