Brandon Allen put forth another solid performance. He was statistically pretty good, going 16-for-21 for 196 yards and two scores, but failed to lead the Hogs to a win when they needed a leader. His throw to Hunter Henry for what should have been a fourth-quarter touchdown was excellent but as we all know it was called back for offensive pass interference, which led to the terrible underthrow to Jeremy Sprinkle shortly thereafter.
Alex Collins put up his best performance of the season despite his 4th quarter fumble (but the game was already basically over by that point). Usually when Collins gets big numbers the Hogs are successful but this time it didn't translate to a Hog win. Rawleigh Williams continued to play occasional snaps and seems to be improving. We even saw BA run on a designed play which was... interesting. It's hard to rag on this unit's performance as it was their best outing of the season thus far.
Allen did a good job of spreading the wealth on Saturday with eight receivers recording at least one reception. The passing attack continues to take what the defense gives them. It's time to ask, "when is Dominique Reed going to be the impact player he was hyped to be?". Even though plenty of receivers caught some passes, Reed is still without a catch this season. Jared Cornelius had a great catch but unfortunately broke his arm on the play, adding to Arkansas' injury woes. With 3 good receivers out for an extended period, this unit needs figure out how they are going to progress.
The line seems to have found it's form again. The blocking up front was so much better than it has been, and as a result Collins rushed for 170 yards. Pass protection was similarly as solid. For once this unit seems to be moving in a positive direction. I'm hopeful we may see them in last season's form soon as the SEC defenses will be knocking on their door beginning this week. Penalties are still an issue, but less so than in previous weeks.
It will come as no surprise that our defensive struggles started at the line. Three games in and the defensive line still cannot get consistent pressure on the QB. Arkansas has only sacked a quarterback once through three games and only force five quarterback hurries. What made our defense so good last year was the pressure up front and if we can't emulate that this year than expect to see more games like this. The line needs to get nasty, because if they think the offensive lines have been good, wait till they play an SEC team.
Brooks Ellis led the unit as well as the defense with 12 total tackles, a TFL and a quarterback hit. The linebackers were clearly the most active defenders, however the issue with missed tackles continues to mar these games. As a whole, the defense was soft and made Mahomes look like a seasoned veteran. I foresee Rob Smith and this defense in the film room for a loooooooooong time. With TAMU coming up this unit and the entire defense need to get their act together or they'll look up at the scoreboard and see a large number staring back.
One interception is about the only play that deserves praise. Rohan Gaines played well out of the safety spot, notching up 10 tackles, but as a unit, the secondary didn't break up a single pass. There was another desperation heave turned interception at the end of the 1st half, but that's hardly anything to pat backs over. If there is one positive note, it's that the SEC isn't abundant with talented QBs at the moment. However, like the rest of the defense, there is a lot of room for improvement.
I don't know what to think at this point regarding Cole Hedlund. The kicker missed a 37 yarder that would have made it a one score game. 37 is a solid distance, but given that NFL PATs are now a 33 yarder, I expect Cole Hedlund to be a little more consistent. On the bright side; he only missed one.
Texas Tech was a big test for Arkansas. How the Hogs played against the Red Raiders was going to indicate how this season was going to continue to progress. Let's just say I'm not happy (like all of Hog Nation), and I'm very scared to see the news headlines in November. Like any good fan I'm hopeful and I trust our coaches, but it's time to see some payoff.