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Arkansas names Starkel new starting QB vs Colorado St

(AP Photo/Michael Woods)

By ERIC W. BOLIN

Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Nick Starkel has been named Arkansas' starting quarterback.

Starkel, a graduate transfer who previously played for Texas A&M, will replace Ben Hicks for Saturday's game against Colorado State.

After Hicks struggled Saturday against Mississippi, Starkel stepped in and went 17 for 24 for 201 yards and a touchdown.

"It wasn't so much what Ben did or didn't do. It's what Nick did," coach Chad Morris said Monday. "We were looking for a spark, something to get our offense moving, create some momentum, create some yards, give an opportunity for some big plays."

Morris' 14-game tenure as Arkansas coach has been pockmarked with problems. He won just two games in his first season with the Razorbacks in 2018 playing three different quarterbacks.

This season has been similar. After opening with a one-touchdown win over FCS program Portland State, the Razorbacks followed with a 14-point loss to fellow SEC cellar-dweller Ole Miss.

Starkel was a late arrival to Arkansas camp in the spring. Hicks, who tranferred in the offseason from SMU, was familiar with the Arkansas staff because Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock had Hicks as their starter at SMU.

Cracks were immediately visible for Hicks against Portland State, a team that finished ninth in the Big Sky Conference last year. He went 14 for 29 passing for 143 yards. Starkel stepped in and went 4 for 5 for 48 yards with an interception.

Starkel again was effective when he got his shot against Ole Miss. Arkansas coaches didn't rule out using Hicks again in Week 3, but Starkel is the man for now.

"I think it's his turn, and we'll see what he does this week," Craddock said.

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Updated September 11, 2019

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