LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ABC4 Sports) – The BYU football team pulled off the biggest comeback in the Kalani Sitake era, storming back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Arkansas Saturday night, 38-31.
Kedon Slovis threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Chase Roberts who made a spectacular one-handed catch with eight minutes left, to give BYU a 38-31 win against Arkansas on Saturday night.
Roberts’ grab capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive that saw BYU (3-0) convert two third-and-longs to keep Arkansas’ defense on the field. It was also the third straight series on which the Cougars scored, as they rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter.
“All my teammates just trusted in me.” said Roberts, who fumbled earlier in the game. “They said, ‘hey, you’re our leader. You need to go out and make a play.’ So I felt that if I just kept loose, that something was going to happen. That ball came, and it kind of just happened. I was surprised that the ball was actually in my hand at the end of the play.”
Arkansas (2-1) drove inside the BYU 20 in the final 20 seconds, but the drive stalled with four penalties including one on the final play to end the game.
“On Arkansas’ side, they had penalties, some drive killers that hurt them. Fortunate for us, not for them,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “Second half, down by 10, the guys just keep believing.”
Slovis and BYU tied the game on the first of the previous series when former Roy High School quarterback Parker Kingston caught a wide receiver screen pass and ran 20 yards to the end zone. The touchdown was set up when Max Tooley intercepted Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson the play before to provide the Cougars with their third drive to begin in Arkansas territory.
“There were times where the offense didn’t play their best,” Slovis said. “We felt that, but guys came back and stepped up when it was important.”
Arkansas led 14-0 early when AJ Green went 55 yards on the ground on the Razorbacks’ first series and Isaiah Sategna returned a punt 88 yards immediately after BYU’s first possession. The Cougars scored touchdowns on three of their next four drives to take a 21-14 lead.
Arkansas countered with the next three scores — a 19-yard touchdown reception by Luke Hasz, a 26-yard field goal from Cam Little and a second touchdown run from Green to go back ahead early in the third quarter.
Slovis finished 13 of 25 for 167 yards passing with the two scores. LJ Martin ran for 77 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns for BYU.
The 14-point comeback win is the largest in the Kalani Sitake era.
“The resilience of these guys,” said Sitake. “Just believing in each other to the very end. I told them that we’d have to play 60 minutes, but I didn’t mean to have every second count.
Green had 86 yards rushing on nine carries with two touchdowns and Jefferson was 25-of-36 passing for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception, Arkansas’ first turnover of the season.
BYU (3-0) next takes on Kansas in its first Big 12 Conference game next Saturday.