FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel, in his first start in a Razorbacks uniform, led his team on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, breaking a 34-all tie and sending Arkansas to a 55-34 win over Colorado State on Saturday.
The Razorbacks (2-1) earned their first victory over an FBS opponent this season and only the second in coach Chad Morris’ 15 games dating back to last year.
Starkel, who transferred from Texas A&M in the offseason, was named quarterback Monday after entering and playing well in the second half of Arkansas’ loss to Ole Miss last Saturday. He rewarded Morris’ faith, going 20 for 35 for 305 yards with three touchdowns against the Rams.
Starkel completed three straight passes for 12, 17 and 20 yards on the go-ahead drive before Devwah Whaley’s 5-yard touchdown run capped it for a 41-34 lead. He then threw a 62-yard touchdown to Cheyenne O’Grady on the ensuing series.
Colorado State (1-2) rallied from a 14-point, first half deficit and tied it at 34 when back-up quarterback Patrick O’Brien scrambled and found Dante Wright for a 75-yard touchdown pass near the end of the third quarter. O’Brien entered for starter Collin Hill during the Rams’ first drive of the second half when it appeared Hill, who has twice suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, tweaked his leg.
Arkansas scored on its first five drives of the game, including two touchdown passes by Starkel.
Colorado State: The Rams’ offense continued to prove its worth after scoring 31 and 38 points in its first two games, but the 522 yards allowed were the most given up on the season.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks’ 24 first-quarter points were the most it has scored in Chad Morris’ tenure as head coach. The 522 yards of total offense were the team’s best mark under Morris. Already on his fifth quarterback, he may have finally found his man.
Colorado State: The Rams conclude the nonconference portion of their schedule at home against Toledo on Saturday.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks host a second consecutive Mountain West opponent when San Jose State visits Fayetteville on Saturday.