FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tyler Wilson and Arkansas took out a season's worth of frustration against Kentucky.
Wilson was 23 of 31 passing for 372 yards and a career-high five touchdowns to lead Arkansas to a 49-7 win over the Wildcats in a game shortened by severe weather.
Wilson threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Williams on the opening play for the Razorbacks, who had 533 yards of total offense before the game was called with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter because of lightning near Razorback Stadium. The second-half suspension followed an hour and six-minute delay in the first half.
The win was the second straight for Arkansas (3-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) after a four-game losing streak. Williams finished with three catches for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and running back Dennis Johnson added three touchdowns.
The Wildcats (1-6, 0-4 SEC) were outgained 444-88 in total yards in the first half.
Even before the weather became a factor, Wilson and the Razorbacks had taken complete control against a Kentucky team that had played 14 true freshmen this season. The senior threw four touchdowns in the first half as the Razorbacks built a 42-0 halftime lead. His fifth touchdown pass came in the third quarter on an 18-yard pass to Julian Horton, putting Arkansas up 49-0.
The pass beat Wilson's previous best of four touchdown passes in a game, set in a relief role against Auburn in 2010. It also tied the school record for most touchdown passes in a game, equaling the mark former Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett set in four different games.
The Wildcats' lone highlight was a 61-yard touchdown pass by freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow to La'Rod King in the third quarter. Whitlow, starting because of injuries to Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles, struggled throughout and finished 2 of 10 passing for 83 yards.
Arkansas, meanwhile, took advantage of the youthful and inexperienced Wildcats at seemingly every opportunity — eager for a convincing win in a season where any victory has been anything but a sure thing. The Razorbacks, whose former coach Bobby Petrino was fired in April, began the season ranked No. 8 before plummeting out of the polls after a loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
That loss was the first of four straight under interim coach John L. Smith, putting Arkansas' streak of three straight bowl games in jeopardy. The Razorbacks snapped the streak last week in a 24-7 win at Auburn, but even that win was a struggle at times.
Arkansas looked every bit like the same team that was 21-5 the last two seasons on Saturday, though it came against a reeling Kentucky team that's now lost five in a row since its lone win against Kent State on Sept. 8.
The Razorbacks outgained the Wildcats 307-48 in total yardage in the first quarter, after which it led 28-0. Two of Wilson's touchdown passes in the quarter came on wheel routes out of the backfield to Williams, who added a 77-yard score to end the quarter to match his opening touchdown.
The 42-point win equaled Arkansas' largest margin of victory in an SEC game. Its largest was a 52-6 win over Mississippi State in 2003.