LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Former Alabama reserve Phillip Ely passed for 237 yards and the Toledo defense rattled No. 18 Arkansas into a number of mistakes in a 16-12 upset victory Saturday.
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen threw his first interception since last Nov. 1 — after 134 attempts. He misfired on two passes from the Toledo 16 in the final 6 seconds, moments after hitting the crossbar on a fourth-and-goal from the Toledo 4 to kill another drive.
Playing in their home-away-from-home — perhaps as an eight-decade tradition rolls toward an end — the Razorbacks suffered through key penalties that wiped out one punt return for a touchdown and made the end zone seem far, far away. One impressive drive — 73 yards in 21 plays — took 10:39 off the clock but ended in a field goal with 9:30 left in the game.
Ely had seen Arkansas once before, completing two of three passes for 15 yards off the bench in the Crimson Tide's 52-0 victory at Fayetteville three years ago. He transferred to the Mid-American Conference school in 2013 and Saturday led the Rockets to their first victory over a Southeastern Conference team.
He completed 21 of 38 passes without an interception and was effective when his team needed it most. Four of his first five third-down passes resulted in first downs as Toledo took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, on a short drive set up by a blocked punt.
Allen started the game completing his first seven passes, but the Razorbacks netted only seven points by halftime despite reaching Toledo territory on each of their first-half drives.
Toledo, deep in its own territory, gave up a safety with 52 seconds left that cut its lead to four points. Arkansas received the free kick, then drove from its 32 to the 16 with no timeouts before Allen's throws sailed away.