FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas lost a four-quarter slugfest to BYU 38-31 on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 74,821, the eighth-largest in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback stadium history.
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said this week that his team understood the importance of urgency, which showed in the first four minutes of the first quarter.
Starting in place for the injured Raheim "Rocket" Sanders, Arkansas junior running back AJ Green scored a 55-yard rushing touchdown on the fourth play of the game to give the Hogs an early 7-0 lead.
Shortly after, Arkansas (2-1) built a 14-0 advantage thanks to an 87-yard punt return touchdown by redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaiah Sategna.
But the Cougars (3-0) didn't give in and responded with 21 unanswered points.
Sparked by a 37-yard trick play touchdown, BYU took a 21-14 lead with 12:54 to play in the second quarter when senior quarterback Kedon Slovis found junior tight end Isaac Rex for a 26-yard gain, which set up a one-yard rushing score by freshman running back LJ Martin.
However, just like the first two weeks of the season, the Hogs' defense created momentum and put the offense in position to score points.
Late in the second quarter, redshirt defensive lineman John Morgan III wrapped up Slovis behind the line of scrimmage to force a Cougar punt.
It was the first sack BYU had allowed all season, and the Razorbacks made them pay on their next possession.
Jefferson led the Hogs on a 10-play, 70-yard drive and found freshman tight end Luke Hasz from 19 yards out for his first career touchdown, tying the game 21-21 with 1:43 to go in the first half.
On the ensuing Cougar possession, the Razorbacks' defense came up big again.
Slovis completed a pass to sophomore wide receiver Chase Roberts, but senior defensive back Dwight McGlothern forced a fumble to put Arkansas in excellent field position.
Jefferson connected with Hasz for a 30-yard gain, and the Hogs kicked a field goal with no time left in the first half to take a 24-21 lead.
Arkansas's defense held BYU to a three-and-out to start the third quarter, and Green punched in a seven-yard touchdown to give the Razorbacks a 31-21 lead.
Jefferson threw an interception, the eighth of his career, late in the third quarter, and BYU freshman wide receiver Parker Kingston scored a 20-yard touchdown on the very next play to tie the game 31-31.
The Razorbacks had several chances to respond, but came up short.
Junior Cam Little, an 83% field goal kicker, missed from 49 yards out, which would've given the Hogs the lead.
Slovis and the Cougars regained the lead 38-31 with eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter when the senior quarterback found Roberts for a seven-yard touchdown.
Trying to find an answer, Jefferson fumbled on a potential game-tying drive and couldn't rally in the final two minutes.
Arkansas returns to action on Sept. 23 against LSU for the start of SEC play—coverage from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., begins at 6 p.m. Central on ESPN.