FAYETTEVILLE -- North Texas used a trick play on a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown against the University of Arkansas on Saturday.
Mean Green returner Keegan Brewer fielded a pooch punt by Blake Johnson at the North Texas 10 and stood still, acting as if he had signaled for a fair catch.
Except Brewer never waved an arm indicating a fair catch -- and he didn't flinch even with Arkansas linebacker Grant Morgan inches in front of him after he fielded the ball.
With Brewer standing completely still, Morgan stopped and walked away as if the play was over. Cornerback Nate Dalton also was next to Brewer and walked right by him.
All of the other Razorbacks on the coverage team reacted as if the play had been whistled dead.
Brewer then began moving to the sideline in front of the Mean Green bench, got behind a wall of blockers and sprinted into the end zone before the Razorbacks could react.
The punt return gave North Texas a 14-0 lead with 6:49 left in the first quarter.
It was the first punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas since 2013 by Rutgers when Janarion Grant had a 58-yard score in the Scarlet Knights' 28-24 victory over the Razorbacks.
Coach Chad Morris said quarterback Ty Storey was healthy, but he decided not to play the redshirt junior after North Texas built a 37-10 lead in the third quarter, opting instead to go with true freshmen Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones in relief of starter Cole Kelley.
Noland came into the game after Kelley was pulled.
“I did not want to put Ty in that situation with being behind like that,” Morris said. “That was my decision to go with Connor.”
Arkansas announced the number of scanned tickets for Saturday's game at 44,306. The number of tickets distributed, according to an announcement, was 62,355.
Arkansas senior defensive end Randy Ramsey started and played for the first time this season after missing the first two games because of a hamstring injury.
Ramsey started in place of junior Gabe Richardson.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Cole Kelley made his second start. He started the opener against Eastern Illinois, then came off the bench in place of Ty Storey and played the entire second half at Colorado State last week.
Junior cornerback Britto Tutt made his first career start in place of Chevin Calloway, who started the first two games but was not spotted on the sideline Saturday.
Two true freshmen -- linebacker Bumper Pool and offensive tackle Noah Gatlin -- made their second second consecutive starts.
Arkansas starting junior tailback Devwah Whaley left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Senior receiver Gary Cross, playing in his first game this season after being out because of a hamstring injury, returned kickoffs in the first half in place of De'Vion Warren, who didn't dress out but was on the sideline.
Cross then suffered an apparent left foot injury -- he was on crutches with his left foot in a boot -- and was replaced on the kickoff return team by Deon Stewart.
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw (ankle) defensive end Dorian Gerald (ankle) and center Dylan Hays (back) didn't dress out because of injuries.
BEEN A WHILE
North Texas beat an SEC team on the field for the first time since a 21-14 victory at Tennessee in 1975. The Mean Green also won at Florida 20-12 in 1947.
Mississippi State beat North Texas 7-0 in 1976 and 17-15 in 1977, but later forfeited those victories.
Including the forfeits by Mississippi State, the Mean Green are 5-37 all-time against SEC teams.
Arkansas junior Connor Limpert hit a career-long 54-yard field goal with 9:27 left in the second quarter to pull the Razorbacks within 17-10. His previous long was 48 yards at South Carolina last season.
Hunter Henry, an All-American tight end for the Razorbacks who now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, made his displeasure with Saturday's game clear with a tweet during the first quarter when Arkansas fell behind 17-0.
"I'm embarrassed," Henry tweeted. "Show some pride."
Henry added in a follow-up tweet, "Still love my hogs. Just want them to take pride in playing for this state. Like I always say #wehawgs."
Henry's younger brother, Hayden, is a sophomore linebacker for the Razorbacks, His youngest brother, Hudson, is a senior tight end at Pulaski Academy and one of the top recruits in the country who has Arkansas listed among his top choices.
Hunter Henry isn't playing this season because of a knee injury.
Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek is scheduled to speak to the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday after the Razorbacks' suffered back-to-back losses to Colorado State and North Texas. Prior to this season, Arkansas was a combined 12-0 against those programs.
Arkansas junior offensive tackle Colton Jackson played off the bench after missing the first two games recovering from back surgery.
Jackson, a projected starter before his surgery, got into the game in the second quarter at left tackle. He had been expected to miss the first six games.
Junior tight end C.J. O'Grady, who missed the first two games because of a disciplinary suspension, played for the first time this season when he got onto the field with 7:21 left in the first quarter.
Arkansas senior Jared Cornelius waited nearly a year to make his 80th career catch.
Cornelius made his first catch of the season when he hauled in a pass from Cole Kelley for a 15-yard gain in the second quarter against North Texas.
It was Cornelius' first reception since Sept. 23 when he had three catches in the first half against Texas A&M before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury on the first play of the second half.
Cornelius played in the first two games this season but didn't have a catch.
Cole Hedlund, who lost his job as Arkansas' kicker in the second game last season after missing field goal attempts of 23 and 20 yards against TCU, had a triumphant return Saturday as the Mean Green's kicker.
Hedlund, a graduate transfer, was 3 of 3 on field goals, hitting from 24, 26 and 20 yards and was 5 of 5 on extra points against the Razorbacks. He's now 10 of 10 on field goal attempts this season. At Arkansas he hit 14 of 24 field attempts.
Arkansas used both freshman walk-on Reid Bauer and junior Blake Johnson as punters on Saturday.
STEWART ON PUNT RETURN
Razorbacks junior receiver Deon Stewart returned punts again after taking over for Jared Cornelius in the second half at Colorado State last week.
VS. NORTH TEXAS
Arkansas is now 9-1 all-time against North Texas. In the team's most recent game prior to Saturday, the Razorbacks beat the Mean Green 66-7 in 2007.
WHO'S NO. 80?
Razorbacks receiver Deon Stewart changed from No. 13 to No. 80 in second half when quarterback Connor Noland -- who also wears No. 13 -- went into the game.
Arkansas senior offensive lineman Deion Malone won't play this season because of a knee injury, but he served as a team captain Saturday along with defensive lineman McTelvin Agim, wide receiver Jonathan Nance and defensive back Nate Dalton.
This year's 15 new inductees into the UA Sports Hall of Honor were introduced on the field prior to kickoff.
Football players to be inducted were defensive linemen Ron Faurot and Irvan Jordan and punters and kickers Greg Horne and Bruce Lahay.
The class also included basketball players Rickey Medlock, Sytia Messer, and Jonathon Modica along with April Steiner Bennett and Randy Stephens (track and field), Ewell Lee (tennis), Steve Loy (golf), Dana McQuillin (gymnastics), Nick Schmidt (baseball), Jerry Spencer (swimming) and Kim Storey Chronister (volleyball).
MARTIN CALLS HOGS
Mark Martin, a Batesville native who is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, led the crowd in a Hog call during a second-quarter break.
Sports on 09/16/2018
Print Headline: Trick play leaves UA in the dust