It's too soon to seriously break down that game but I know it was a heckuva lot of fun!
Count me among those who thought the game was over a few different times. This was the fourth time Arkansas played an overtime game under Bret Bielema, and they've never scored once, much less pushed the game to a fourth overtime.
Arkansas, specifically Brandon Allen, has been crushed for failures in close games. The Razorbacks finally won one a few weeks ago in Knoxville, but not because the offense scored any points. This time. the Hogs drove down the field for nearly a game-winning field goal in the last minute of regulation, then promptly scored touchdowns in all four overtime periods, including two 2-point conversions in the last couple of overtimes.
Allen, Drew Morgan, Kody Walker, Hunter Henry, Jeremy Sprinkle and more all made plays in the overtime periods. When the defense finally stopped Auburn on fourth down in the fourth overtime to clinch the game, it was, well, I guess we should have asked Bielema if it was something more than just "borderline" erotic.
There was plenty of criticism in the game, and most of it will come later. I don't feel like thinking too much about that right now. Lots of people complained that Arkansas threw too much. There were 32 passes to 49 runs, and Rawleigh Williams III was knocked out of the game in the third quarter. Kody Walker did finally return, and he was huge. He scored two of the touchdowns in overtime and the last two-point conversion.
It was a weird day for Alex Collins. He ran 25 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. He didn't play in overtime. Bielema said afterward he was banged up, and that Bielema was "pissed" at him for being late to the team breakfast this morning. We'll see how that moves going forward.
Dominique Reed and Damon Mitchell got involved in the running game, as Arkansas decided to bring back jet sweeps that have been largely absent this season. Reed scored the game's first touchdown on the play. They ran it five times total to both receivers, and racked up 44 yards on them. I bet that stays in the playbook.
Arkansas dominated Auburn through most of the first half. The Tigers basically couldn't catch a pass, but the Hogs were only able to moderately take advantage of it with only two first-half scores. The most egregious came in the second quarter when a bad Auburn punt let Arkansas start off at the Tigers' 38-yard line, but a penalty and pressure forced Allen into a bad throw that was picked off inside the five-yard line. That's when Auburn finally got everything together and drove down 96 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.
Auburn had the ball first after halftime, and scored again for the often lethal TD-right-before-halftime/TD-right-after-halftime combo. It was enough to tie the game, and kept them in it until the end, but the Hogs made just enough plays to pull it out.
Oh, and Bielema finally beat Gus. He really needed to. He can't say everything he's said about him and Auburn and lose to them in Fayetteville when the Tigers were underdogs. I don't know how ugly it would have gotten with the Arkansas fan base, but it would've been bad. Thankfully, we won't find out.
The win also means Arkansas is holding serve for bowl eligibility. With UT-Martin coming in town next week, the Hogs will almost definitely be 4-4 heading into November and as we all know by now, still have two more conference games in Fayetteville to close out the season.
But all that's for the future. This is for now and it was amazing. LSU and Ole Miss last season were both fun, but they were blowouts, this was a close game that Arkansas had to win at the end, and that hasn't happened at home for the Hogs since probably Miracle on Markham II. They don't come around too often. Enjoy this one.