The following notes are from BYU's 38-31 victory over Arkansas on the road.
ALUMNI FLAGS: Daniel Marquardt (DL, 2001-05), Vincent Xanthos (OL, 2001-03)
TEAM FLAGS: USA: Raider Damuni (S), Sione Veikoso Tribute: Logan Lutui (DE)
BYU defensive tackle and Arkansas native Caden Haws also carried a special flag for Arkansas Razorback football alums Ryan Mallett and Alex Collins who passed away and presented it to the Arkansas team in pregame.
SERIES RESULTS: 1-1
Attendance: 74,821 (8th largest at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium)
- BYU overcame a 14-point deficit, the largest under Kalani Sitake. Previously, BYU came back from down 12 at Houston in 2020 (26-14) and won 43-26.
- SEC Country
- BYU is 4-3 on the road against SEC Teams, with wins over Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas. Overall, the Cougars are 5-7 against SEC teams.
- Road Openers
- BYU has won its first road game in each of the last six seasons.
- A Game of Runs
- Arkansas started the game with 14 straight points, followed by 21 from BYU, 17 from Arkansas and 17 from BYU to close it out.
- Third Down
- Last season, BYU surrendered 12 of 15 on third-down conversions to the Razorbacks while tonight the Cougar defense held Arkansas to just 2 of 13 on third down. Arkansas entered the game ranked No. 17 in third down conversions at 55.6 percent.
- BYU was outgained total offense (424-281), passing (247-204), rushing (177-77) first downs (21-17) tackles for loss (9-6), total plays (74-57) and time of possession (33:15-24:50).
- The Cougars won the turnover battle (2-1), sacks (4-3), third down conversions (4-13 to 2-13). Arkansas committed 14 penalties for 125 yards to BYU’s 7 penalties for 45 yards.
- Parker Kingston
- Kingston threw his first career pass, a 37-yard TD to RB Deion Smith in the first quarter.
- He had a 46-yard kick return in the first quarter, topping his previous long of 41 yards last week against Southern Utah.
- Kingston also scored his first career TD on a 20-yard catch and run screen pass in the third quarter.
- Kingston is just the 7th BYU player to throw and catch a touchdown in the game game.
- RB LJ Martin
- Martin scored his first career touchdown on a 45-yard run in the first quarter. It was the longest run to date in his career and longest run for BYU in 2023 (His previous long of 21 yards led the team).
- Martin’s second TD (1-yard first quarter) marked the first time a true freshman had scored 2 rushing TDs in a game since Miles Davis did it in 2020 against North Alabama.
- K Will Ferrin
- Ferrin notched his first career field goal with a 43-yarder in the third quarter. It was technically his first career attempt, with two previous attempts nullified on penalties.
- LB Max Tooley
- Tooley got his first interception of the season in the third quarter and 7th of his career. He finished with 4 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 interception.
- DE Tyler Batty
- Batty finished with a career 9 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
NOTABLE CAREER HIGHS/CAREER FIRSTS
- Crew Wakley
- First career start at BYU
- Deion Smith
- First career receiving touchdown (1st quarter, 37 yards)
- Parker Kingston
- First career pass, first career TD pass (1st quarter, 37 yards)
- Career-long kick return (1st quarter, 46 yards)
- First career TD reception (3rd quarter)
- Will Ferrin
- Made first career FG from 43 yards (3rd quarter)
- Career-high tackles:
- Jakob Robinson (10)
- Tyler Batty (9)
- Ethan Slade (8)
- Tanner Wall (6)
Kalani Sitake, BYU Head Coach
I’m glad we got the win. What a cool environment. So many positive things about this, just being on the road and being here in Fayetteville. I’m just really impressed with the crowd here, with Arkansas, their team, their coaches and definitely their crowd. It was a really cool experience. It was a hard-fought battle, just things went our way a little bit more than it did for Arkansas. But, I’m really proud of our team, fighting back. I feel like we have a little bit of familiarity of playing against them last year and seeing them on film. The guys were ready for a challenge this year and being out here on the road was a lot of fun. I want to give a lot of credit to Sam Pittman and his team. I think they are definitely a really good team, and we see all the things they are doing. They are playing without their main back [Raheim Sanders] that has been out a little bit, but when he gets back, I wish him well in the SEC. I think they will do some really good things. We had some things go well for us and we ended up getting the victory. Again, [it was] a cool environment, cool experience for our guys and I’m glad they got to end it with a win.
On what he told the team to rally back from a 14-point deficit early:
You just have to roll with it. There is way more time to play. It was early in the game. There was a lot more football left to play. Even when we were up by seven, I was looking at clock like “oh man, there is eight minutes left. I wish the clock could just run down to zero already.” We had our opportunities to win the game and probably put it away, but it took every second. That’s a huge credit to Arkansas. I have to credit our guys for the resilience, the belief in each other and just not giving up. I think we made some really good steps for our program and our team. They believe in each other, but there is a lot of improvement to make still. We still have made a lot of mistakes and some of them are things that just need to be fixed, so that’s me, I’m the head coach. [It’s been] three weeks in a row of illegal touching. That’s on me. I can’t blame the players because if they are doing it, I’m allowing it to happen. We will fix that, but if we keep winning, we will still try to fix it. I feel really fortunate we were able to get the win. I feel like there are some things, looking at Arkansas’ side, where they had penalties or drive killers that hurt them on a big play. That was fortunate for us, not for them. We just knew we had to keep playing with them. Even in the second half, we were down by 10 and the guys just had to keep believing. I would just like to play our best for a full 60 minutes and not keep it interesting, but again I say that with the fact that Arkansas is a really talented team and is well coached. We will take the win. I just like how our guys fought until the very end.
