I had to choose between which to do first - write this report or go visit LSU websites and watch them throw a fit over the last tragic (haha! to quote Nelson Muntz) seconds of their game in Oxford. I think that cajun meltdown is going to go on for some time now, so I thought I would start here with the Hogs' 42 to 21 victory over Mississippi State at War Memorial. I was joined by my mother for the game and around some 50,000 other Razorback fans who were there to watch the arm of the band's lead trombone player, yeah, right! Ryan Mallett's arm was what we wanted to see in action, and that we did, to the total of five touchdowns. The only question about Mallett right now is how much longer will that arm be in Arkansas? But enough with the future (I think he'll be here another year) and on with the glorious recent past. To the observations.
* I know people in the stands came from all over to be here for today's game. My own story is that I drove over seven hours to Warren after getting off work on Friday. I got to my parents' house about at midnight and was back on the road for Little Rock the next morning. A very quick turn around, but being a team player, I still yelled my fool head off even as I felt a bit punch drunk myself from exhaustion. Anything for the Hogs, right?
* The Dixon exit Exxon station is the official take a pee before you get to the stadium spot for my family and apparently many other South Arkansas families. I wonder if Jeff Long and ISP would let that Exxon station slap a Hog on the door and call themselves the "official Razorback fan pee stop of Dixon street"? I wouldn't put it pass them!
* The War Memorial tailgating scene was certainly curtailed in comparison to the Missouri State game. Lots more open space out there. And the stands had some open areas into the first quarter. Gray skies didn't really make people anymore bright eyed and busytailed for an 11:21 AM kickoff.
* And it looked like Ryan Mallett wasn't yet awake either with that second toss interception. Uh, oh. Was this going to be a Mallett off day? So goes Mallett, so goes the team.
* I think the play of the game was how Mallett and the Hogs answered the Mississippi State touchdown with a quick touchdown of their own. We needed to answer that score less the Bulldogs gain any additional confidence that their ball hawging running game plan was going to work.
* Just how many passes did Miss. State throw? I was just waiting for them to do a play action pass to really burn us for a touchdown, but it was just one more running play after another. I don't think they ever really tested our secondary deep. Knowing our secondary, I would have gone after them some. The runs were effective, but with Mallett actually being "on," that made it like a tank trying to keep up with a drag racer. A team that can only run the ball? Hmm, does that sound familiar? haha.
* Still the score stayed close enough to where I didn't get the comfortable we will win this sucker feeling until our former experiment, Broderick Green, now touchdown scoring fact, scored that last touchdown. I can always dream up worse case collapse scenarios for the Hogs.
* I was spared the as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west long touchdown play that the Hogs gave up to Dixon in the 3rd quarter. My bladder came to the rescue of my eyes!
* Speaking of bladders, the people in our row must have had the smallest, little biddy bladders in the Western Hemisphere. It was a constant stream of fans we had to stand up and let by. There was even one Miss. State fan by his lonesome. When he came back, I was tempted to let him know he missed Cobi Hamilton's touchdown catch and run. His bladder saved his eyes for that one.
* How complicated is a play clock? And why do they always seem to break at War Memorial? Can we not get the clock technicians of Arkansas together and insure that the play clock works at War Memorial? In related news, the fans did score one delay of game on Miss. State early in the first quarter.
* Was in no mood for the wave or the beach ball, not in a game as close as this one was at times.
* I think it is official. It took about ten years, but the Hogs finally replaced Stoerner at the qb position, for today Mallett broke Stoerner's record of season td passes of twenty six. I believe the new record is twenty-eight now.
* They don't tell you the scores that are going on in college football at War Memorial, but they did remind us today to wash our hands to prevent the spread of H1N1. Would anybody have cared if they had called it the swine flu?
* If I contacted anything other the metaphorical swine fever, which I think I have already, I got it from the people sitting in front of us. Much hand slapping amongst strangers went on between us.
* The coca cola can uniforms don't look as bad in person. I probably could get used to them, but I would like to see the more traditional look come back.
* Strange color fact of the season: When it comes to facing teams in maroon uniforms, the Hogs are 4-0 (Missouri State, Troy, Miss. State, South Carolina).
* Gary Anderson will represent us as our "legend" at the SEC Championship game in December. He is a Hog that can actually say he beat Florida. Did so in the Bluebonnet Bowl. At the time, St. Tebow wasn't even born. Anderson was honored on the field at halftime.
* The James Bond Fan Award goes to my old high school buddy who I saw at the game. They do make binoculars that you can't see out of, but can drink out of apparently.
* Congratulations to Alex for making all his extra points. When he would line up, I would say, "Hush, Alex is at work. Ssshh!" Alex, I did my part.
* And a thank you goes out to Michael Smith. Thank you for all that you've given the program. We are all saddened to hear that your career as a Razorback ended before today began.
* Lesson learned for the future, don't come to the last War Memorial game of the season and expect to buy a t-shirt you want that isn't large or extra large. I guess the mediums went during the first game. Alas.
* Mississippi State still has the we can't win a game in the state of Arkansas monkey on their back. I was glad to see them go home with it. They cost us a chance of a rematch with Tennessee back in 1998, and I have had a steady grudge against Miss. State ever since. Since that game, the Hogs have only lost to Miss. State once, last year.
* With that said, I hope they win the Egg Bowl this year. And so do a lot of LSU fans, I imagine!
* 7-4 and all remarkably just as I predicted it back in May. I think the Hogs are going to either Memphis or Dallas when it is all said and done. Wherever they go, I just hope they can get one of those rare, elusive Arkansas bowl wins. I think that will set us up for a big run in 2010 and make the non football months much easier to get through. And if you are already thinking about 2010, I will leave you with the schedule that just came out today, a day when the future of this young team shined very brightly.
September 4th Tennessee Tech at Fayetteville
September 11th Louisiana Monroe at Little Rock (expect a report) (I like having two warm up games)
September 18th Georgia at Athens
September 25th Alabama at Fayetteville
October 9th Texas A&M at Arlington, Texas
October 16th Auburn at Auburn
October 23rd Ole Miss sans McCluster at Fayetteville
October 30th Vanderbilt at Fayetteville
November 6th South Carolina at Columbia
November 13th UTEP at Fayetteville
November 20th Miss. State at Starkville
November 27th LSU at Little Rock (Will Les Miles be there too? I know I will)
Now, off to enjoy the scene over at "And the Valley Shook." Though I have to think the Tigers (those that haven't jumped in a bayou with a heavy weight) are going to be especially riled up come next week after how they lost this week. Be ready Hogs! Both those Hogs who will be on and off the field in Baton Rouge.