Allen, Mitchell lead Arkansas in spring game
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Let the quarterback competition between Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell continue at Arkansas.
The duo combined to throw for 296 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Red to a 34-27 victory over the White in Arkansas' spring game on Saturday.
The two quarterbacks, who have competed throughout the spring to replace Tyler Wilson as the starter, finished a combined 23 of 33 to complete new coach Bret Bielema's first spring with the Razorbacks.
Bielema led Arkansas onto the field before the scrimmage in front of a school-record crowd of 51,088 - topping last year's previous best of 45,250.
Allen, who has spent much of the spring with the first-team offense, was 11-of-16 passing for 158 yards in four first-half series against the first-team defense. He connected with Demetrius Wilson for a 26-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
The sophomore also guided the Razorbacks to a late field goal to end the first half, leading a six-play, 55-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 37-yard field goal by Zach Hocker to put the Red up 20-12.
Bielema has declined to name a starter at quarterback throughout the spring, but Allen has emerged as the clear front-runner with performances like Saturday. He and Mitchell, a senior, are hoping to take over at quarterback for Wilson, the former All-Southeastern Conference performer who was in attendance for the game.
Allen served as Wilson's backup last season while Mitchell moved to wide receiver to earn more playing time.
Mitchell moved back to quarterback following last season's disappointing 4-8 record, and he finished Saturday 12-of-17 passing for 138 yards and a touchdown. The majority of his time came against the second-team defense in the first half, and he also threw an interception in the end zone to safety Tiquention Coleman - ending a scoring opportunity.
While much of the attention was paid to the ongoing quarterback competition, the record crowd also was eager to see the Razorbacks for the first time under Bielema.
The former Wisconsin coach was hired to replace interim coach John L. Smith in December, and he led Arkansas onto the field before Saturday's game - with senior center Travis Swanson on his right and senior fullback Kiero Small on his left.
The crowed marked the third straight year the school has set a spring game attendance record.
Bielema's desire to implement a power running game with the Razorbacks was evident on Saturday, with the teams rushing for 185 yards on 56 carries. Patrick Arinze (254 pounds) had a game-high 66 yards on 9 carries, while Kody Walker (244) rushed 7 times for 40 yards.
Walker returned to the field after suffering a broken leg last season.
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