If it is Arkansas vs. Kentucky in football, I think we can now say, always expect some weirdness, always expect some drama. From the seven overtime game and late Arkansas collapse in Lexington of years past to now the rain and lightening storm and a game cut short in the third quarter in Fayetteville, the Hogs vs. the Wildcats is not a common match-up on the calendar and as we are seeing, also plenty uncommon in its execution.
Before this Sunday rewind goes much further, let me say I tip my Hog hat to all those fans who braved rain that hasn't been seen in Fayetteville since Noah floated over the Ozarks. Living here in Oklahoma, I experienced the same rain as I followed at home the Saturday progress of college football from the warmth and dryness of my living room. And I was afraid all day that by the time kickoff arrived in Fayetteville the rain would be there to drown out the game.
But unlike the two previous downpours that the Hogs have played in, our Razorbacks came out hot on both sides of the ball and stayed that way. Who were these dark uniformed (still am no fan of that look) pigskin tossers and tacklers? Even last year when we played inferior opponents (think Ole Miss, Vanderbilt) we never dominated like we did last night against Kentucky. Last night we did anything and everything we wanted on offense and kept Tyler upright. On defense we allowed only seven points. That makes two games in a row where the defense has not given up more than one touchdown. Yeah, slap me! haha.Here are some piece by piece observations from last night.
* Are there a set of legs in all of college football more fun to watch than Dennis Johnson's? haha. They move and churn so quickly they look like they are attached to a button on a video game console. He had 12 carries for 82 yards (6.8 average) and two touchdowns with his longest run being 22 yards.
* The return of the wheel route! I wondered if we would ever cycle back to it. And what a nice result when we do, a touchdown on the first play of the game!
* Jonathan Williams' impersonation of Ronnie Wingo on that wheel route was dead on. I am comforted in knowing that he is just a piglet and will see much more action with the Hogs in the years ahead.
* Tyler Wilson had a night like in the old days. He threw for five touchdowns (tied a school record) and 372 yards with a 74% completion percentage for just a half and one series, and partly in a monsoon.
* I thought it unfortunate in Brandon Allen's limited action that none of the receivers caught one of his passes. He needs some confidence building. I had a small flashback, oh the horror, of the ULM game.
* The two J H's both scored a touchdown last night. Julian Horton and Javontee Herndon have been the chorus to the likes of Cobi, Wright, and Childs, so it was good to see them step out on center stage with scores.
* Ten different Razorbacks caught a ball last night from Tyler Wilson. Hopefully in two weeks, Chris Gragg will be one of them as well.
* John L. Smith (our smiling Job) expanded his record against Kentucky to 4-2, having had a 3-2 record against them while at Louisville. The team gave the game ball to him.
* Though keeping in mind they didn't play a full sixty minutes, I thought it amazing that neither team turned over the ball in all that rain. Haha, though I confess that my ass muscles clinched just about every time Knile Davis got tackled. To his credit, he kept the ball out of Kentucky's hands.
* Kentucky was only 4-15 in passing as a team. I was prepared, as we all our, to watch the Hogs make Kentucky's inexperience at QB look like Heisman material, but that was clearly not the case. It helped too that Kentucky's receivers, though they might have a cold now, couldn't catch one last night.
* I miss Keiro Small, but I am becoming a fan of Lonoke, Arkansas's own, Morgan Linton, at fullback. He is 5'11 and 240 pounds of pave the way. He also caught a pass from out of the backfield last night for a 19 yard pickup.
* BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: Yes, that was a very bad Kentucky team, and Arkansas will likely be competing with Kentucky for a coach come late November. But I think that is a match-up we can win in football. In a comment earlier in the week, I had commented that I wanted to see the Hogs display a killer instinct. Get all on top of somebody and not let up. They did exactly that against Kentucky. I hope this catches on and becomes a trend. Though they have a ways to go, the Hogs did take another step of climbing out of the deep hole they dug for themselves back in September. It remains to be seen if they can climb so far as to get a post-season birth. Better teams than Auburn and Kentucky are ahead, starting with Ole Miss.
AROUND THE REST OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UNIVERSE:
* Was glad to see Ole Miss break their SEC losing streak with a win over Auburn. I sure hope the Hogs can defeat the Black Rebel Bears in two weeks in Little Rock, but if they don't, at least we were not the team that they ended their losing streak on. That honor now rests on the plains.
* Enjoyed every minute of the Red River Blowout. This makes two weeks in a row where Texas has lost and Arkansas has won. If only those OU paperclips on those helmets had been Hogs!
* South Carolina vs. LSU was the best game that I personally watched. The weather delay in Fayetteville helped me see more of it than I expected. South Carolina isn't out of it yet, but like the Hogs, they appear to have the tendency to get right on the edge of greatness and then fall back down to something lesser. I wouldn't be surprised if they are still not smoking the cigar at the end of the season.
* Missouri still doesn't have its first conference win. And I don't think anybody but Truman the Tiger expected them to get it against Alabama. They still have Kentucky to play on their schedule. And if they can't get it there, haha, then they might have to wait until next year.
* In the coaching search, headquartered in Fayetteville, does Sonny Dykes get any points for a moral victory against Texas A&M and hanging with them through three more quarters than what Arkansas did?
* I am not rooting for Kansas State and I know it is a new season, but I do feel better and better about our Cotton Bowl win against them as they continue to advance in the polls and win games. Having an established head coach matters, doesn't it?
* Did you notice? I did because I paid attention to just about nothing but college football yesterday, that and the rain outside. Northwestern became bowl eligible yesterday. We think we have had bad times bowling at Arkansas. The Northwestern Wildcats have not won a bowl game since their first trip to a bowl game, the 1948 Rose Bowl where they beat Cal. Since then, they have lost nine bowl games in row. Will this year be the year for them?
* Finally, I want to say that I too was saddened to hear that the college football universe of ours lost Beano Cook this week at the age of 81. A library of college football memory burned down with his passing. If the fates had been more considerate, they would have let him finish out the season.