I'm going to need more time to process this fully.
Just random thoughts going on.
I know a lot of people will complain about Little Rock and War Memorial Stadium, but this is on the team. It's on the coaches and the players. This result shouldn't happen if the game was played in the Mud Bowl from Friday Night Lights.
Too many penalties, and penalties at the worst possible time. Holding penalties wiped out two Arkansas touchdowns, and the Hogs ended up with zero points on those drives.
Too many bad throws. Brandon Allen had Hunter Henry open on the next to last play but overthrew him. It's unfortunate because Allen was easily Arkansas' best player for most of the game, but we knew all summer he'd have to come through in the clutch and he had an opportunity today and didn't do it.
Speaking of Allen, he threw 53 passes. FIFTY-THREE. How do you throw for 412 yards and zero touchdowns? That has to be some sort of record. Who is this team? Arkansas had a strong identity, or so we all thought.
To be fair, the rushing game wasn't working at all. In 31 attempts, Arkansas gained just 103 yards. That's not good enough.
Jared Cornelius suspended for the first half as was Dominique Reed, who I don't think ever got on the field. Arkansas has had way too many little discipline issues over the last month. Didn't see JoJo Robinson on the field either, again.
Giving up 16 points to Toledo isn't a shocking result. That's about what many in the media predicted. But Arkansas' passing defense has simply not been good in either game this season. UTEP completed 14 of 19 passes. Toledo threw more frequently and completed 21 of 38 for 237 yards. With Texas Tech and A&M coming up, that should be a huge red flag.
Time to admit that losing four NFL players on defense did indeed have a big impact. Arkansas' defense is not terrible at all, but it's not nearly what it was.
It's hard to say how much losing Jonathan Williams has hurt the team. It didn't look like Alex Collins had a lot of running room. The Razorbacks even failed to convert a 4th-and-1. The offensive line has plenty to answer to.
In the bigger picture, all that positive momentum from last November and the Texas Bowl is gone. Arkansas has gone from a program on the rise to the SEC West team that lost to Toledo.
Bielema should never have shaved. The 5 o'clock shadow was working.
Bret Bielema has to start winning close games at some point. Has to. Can't bank on shutouts to win games even if it is a hell of a lot of fun.
I don't know what's going to happen next for this program, and neither do you. Texas Tech was basically overlooked all offseason because Arkansas won so easily in Lubbock last year, but you can't bank on anything at this point. It's a scary place to be.