- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Bret Bielema has suffered through his darkest days as a head coach during his three seasons at Arkansas, including a 3-9 record in the post-Bobby Petrino disaster of 2013.

The Razorbacks coach might have reached a new low following a 35-24 defeat to former Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech on Saturday.

The loss was the second straight for Arkansas (1-2), coming on the heels of a stunning 16-12 defeat to Toledo last week, and it sent the Razorbacks to 0-9 under Bielema in games decided by fewer than 10 points.

After ending last season with three wins in its final four games and opening this season ranked and loaded with expectations, Arkansas is left once again searching for answers to its now four-year run of misery.

“I wish I could say something to make everybody feel better - our fans, our players,” Bielema said. “We’re just not at the point yet where we can not play a perfect game and win.”

Alex Collins had 170 yards rushing on 28 carries to lead Arkansas, which had 424 yards of total offense. And quarterback Brandon Allen was 16-of-21 passing for 196 yards, but the Razorbacks were unable to rebound from last weeks’ crushing loss to Toledo.

The Red Raiders, meanwhile, had a point to prove a year following a 49-28 drubbing last season at the hands of the power-based Razorbacks last season.

And it was Texas Tech (3-0) coach Kliff Kingsbury, long a proponent of the spread offense, who had the biggest point to make - stemming from a summer convention of Texas high school coaches at which he said Bielema disparaged his preferred up-tempo approach.

“(Bielema) stood up and said if you don’t throw to the fullback, we’ll kick your (butt), and if you throw it 70 times a game, we’ll kick you (butt),” Kingsbury said. “(Bielema) just got his (butt) kicked twice in a row and probably next week by (Texas) A&M; as well.

“That did feel good.”

Texas Tech averaged 8.4 yards per play on Saturday, doing so with a spread offense that decimated a Razorbacks defense that finished 10th in the nation a year ago. And it did so led by a quarterback who watched from the sidelines a year ago during Arkansas’ win in Lubbock.

Patrick Mahomes took over as Texas Tech’s starter during the second half of last season, and he accounted for three touchdowns in Saturday’s win - which improved the Red Raiders to 9-1 in nonconference play under Kingsbury.

Mahomes finished 26-of-30 passing for 243 yards and a score, and he also rushed for 58 yards and a pair of touchdowns - leading a Texas Tech offense that finished with 486 total yards. Reginald Davis caught a pair of touchdowns, finishing with five catches for 115 yards.

“We knew what we could do, and we practiced it all through the summer, through fall camp,” Davis said. “… (Mahomes) was great; he’s been great every game so far for us.”

Texas Tech, meanwhile, never punted while scoring touchdowns on five of its nine possessions. Its only four non-scoring drives ended with a pair of interceptions thrown by Mahomes, a missed 22-yard field goal and the game-ending series of kneel downs.

Arkansas rushed 68 times for 438 yards in a dominating 49-28 win at Texas Tech a year ago, but the Razorbacks entered Saturday struggling to establish their once-dominant running attack - particularly in a shocking 16-12 loss to Toledo a week ago.

Led by Collins, Arkansas once again had its way with the Red Raiders 120th-ranked rushing defense in the first half. Collins had 92 of the Razorbacks 130 yards rushing in the half, helping a short-handed Arkansas offense hold the ball for 22:35 compared to just 7:25 for Texas Tech.

The Razorbacks entered the game without injured wide receiver Keon Hatcher and Cody Hollister with foot injuries, and they lost another starter in the first quarter when Jared Cornelius appeared to break his left arm during a 34-yard catch and run.

Despite the attrition, Allen threw a pair of touchdowns in the half - including a 24-yard strike to Drew Morgan late in the half to tie the game at 21-all.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, made the most of its limited possession.

The Red Raiders gained nearly 10 yards per play in the half - 243 on 25 plays - including a 72-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Jakeem Grant to Davis to go up 21-14 in the second quarter.

It was precisely the outcome Kingsbury had hoped and waited for following the outspoken Bielema’s summer comments.

“To walk in there and say those (things), it definitely rubbed me the wrong way,” Kingsbury said. “He’s a prideful guy, and he says what’s on his mind, but it just hasn’t worked out for him.”


AP college football website: https://collegefootball.ap.org

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