Whenever a team plays against an FCS team, there's a certain script the game is supposed to generally follow. Regardless of roster, scheme, or anything else, unless the opponent happens to be one of the very best FCS teams, the game is supposed to follow a template, and for the most part, this game did.
The closest thing to a story is that the defense didn't have its best outing. They did give up a ton of yards, 519 to be exact. 263 of those came in the first half. UT-Martin was able to score touchdowns just before and after halftime, turning a 35-7 lead into 35-21 early in the third quarter, and Arkansas' starters had to stay in the game. That may have cost them, as Drew Morgan went into the locker room with a shoulder injury and Dan Skipper went down soon after. We don't yet know the severity of those injuries, but neither looked to be too significant. It's just disappointing that they happened in the third quarter.
We all know Arkansas has weaknesses defensively. It's not a secret at this point in the season. The Hogs have problems defending against the pass, especially the middle of the field, and UT-Martin took full advantage of it. It didn't help that D.J. Dean sat out the game with turf toe and Santos Ramirez also didn't play. They would have helped, but they alone wouldn't have shut down the Skyhawks.
We're far along in the season that the defense's quality should not be judged on just a single game. There are now eight performances' worth of work we can sift through. This is the first time an opponent has scored 28 points on the Razorbacks in regulation since Texas Tech. This game doesn't mean Ole Miss is going to light up the Hogs for 40+ points. This game and several before it mean the middle of the field will likely be open, and the Rebels and other future opponents will try to exploit it until the Hogs stop it. How many points that results in remains to be seen.
The good news for today is that the offense did pretty much whatever they wanted. They only punted once when the starters were in the game. Alex Collins scored five touchdowns - only the fifth time a Razorback has ever scored five in a game - and ran for 173 yards on 16 carries. Brandon Allen threw two touchdown passes, both bombs to Damon Mitchell and Dominique Reed, as part of his 265 yards passing. He completed 14 of 19 passes. His pass to Reed was a 71-yard completion that came as he took a big hit. Allen won the Crip Hall Award - the honor given to the senior with the best performance on Homecoming - for his efforts.
Arkansas won without any threat of losing, posting their highest point total of the season. They hadn't scored more than 24 points in regulation since the season-opener against UTEP.
It was good to see some new faces as well as see others for the first time in a while. Jared Cornelius returned with what I assume is some sort of robot arm they had to attach to him, and caught four passes for 33 yards, and nearly scored a touchdown on 33-yard punt return. When Austin Allen came into the game in the fourth quarter, he threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Sprinkle on his first pass. It was his only pass attempt. Denzel Evans looked good at running back and Juan Day made his Razorback debut, rushing for 17 yards on four carries.
Dre Greenlaw led the team in tackles again. Reminder, he's a freshman.
Now Arkansas can finally fully focus on what should be an eventful November. As has been much discussed, the Hogs get two road games at Ole Miss and LSU, and follow it up with two home games against Mississippi State and Missouri. Arkansas must win two of those games to earn bowl eligibility. They're all big, important games, and simply put, they'll define the season.