Last week, Arkansas seemingly had the attention of the nation in a game that turned into a classic thriller. This week, Arkansas was so far away from that, they only played 10 minutes in the fourth quarter and nobody cared.
The Texas State game was always the most boring game on Arkansas’ 2016 schedule. And fortunately, the Razorbacks did what they were supposed to do. It was not a repeat of the Louisiana Tech game.
The game’s outcome was never in question. The Hogs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and were up 28-0 by halftime. Arkansas outgained the Bobcats 467-105 yards, the types of numbers that should help Arkansas’ rankings in team statistical categories. Austin Allen and Rawleigh Williams continued to lead Arkansas efficiently. Allen was 16-21 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. It was nearly three but a 73-yard completion to Keon Hatcher was ruled down at the 1-yard line, setting up an easy score for Kody Walker. Williams ran for 121 yards on 19 carries and scored twice.
Most importantly, Arkansas’ young players were able to get some game time in. Devwah Whaley rushed 11 times for 50 yards. Ty Storey made his in-game debut for the Hogs, although he only attempted one pass and it fell incomplete. Several backup linemen made appearances late in the game.
I think the biggest question for Arkansas at this point is how good is this defense? There have definitely been shaky moments, like the beginning of the Louisiana Tech game and the fourth quarter against TCU. But they’ve been pretty salty the rest of the time. Ryan Pulley ran back the Razorbacks’ second pick-six of the season against Texas State. The Bobcats didn’t get a single drive go more than five plays in the first half. We’ll find out how good they are next week in Arlington vs A&M, but there’s reason to be optimistic.
Another question is Arkansas’ continual shaking around of the offensive line. Jake Raulerson and Frank Ragnow switched places Saturday night. It seems like that tinkering isn’t the best sign, but it hasn’t cost Arkansas anything yet. But a quarter of the way into the season, you’d like to think the coaches would have that figured out by now.
Anyway, we can now focus our attention on the Aggies. It’s a huge game for Arkansas. Obviously, it’s a game the Razorbacks have given away the last two seasons and the Hogs need it to so as to not start off in hole this season. Additionally, with Alabama’s win on Saturday against Ole Miss, it could set up a massive showdown in Fayetteville, the most hyped game of Bielema’s tenure at Arkansas, against the Tide in a few weeks.
Everything starts now. Let’s go.