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Arkansas vs Texas Tech Reaction: Bossa Nova Baby, Bielema Ball Taking Hold

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It doesn't get any better than the King, and it didn't get any better than the way we finished off Ryan Gosling and the Raiders on Saturday.

John Weast

Bossa nova, Bossa nova.

There’s a commercial running right now, can’t even remember what it’s for, that features the great Elvis song "Bossa Nova Baby" from the Fun in Acapulco soundtrack.

(We miss you, King.)

The chorus represents a great hook that sticks in your head and puts down roots. If you know it, I dare you not to play it in your head right now.

Bossa nova, bossa nova….It sure was fun in Lubbock.

For those of you without Wiki access, bossa nova is a genre of Brazilian dance music.

Literally, it means, "new trend." I think we saw the beginning of a new trend on Saturday. We may look back on this convincing 49-28 win in Lubbock as the long awaited birth, first half at Auburn notwithstanding, of Bielema ball at Arkansas.

And for Pete’s sake, it looked so like Wisconsin of old that Mike Patrick couldn’t seem to remember that Beliema wasn’t coaching up north any more.

Anyway, the song’s chorus kept running through my head during the second half of Saturday’s beatdown in Lubbock (Bertdown, perhaps, for the haters?).

We grooved and moved and otherwise left the boys with TT on their hats -- the real reason A&M escaped the Big 12, by the way -- woozy, and our offense danced the bossa nova.

It was, in a word, boss. In two words, it was Boss Hog.

Granted, we still haven’t won an SEC game in the Bielema era, and the competition is gonna improve. I think we’re down to, what, 6, top 20 teams left on the schedule? (If we run for 400 on Bama and LSU, I’ll be dancing the bossa nova in the streets, literally. Seriously, I will.dance.in.the.streets. In nothing but my Uncle Heavy’s.)

But Saturday marked the first in-game, on-field evidence that Bielema’s philosophy is taking hold on the Hill. And to me, there’s not a more beautiful brand of football than the smash-mouth, stop-us-if-you-can version we employed to pull away and deny the Raiders even the faintest hope of launching a rally. We take over with 9 to go and Tech doesn’t touch the ball again?

Bossa nova

By now, the box score is engrained in our minds: 400-plus rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs , a 41-19 edge in time of possession. One punt. But it was more than just the Beliema engine humming. Our D made plays. Yeah, it gave up some YAC and missed some tackles, and there’s work still to be done, but it MADE PLAYS.

The DL harrassed Webb, the linebackers were in position to make plays and did (hello Ellis and Spaight), the young DBs carried on their shoulders the glimmer of hope for the future. The rehabbed Tevin Mitchell, beat on one play, looked like the Tevin Mitchell to whom we were first introduced in 2011 in the first quarter, helping send an early message that Tech wasn’t going to move the ball seamlessly.

We overcame adversity on the road, and it’s been a while since we could say that. Jared Collins’ mistake on the first punt, the badly missed holding call that enabled Tech to score its first touchdown, the botched pitch from AC to Hatcher. Hearing Beliema tell Chatty Cathy going into halftime that we were through being cute was music to my ears.

Bossa nova

And apparently, the elevators at the original AT&T worked, because Jim Chaney made it to the locker room and the message appears to have been delivered. The second half was so dominating -- did anyone else recall the second half of the Auburn game but in reverse? – "cute" was the last thing we needed to be.

Cute has no Hoganese translation. Bielema ball is Dan Skipper, a nasty 6-10 beast who at times swatted away Tech defenders like flies. Literally.  (And a note to future opponents: I wouldn’t make any moves toward Brandon Allen that could be construed as potential late hits. Unless, of course, you want No. 76 in your face.)

Speaking of BA, I’ll offer up a confession: In the aftermath of 2013, I half expected Peavey to be starting mid-season. I knew Brandon played hurt, but like so many my confidence was shaken. He’s quietly gone about his business and proven the doubters were wrong.

Some post-game quick-hitters:

  • Post-game, Bielema had the look of a man who's seen the light at the end of the tunnel. His quasi-giddiness for the players - and for the fan base - was palpable. Nice ode to the old folks as well, Coach.
  • Not sure BA broke a sweat in the game. Well, maybe on that third quarter TD scramble, a thing of beauty. He bought time, baited DBs and used his legs to score easily. He missed a couple of would-be TD passes, but as fans we come to expect perfection. BA made some pretty impressive throws as well, and better yet - he's making all the right decisions.
  • Patrick Arinze......dang. RBU? How about FBU?
  • Nice contingent of Hog fans in the SE corner (I think it was the SE corner). Lubbock is a haul from most of Texas, much less Arkansas. It wasn't long into the 4th that we seemed to outnumber the home folks. And that dang horse had long since been put out to pasture.
  • Did we strategically kick off short for most of the game? ‘Cause I half expected us to give up one. Cover, cover, cover...
  • I like Robb Smith as DC and the new makeup of the defensive staff.
  • The receivers sure seem to have bought in with the way they block downfield. Hat tip to those guys. Their time'll come.
  • Is it just me, or did the refs (an SEC crew no less) have trouble with spots? I mean, they couldn't spot their junk in the shower...
  • Football is so much more enjoyable when it's based in the trenches. At least to me. And winning by grinding your opponent into the dirt is so much more satisfying than simply "outscoring" it.

It feels good to enjoy a win like this. We deserve it. But NIU is no pushover, and the Mongol hordes await. This win guarantees nothing.

But it sure did send a message. It was, as a certain smiling coach likes to say, real American football.

To which I say, God bless America.

Cue Elvis: