If you want to look at this game as the exorcising of a year's worth of demons, you can do that.
If you want to look at this game as Arkansas simply taking advantage of a completely overwhelmed opponent, you can claim that as well.
It was too easy for the Hogs Saturday afternoon. And when I say too easy, I mean no, really, way too easy. Brandon Allen only completed four passes but they were all for touchdowns. Three of Arkansas' first five offensive snaps were for touchdowns. The Razorbacks scored 35 points in the first quarter and 56 in the first half. Nicholls didn't get beyond the 50-yard line in the first half.
73 points is tied for the third most in Razorback history with the 1928 Texas Southwestern game.
It was a great day for stat padding in the running game. Alex Collins rushed 13 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns (he only had four all year last year). Jonathan Williams only ran four times but gained 143 yards including a 90-yard touchdown run. Unfortunately, Korliss Marshall didn't play and Lord knows what he could've done running away from the Colonels. Bielema said after the game that Marshall would be 100% ready to go against Texas Tech.
On the first drive after halftime, Brandon Allen completed a shovel pass to Jared Cornelius that he took 38 yards for a touchdown. It's a play I don't remember seeing before in the Bielema era.
Defensively, Martrell Spaight led the Hogs with 6 tackles (a linebacker leading in tackles! WOOT!). JaMichael Winston and Khalia Hackett followed with 5 each. Taiwan Johnson had 2.5 sacks and Darius Philon had 1.5. DJ Dean also earned an interception (and nearly took a punt return all the way for a touchdown as well). Trey Flowers didn't register a sack or a quarterback hurry, but it sure seemed like he was in that backfield an awful lot (at least as long as the starters were in the game.)
Nicholls' only touchdown came on a drive that was interrupted by Bielema challenging a spot while leading 63-0. That happened.
But ultimately, what does this mean going forward? It all depends on how the team reacts to an easy win breaking the long losing streak. Does it give them any accurate sense of confidence going into a much more difficult game next week? Does it, at the very least, erase any losing mentality that might have developed during the last 10 games? We'll see. I'm sure we'll get told all the right things.
As bad as Nicholls is (and they are horrendous. The Nicholls beat writer next to me told me they were picked 9th in their conference out of 11 teams - and the two teams picked behind them have been playing football for a combined 6 seasons total in their histories) Arkansas should gain some confidence from this. The Razorback had a far easier time with the Colonels than Air Force did last week. Nicholls didn't even have much success throwing against Arkansas, with starter Kale Henderson completing just 12 of 30 passes.
However, the team shouldn't be too confident because Nicholls is really bad. The Razorbacks still need to prove something and they'll have a real shot in Lubbock next week in what is a huge game for Arkansas.
But ultimately, it's hard to find too much to complain about with today's performance. Arkansas needed to dominate. They did. The game was never in question. This wasn't anything like last year's Samford game. No one appeared to get hurt. Lots of players saw the field that didn't play against Auburn. It's time to find out what this team can do and hopefully we'll start to find out next week.
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