- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams wiggled through the line of scrimmage and then laid a vicious stiff arm on a Mississippi State defender before running toward the end zone.

Near the end of his 42-yard dash for his second touchdown of the night he nearly broke into laughter - one of the referees had tripped over his own feet and fallen along the sideline.

“I started laughing in my head, but then I looked up and said, ‘I need to score. That guy’s coming,’” Williams said.

Just like the rest of the night, he made it with room to spare.

Williams ran for a career-high 205 yards and four touchdowns - and also threw for a touchdown - to lead Arkansas over Mississippi State 58-42 on Saturday night.

The Arkansas offense did just about anything it wanted against Mississippi State, gaining 661 total yards. The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Williams was easily the Razorbacks’ biggest star, running for touchdowns of 72, 42, 7 and 33 yards - all in the first half.

“The holes were huge,” Williams said with a wide grin. “It just felt like I was running straight. I didn’t have to do too much.”

Then to top off his big night, Williams took a handoff in the third quarter and stopped short of the line of scrimmage before jumping in the air and tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Cantrell.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema enjoyed watching Williams’ touchdown pass, but it was the aforementioned stiff arm that really caught his attention.

“He played with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” Bielema said. “Played with a purpose.”

Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) broke a four-game losing streak to Mississippi State. Austin Allen completed 18 of 25 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns for the Razorbacks. Even Arkansas backup running back Devwah Whaley got in on the fun, running for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Mississippi State (4-7, 2-5) had a big night on offense as well.

Nick Fitzgerald ran for 131 yards and four touchdowns and also threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, but the Bulldogs could never hold the Razorbacks long enough to climb back into the game after falling into a 38-14 hole by halftime.

Mississippi State receiver Fred Ross caught 10 passes for a career-high 171 yards and two touchdowns.

But all those big numbers didn’t matter because the Bulldogs’ defense couldn’t make a stop.

“We missed tackles, had some bad fits, didn’t execute clean,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “When you give up that many yards it’s not one thing. It’s several things.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Arkansas: The Razorbacks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the SEC this year, but this was definitely one of their better performances, especially on offense. Arkansas’ Williams had huge running holes all night long and took advantage.

Mississippi State: It’s the second straight week the Bulldogs have given up at least 50 points after losing to No. 1 Alabama 51-3 last weekend. The lopsided loss to the top-ranked Tide might be excusable, but this defensive disaster against the Razorbacks is much harder to explain.

UP NEXT

Arkansas: The Razorbacks have a quick turnaround before playing at Missouri on Thanksgiving Day.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have a road game against rival Mississippi in the Egg Bowl.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .

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