Williams, Tretola pace Arkansas past UAB 45-17
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Arkansas made sure to get everyone, even its offensive linemen, in on the fun on Saturday.
Jonathan Williams rushed for a career-high 153 yards and had two touchdowns, and 350-pound offensive guard Sebastian Tretola had a touchdown pass as Arkansas rolled to a 45-17 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Razorbacks (4-4), who led 35-0 at halftime and outgained the Blazers 484-195.
Tretola, the heaviest player on the Arkansas roster, provided the biggest highlight for the Razorbacks with his 6-yard touchdown pass to Alan D'Appollonio in the second quarter.
Williams topped his previous best of 151 yards rushing, set last year against Louisiana-Lafayette, while Brandon Allen added 205 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns.
Alabama-Birmingham (4-4), which had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by J.J. Nelson, played without injured quarterback Cody Clements.
Clements was injured late in a loss to Middle Tennessee last week, and the junior was replaced on Saturday by freshman Jeremiah Brisco - who finished 6-of-18 passing for 62 yards.
While the Blazers were held without an offensive score until Brisco's late 33-yard touchdown pass to Nyiakki Height, Arkansas enjoyed a much-needed reprieve after three straight losses against top 10 teams.
Williams opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive, and the Razorbacks extended their lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter on his second - a 17-yard pass from Allen.
With little doubt about the outcome at that point, Tretola gave Arkansas one of its best moments in a season full of close calls and late disappointment.
After the Razorbacks briefly lined up for a short field goal attempt midway through the second quarter, they quickly shifted into a swinging gate formation.
Tretola, a junior college transfer in his first season with Arkansas, then went in motion from his usual left guard spot and lined up at quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 350-pound California native took the snap from D'Appollonio, who then sprinted to the left side of the end zone for his first career catch - also Tretola's first career attempt and completion.
The surprising touchdown pass put the Razorbacks up 28-0, a more-than-comfortable margin for a team that's let fourth-quarter leads slip away in recent losses to Texas A&M and Alabama.
Arkansas, which had nine receivers catch passes, extended its lead to 45-3 late in the third quarter on Allen's second touchdown pass - a 15-yard strike to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.