FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.(AP) -- Ryan Mallett looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 17 Arkansas to a 44-3 win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday night.
The Razorbacks, sporting their highest preseason ranking since 1990, recovered quickly from a sloppy start as Mallett threw an 85-yard touchdown pass to Joe Adams in the second quarter. It was the longest completion of his Arkansas career, and the Hogs led 23-3 at halftime.
Mallett threw for 30 touchdowns a season ago and became an immediate Heisman candidate when he decided to pass up the NFL for another season with the Razorbacks. He missed on just two his first 18 throws, with the only blemishes a deflected pass that was intercepted and a dropped ball by a receiver that should have been a touchdown. He finished the night 21 of 24.
Dennis Johnson, Broderick Green and Ronnie Wingo Jr. each ran for touchdowns. Those three running backs are competing along with Knile Davis for playing time. Green led the foursome with nine carries. Johnson and Davis both fumbled in the first half, but the Razorbacks (1-0) recovered both.
The Golden Eagles (0-1) opened the scoring in the first quarter, but the FCS team was unable to repeat the upset Jacksonville State pulled off earlier in the day against Mississippi and former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.
Tennessee Tech quarterback Tre Lamb went 6 of 13 for 99 yards.
After stopping the Razorbacks on fourth down on the game's first drive, Tennessee Tech moved all the way to the Hogs' 1-yard line. The Arkansas defense, maligned throughout last season, rose to the challenge and held the Golden Eagles to a field goal.
The Arkansas defense was just as effective near the other goal line, tackling Jocques Crawford for a safety in the second quarter that made it 9-3. Anthony Leon, moved recently from the secondary to linebacker, had two sacks and four tackles for loss.
The opener also shed some light on Arkansas' kicking situation, which had been a bit of a mystery coming in. Freshman Zach Hocker handled extra points for the Razorbacks instead of senior Alex Tejada, but Tejada was outstanding on kickoffs, consistently putting the ball into the end zone.
Wingo's 10-yard touchdown run made it 30-3 in the third quarter, and Mallett added a touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton and another to Adams before being relieved by Tyler Wilson before the period ended. Brandon Mitchell also took some snaps for the Razorbacks in the fourth quarter and threw a deep pass to the end zone that Maudrecus Humphrey dropped.
Adams caught six passes for 138 yards.