The effort to take down KJ Jefferson:
Oh gosh, he’s such a beast. I was hoping he would go to the NFL last year. He is such a presence. When he has time and he’s comfortable, he is dangerous. Even then, we had a couple shots on him and we just couldn’t take this guy down. Man, he’s a big-time player. I didn’t get to talk to him after the game, but I wanted to wish him well because I like the way he plays the game. I like how a lot of these guys play the game. I like the way their front plays the game. They have a really talented team, so I’m looking forward to seeing them play in their conference. We will be cheering for them.
Kedon Slovis, BYU QB
About taking those first couple of body shots and then coming back from them and staying in the ball game:
We got down 14-0 but there is still so much time left. Regardless of that, there was still 12 minutes left in the first quarter. You knew that we just needed to get something going in our favor. We got our first touchdown and things got rolling. We got the second body shot the second half and, at that point, we were down by 11. We came back from more than that earlier so the guys stayed positive. I am proud of the guys and that is a tough team to battle back from being down two times in the game.
About that double pass play you first scoured on what that was like, and had you all been saving that for a game like this?
Yes, we put that in this week. It looked good in practice, Parker (Kingston) used to play quarterback in high school so every time we practiced it, it was clean. We always try to put a trick play in every game or a few. That was one that we put in and I think we knew it was going to get called because of how well we did it in practice.
Parker Kingston, BYU WR
About his pass for a touchdown earlier in the game:
It was surreal. I didn’t know we were going to call the play that early in the game, I thought it was going to be later in the game when we needed to change momentum. We needed to change it early and we had been running it all week. I knew that if we ran it and executed it like we should, it would be a touchdown.
On what he will remember this game by having big plays on the touchdown pass and touchdown catch?
It means a lot obviously, but I want to shout out to everyone that made it able. Like, Deion (Smith), Chase (Roberts), Darius (Lassiter), who were blocking for the touchdown throw. Kingsley (Sumamtaia) and Isaac (Rex) who were blocking for the touchdown. None of that would happen without them, so it is very surreal, but I want to thank them before thanking me.
Chase Roberts, BYU WR
On his one-handed TD catch:
Ever since I was little, I’ve always practiced those sideline, one-handed catches. I’ve never had one of those before, but I feel like just focusing on catching the ball. Once you’ve played receiver for a while, you kind of have a feel for the field. I knew where I was in the endzone and I knew I could get a foot down. I just had to focus on catching the ball. I was able to reel it in for a touchdown.
On what was said on the BYU sideline after going down 14-0:
I feel like we were calm. We knew that they started fast obviously and knew that we could come back. We have a great offense and we can score some points. Oonce we got points on the board, it’s a one-score game. We were able to do that, then tie it up and then go ahead. Football has so much momentum, and we were able to get that momentum back. That’s football. It was so early in the game that we couldn’t be flustered. We have a resilient team and Kalani’s [Sitake] drilled that into us ever since day one.
Tyler Batty, BYU DE
On the team's ability to close so strong shutting down Arkansas after going down 31-21 early in the second half:
It’s a new strength for our defense. I was super excited to see that and to be a part of that. It’s something we want to continue to do going forward.”
On Kalani [Sitake] noting that there was maybe some familiarity with their [Arkansas’] personnel and how much of that impacted your performance tonight:
That’s something we do every week. Every time we go to scout a team, we scout personnel, and we know who we’re going up against. Of course, the familiarity of playing them last year I think was a big advantage. It’s a very different team from last year, but for the guys that played them last year I think it definitely helped.”
Sam Pittman, Arkansas Head Coach
I want to give BYU credit. We knew they had a team that played extremely hard and they certainly did. They took care of the ball a little better than us and they certainly were better in the penalty area. We want to give them credit because they played a good football game and we have a lot of things to clean up. They exposed us a little bit with their pass rush and not necessarily by bringing extras, but just with their ends. Certainly, the penalties, we’ve got to get a handle on that.
On the final drive:
They were all holding penalties and we jumped offsides on one of them. When (Andrew) Chamblee went down we moved Brady [Latham] to tackle. We moved Chamblee to begin with because [Patrick] Kutas got hurt and Kutas came back out there. We just weren’t moving our feet and getting on edge. They bulled us a lot of the game and, when you’re setting for a bull rush, sometimes you’re susceptible for an inside move. That’s what happened and we were holding them.
On the next four games:
It’s hard to lose any time because the crowd was so great. The Hog Walk was so great. The people were loud. We disappointed the home fans. They’re all hard to lose. I don’t really look at it as a four-game stretch on the road. LSU, as we saw, played really well on the road. We’ve got our work cut out for us you know with the next one at night. Obviously, it’s hard to go into Baton Rouge.
Chris Paul Jr., Arkansas LB
On BYU capitalizing on Arkansas mistakes:
We have to play our brand of football all four quarters. Every time we made a mistake, they would capitalize. We can let that happen defensively. We can’t let the mistakes happen offensively. We played hard, but we need to play smarter like Coach (Pittman) said. We just learn from this experience. We have to take the loss and move on and know that we didn’t play our brand of ball. We are onto LSU. That is our top priority now, getting ready for that game in Baton Rouge.
On BYU scoring 38 points despite only has 281 yards of offense:
Just go back to what we have said. They capitalized off of mistakes. We gave them short yardage opportunities and they capitalized. We just can’t let that happen.
Landon Jackson, Arkansas DE
On his thoughts on the game:
They were executing every time we made a mistake. We have to play all three phases of the game better ... offensively, defensively, and special teams. That was definitely not our best ball. That is not what we want to showcase for our program. They got momentum. We needed to kill the momentum and we didn’t do that today. We allowed them to get momentum and drive it down our throats. That is not our brand of football at all. They capitalized when they were supposed to and we didn’t.