Brandon Allen was efficient and made plays. The story here though is the passing game finally opened up to allow BA to throw a few deep balls. Each attempt looked about as on target as possible, with BA keeping his composure in the pocket. He had two deep TDs that accounted for nearly one half of his yard total. Hopefully this was a sign of things to come. Of the few incompletions he had, they appeared to be "smart" or WR caused. Didn't see him force too many.
We got to see Austin Allen in this game as well. 1 pass for 35 yards and a TD isn't too shabby, but doesn't really tell us much. It's too bad we didn't get to see him throw the ball around a little more.
Collins had a career game with 5 TDs while averaging nearly 11 yards per carry. Safe to say Collins got fed and did what everyone hoped he'd do.
Loved what we saw from Kody Walker, who appears to be playing at full strength even with a bum thumb.
The newbies, Juan Day and Denzell Evans also saw some action. They both received only a few carries in the final quarter when UT-Martin knew we were grinding, so I'm not sure how much we can take from this, but I was impressed by Evans. Despite the run defense, Evans hit the hole with speed and racked up 49 yards on 6 carries. It will be interesting to see if anyone in addition to Collins and Walker gets some work in the remaining games since Rawleigh Williams III is out.
Pretty normal night for the receivers. We got to see Jared Cornelius back on the field which was great. He contributed to a solid performance from the unit. Big plays to Duwop Mitchell and Dominique Reed were perfect and should stand as examples for plays to come in the following weeks. Sprinkle appears to be clicking with two back-to-back solid performances. Of course we had Hunter Henry flexing his muscle for the NFL scouts. Really hope he stays next year. Morgan left early and iced his shoulder but all reports say it's nothing serious and he won't miss time.
A BA sack GASP! Despite that they appeared to be working efficiently. Alen stayed relatively clean, and the run game had excellent push and blocking. All this is to be expected against an inferior foe, so it's hard to evaluate accurately, but at least they didn't raise any questions, and Mitch Smothers even won SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. One note of concern, however, was our difficulty punching the ball in on short downs. Might have been all in my head, but it appeared we could run at will until we needed 2 yards and then our linemen struggled to get any push. Didn't affect the game, however, as we ran for a hyperbolic amount of yards and touchdowns.
The lack of a pass rush now has me incredibly concerned. On 44 dropbacks we didn't record a single sack. This is very alarming considering this was a game that was supposed to help get our team sack total into DOUBLE DIGITS. To make matters worse we didn't have a stranglehold on the running game at all, as UT-Martin moved the ball 139 yards with a 6 yard per carry average. We need to find a spark otherwise we might get embarrassed against a certain SEC running back. Maybe we need to rotate some personnel.
An interception and a forced fumble for this group really helps to pull their grade out of the dumps, but I wasn't impressed with our tackling or our coverage on 1st and 2nd downs. I don't want to have any knee jerk reactions to this game since there is no way we approached it like an SEC game, but still... I'm a little nervous as we head into a tough November desperately needing to win 2 games. Brooks is still solid, and Dre Greenlaw led the team in tackles again which should provide fans with a little bit of hope for the future.
Rohan Gaines had an early interception, which was great, but also likely took plenty of heat in the film room when he bounded off a Skyhawk player on his way to the end zone in the second quarter. It was a really bad look. It should be noted the group didn't play with D.J. Dean nor Santos Ramirez, but it's still a really bad look to give up 380 passing yards to UT-Martin.
It was fine. Arkansas didn't attempt a field goal, but did punt a couple of times. They didn't allow any huge returns. Jared Cornelius had a nice punt return.
Offensively we did better than I was expecting. Defensively, we just have to hope this was a lethargic performance against an inferior opponent. I have too much trust in Robb Smith at this point to doubt too much. He found a way to rally the troops last year and shut out two opponents back to back. Who knows, we might even see 300 yard, 3 TD performance from Allen in the future. For now, rest easy knowing the Hogs are finally .500.