AMARILLO, Tx - Veteran af2 quarterback Kyle Rowley accounted for six touchdowns -- four passing, two running -- while his Arkansas Twisters took advantage of Amarillo's second half offensive struggles Saturday night and pulled away from the Dusters, 45-24, in front of 2,448 fans at the Amarillo Civic Center.
Arkansas (2-0) had 303 yards of total offense behind the play of Rowley. Meanwhile, the Twisters defense limited the Dusters to 144 yards of total offense, as they fell to 0-2 on the young arenafootball2 campaign.
Arkansas is back at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock on Saturday against Rio Grande Valley (1-0) in a 7 p.m. game.
The game began well for Amarillo, who forced a turnover on the opening kickoff. Lawrence Richardson caught the ball in his own endzone, but a Blair Boynton hit jarred the ball loose. Brent Craft recovered the fumble at the Arkansas 1-yard line, setting the Dusters up in the red zone just 11 seconds into the game. Kyle Wilson rushed the ball into the end zone moments later, putting Amarillo on top 7-0 following the Keita Iizuka extra point.
After the Dusters scored but 17 seconds into the first quarter, Arkansas answered with a ten play, 49-yard drive that took 6:25 off the clock, culminating in a Rowley 1-yard pass to Roderkick Harper.
Amarillo answered with a Matt Bassuener touchdown completion to the fullback Wilson to put the Dusters back on top 14-7. With just seven seconds remaining in the first quarter, Rowley and Harper hooked up again to score, this time on a 34-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 14 heading into the second quarter.
Bassuener and the Dusters rushed out to the lead again, with the Amarillo signal caller leading a five-play, 24-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard quarterback sneak. With the score 21-14, Arkansas struck not through Rowley's arm, but rather his legs. The af2 veteran scored on a rush from a yard out (topping off a seven-minute drive) to knot the game at 21.
The visiting Twisters would gain momentum moments later, as BRANDON FREEMAN picked off a Bassuener pass to set up his team at the Arkansas 21. Rowley would again score on a 1-yard sneak to give the Twisters their first lead of the game. Following another Freeman interception, Arkansas would drive to the Dusters' one-yard line before SEAN RAFTERY wrapped up ROBERT JOHNSON on the doorstep of the goal line as time expired in the first half. Arkansas entered halftime with a slim 28-21 lead.
Though the Dusters got possession to begin the third quarter, the Amarillo offense sputtered and was forced to settle for a 36-yard Iizuka field goal to draw within four. The kick would be the last score for the Dusters, who suffered from poor execution in the third and fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Arkansas scored on Harper's third touchdown catch of the game-this time from 30 yards out-to go on top 35-24. Olan Coleman caught a Rowley scoring pass moments later to extend the Twister lead.
With Arkansas on top 42-24, the Dusters would go scoreless in the fourth quarter. A James Paul field goal for Arkansas from 35 yards out would set the final score at 45-24.
Bassuener was replaced by Collin Drafts late in the third quarter, but the change would fail to benefit the sputtering Amarillo offense.
Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game: Kyle Rowley (ARK)
Aaron's Defensive Player of the Game: Myron Newberry (AMR)
JLS Ironman of the Game: Roderick Harper (ARK)
The Big Game Catch of the Game: Roderick Harper (ARK) - 34-yd TD 07:26/3rd
NiFTy Hit of the Game: Rodney Artmore (AMR) - approx. 03:00/3rd V 2-G H10