LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen was able to placidly take a knee at the end of a 31-21 victory over Samford on Friday night, an ending that stood in contrast to two heartbreaking last-play losses in Little Rock last season.
Allen threw for two touchdowns on 9 of 17 passing for 125 yards. But the Arkansas running game was what allowed the Razorbacks (2-0) to overcome a third-quarter 21-17 lead by Samford (1-1).
Tailback Alex Collins rushed for 172 yards on 24 carries while Jonathan Williams added 126 yards on 17 carries. Each of the two freshmen scored touchdowns.
Fullback Kiero Small did his part blocking for Collins and Williams, but he also had a key first down with 2:01 to play that enabled the Razorbacks to run out the clock.
Williams scored on a 1-yard run to give Arkansas a 24-21 lead with 13:38 left in the fourth quarter. Collins put the game away with a 2-yard run on a drive in which he broke loose for 55 yards.
A year ago against Louisiana-Monroe, Allen made his unexpected debut after starter Tyler Wilson was hurt in the first half. Louisiana-Monroe went on to win in overtime and the loss set the tone for what turned into a 4-8 season under interim coach John L. Smith.
Allen showed his composure Saturday and would have had better numbers if not for a couple of drops as he had an interception-free night.
New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said after last week's blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette that his young team wasn't ready to beat Southeastern Conference opponents. It was all the Razorbacks could do to beat Samford on Saturday, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Samford QB Andy Summerlin threw for 117 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 28 passing. Tailback Fabian Truss finished with 103 yards on 16 carries. Summerlin hit Kelsey Pope three times for 29 yards as he spread the ball around to nine receivers. He threw to 10 players if counting a batted pass Summerlin caught on the rebound for 1-yard loss.
Samford moved the ball effectively for three quarters, but Arkansas outgained the Bulldogs 458-231 in total yards. Arkansas gained 333 yards on the ground to 114 for Samford.
Arkansas hurt itself with two lost fumbles and a couple of untimely penalties. Samford didn't have a turnover.