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Arkansas 49, Kentucky 7: It's Only Kentucky, But Still...

Despite the awful competition, Arkansas has shown signs of real life in the last two weeks.

Wesley Hitt - Getty Images

I know it was only Kentucky. I know that.

I know they're 1-6. I know they're the third best team in their own state. I know they're the only team in the conference more injury-riddled than Arkansas. I know they're the only team other than Auburn that Clint Mosely could start for.

I know they're terrible. I know, I know, I know.

But still.

How about that Arkansas offense?

Arkansas scored more points in one half than the Wildcats had given up in any full game this season, and the 49-7 margin was the Hogs' second-largest ever in SEC play and the largest since 2003.

The Hogs had 444 yards of total offense at halftime and finished with 533. Tyler Wilson threw for a career-high five touchdowns and 372 yards.


From Arkansas' first play from scrimmage, when Bobby Paul Petrino dialed up the first of two wheel-route TDs for freshman Jonathan Williams, the Hogs were in an offensive rhythm unseen in Fayetteville this season.

Tyler Wilson was patient, the receivers were sure-handed, and the offensive line protected well and opened holes for Dennis Johnson (12 carries, 82 yards, three total TDs) and a seemingly improving Knile Davis (13 carries, 68 yards).

From the booth down to the field, it was the Hogs' best showing in a long time.

Yes, Kentucky is decimated by injuries and weren't very good even at full health.

But still.

I know it's only Kentucky, but how about that Arkansas defense?

The unit that gave up 110 points in its first two SEC games has now surrendered a total of 14 in its last two.

The freshmen pressed into early service by a lack of depth at linebacker and in the secondary are growing up, and injury replacements like Terrell Williams look more than capable of playing SEC football. Missed tackles are down, pressure on opposing quarterbacks is up, and suddenly Paul Haynes seems to have figured out how to coordinate a defense.

Arkansas hit 500 yards before the Wildcats broke 100, and the Hogs defense kept Kentucky out of the end zone until many starters had already been pulled.

Granted, the Kentucky quarterbacks showed a startling ability to miss open targets.

But still.

I know it's only Kentucky, but how about this turnaround?

Two weeks ago, things were as bleak as they've been at any time in Razorback history. Unlike other bad years, this team had talent - even if it wasn't the top-10 talent we expected, it was too good to lose the way the Hogs were losing. That's what made September all the more unbearable.

The team seemed listless, directionless, leaderless, clueless, hopeless.

In short, they looked absolutely nothing like the team on the soggy turf of Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday night.

That team had confidence and energy. That team wanted to win and believed that it could. That team was having fun and was fun to watch. That these players didn't let the season go completely down the toilet may be their most impressive accomplishment yet.

Of course, considering the opponent, any optimism gained from Saturday night should remain guarded. We still haven't seen the defense stop a team with even average quarterback play, and the offense needs to prove it can move the ball consistently against a better competition.

Still, it'd be hard to have witnessed the utter decimation we saw Saturday night and not have one's spirits lifted at least a little.

I know it's only Kentucky, but how about them Hogs?