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(Saturday, September 21)
Final Score: Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24
Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - Gary Nova threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to take down the Arkansas Razorbacks, 28-24, in a non-conference matchup at High Point Solutions Stadium.
Nova completed 22-of-43 passes with an interception for Rutgers (3-1), which has won three straight since losing its opener against Fresno State. Tyler Kroft caught a touchdown and set career highs in receptions (six) and yards (133), while Leonte Carroo caught five balls for 80 yards and two scores. Paul James rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries.
For Arkansas (3-1), AJ Derby filled in for an injured Brandon Allen under center, going 14-of-26 for 137 yards and a score. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams had each rushed for at least 100 yards in the first three games this season, but the duo combined for just 88 yards in this one.
The Razorbacks struck first with 10 points less than two minutes apart at the tail-end of the first quarter. After Zach Hooker drilled a 41-yard field goal, Tevin Mitchel picked off a Nova pass on Rutgers' next possession and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.
The Scarlet Knights went into halftime with the momentum. They drove 68 yards in 12 plays over the final five minutes of the first half, culminating in a 15-yard scoring strike from Nova to Kroft.
Arkansas extended its lead early in the third quarter, as Derby hooked up with Javontee Herndon on a 17-yard touchdown to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive to start the second half.
Nova fumbled deep in his own territory on the Scarlet Knight's ensuing drive, and the Razorbacks made them pay by digging into their bag of tricks with Williams, a tailback, tossing a 21-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry.
Rutgers halted the Arkansas run late in the third quarter when Janarion Grant returned a punt 58 yards to bring its deficit to 10, 24-14.
Backed up on their own two-yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights drove 98 yards in under two minutes, with Nova completing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Carroo to get within three, 24-21.
Rutgers made it 21 unanswered points after taking the lead with 5:18 remaining on another Carroo touchdown reception from Nova, this time from four yards out. A 47-yard punt return by Grant set up the quick scoring drive.
Arkansas' final possession was derailed by a Djwany Mera sack. It punted the ball back to Rutgers with 2:48 left, and Scarlet Knights ran out the clock from there.
The Rutgers defense held Arkansas to just 283 yards, and the Razorbacks converted only 3-of-14 third down attempts.
09/21 19:56:21 ET