Well, doubters, has Brandon Allen earned your fan support yet? This was arguably the best performance by a Razorback quarterback ever. In what was the worst game we've played defensively, Allen put the team on his back to throw for an Arkansas record 6 TDs and near-record 442 yards. Almost every pass had touch, was perfectly placed, or he waited just long enough for his receiver to make that final cut before dropping it perfectly into coverage. Say what you want about Dan Enos' play-calling, but boy, did he help the QB position. Well done!
Alex Collins had a quiet afternoon rushing for 108 yards for a cool 6.4 average and "catching" for another 35 on the Immaculateral. Multiple times he was one diving tackle away from breaking 6-yarders into 40-yarders. Against any other defense I think he runs for 180 but there is just too much speed on that Ole Miss defense. That run (which counted as a catch) was brilliant. The grade is getting a boost for that!
Kody Walker isn't as explosive, but he grinded his way to 49 tough yards and a rushing TD, which featured him running over some poor Ole Miss defender. That was cool.
Eight guys saw the ball thrown their way, but the play of Drew Morgan and Dominique Reed was above all else. The two combined for 16 catches, 227 yards and 5 touchdowns. I believe it was the first time in school history we've had a 100-yd rusher and two 100-yd receivers in the same game. In addition Jared Cornelius flexed his muscles for 76 yards and a TD. It was amazing to see the effect his return and Reed's development have had on our offense. Defenses are going to struggle trying to cover Morgan, Reed, Henry and Cornelius on the field at the same time. Lastly, Hunter Henry must have something special in him in to catch that ball and immediately bomb it back 20 yards towards Collins.
I was overall impressed by this group. Defensively, this is a scary matchup for our guys. Sure, Arkansas outweighs everyone they face, but the Ole Miss D is fast, which has been a problem for the Hogs but they dealt with it. Run blocking was solid. For the most part they kept Allen clean and gave up just a couple of sacks just twice. Also, big credit to Dan Skipper tipping Henry's lateral, because that's how it bounced just in front of Collins. If Skipper wasn't 6'10", one of the Rebels might have caught it.
These guys aren't bad, they just aren't enough. They're constantly a fraction of a second away from a sack, and when they had a shot against Ole Miss, they whiffed. They did a decent job of getting into the backfield to pressure Chad Kelly, but he was able to escape whenever he wanted and usually for big yardage. Deatrich Wise did finally get a sack late in the game that helped force overtime. Even matching up against Laremy Tunsil, I expected us to get a few TFLs
As usual the linebackers got dirty and played hard, but unfortunately they were drinking what everyone else was on the defense and allowed the Ole Miss offense to have their way with them. I don't even want to talk about the missed tackles, but everyone on the defense seemed to have one. I found myself yelling "SPY!" numerous times on Saturday as I saw Kelly sprint down the field at will. Dre Greenlaw and Brooks Ellis accounted for 17 tackles, but unfortunately we have to put 9 other people on the field. We need production, now it's up to Smith to figure out how to find it.
The unit accumulated 3 pass break ups which is a relief because I'd hate to have seen what the Ole Miss WRs could've done with 3 more passes. With such a huge defensive malfunction across the board I'm torn between blaming the players and Robb Smith. Kevin Richardson led the team in tackles with 10, and while that's great for the former walk-on to have a nice game, it's normally not a great thing when someone at his position is leading the team in tackles.
Nice field goal before the half for Cole Hedlund, bad FG in the final seconds. He really needs to figure out his trajectory, because 2 yards shouldn't mean the difference between drilling it and hitting a lineman in the chest.Other than that, no huge mistakes on punt or kickoff coverage. The Hogs even had a couple of touchbacks! Arkansas allowed one nice kick return but overall played them solidly.
This game was ugly at times. Arkansas' defense was exposed all day, but the offense was there to answer back. Excellent win. Everybody's pumped for LSU. Win one more game against your bitter rivals and become bowl eligible. That sounds like one hell of a Saturday!