FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It wasn't pretty, but Arkansas finished the job against Kent State on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 73,173 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Redshirt junior quarterback KJ Jefferson completed 13 of 19 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns to help the Hogs (2-0) to a 28-6 victory over the Golden Flashes (0-2) in a game where the offense got off to a sluggish start.
Arkansas finished with 308 yards of offense, but had only 14 yards after the first quarter. The Golden Flashes jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with 3:24 to play in the opening quarter after putting together an 11-play, 51-yard drive.
Much like the Razorbacks' season-opening win against Western Carolina on Sept. 2, Arkansas's defense stepped up when the team needed it most.
Despite the Golden Flashes controlling the ball for 27:44, the Hogs held Kent State to just six points and 200 yards.
The Razorbacks' defense generated one turnover, with redshirt senior linebacker Antonio Grier making arguably the most significant play of the game.
Grier, a transfer from South Florida, faked a blitz, dropped into coverage and intercepted redshirt junior quarterback Mike Alamio, returning it for a 35-yard touchdown to put the team ahead 7-3 with 1:12 left in the first quarter.
It was Grier's first play as a Razorback.
Jefferson and the Arkansas offense put together its first quality possession late in the second quarter.
Junior running back AJ Green, who got the starting nod in place of the injured Raheim Sanders, reeled off a 23-yard run.
Green jumped up after being tackled, made a first-down gesture and the Hogs were off and running.
Three plays later, Jefferson threaded the ball between two Kent State defenders to senior wide receiver Isaac TeSlaa for a 36-yard gain, which put Arkansas in scoring position.
Jefferson then found redshirt senior wide receiver Andrew Armstrong wide-open in the back of the endzone from five yards out to give Arkansas a 14-6 lead at the half.
Armstrong finished with four catches for 21 yards and two touchdowns, while TeSlaa led all Razorbacks in receiving with 51 yards on three catches.
Arkansas cleaned things up in the second half and put together a 12-play, 91-yard touchdown drive on its second possession of the third quarter to take a 21-6 lead.
Sophomore running back Rashod Dubinion punched in the one-yard touchdown and finished with 34 yards on 10 carries, while Green recorded a team-high 82 yards on 15 carries.
Following a Kent State punt, the Hogs found the endzone again thanks to a nine-yard touchdown catch by Armstrong to give Arkansas a 28-6 advantage in the fourth quarter.
The Razorbacks' defense put a bow on things, stopping the Golden Flashes on the goal line to seal the victory as the offense ran out the clock.
Redshirt junior linebacker Jaheim Thomas led Arkansas with 12 total tackles, including three solo, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Arkansas returns to action at home against BYU on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Central. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.