After two extremely frustrating losses, Arkansas got to take out some frustrations on New Mexico State, beating them 42-24. The offense cruised all game, racking up 494 total yards. Austin Allen finished 19-26 for 264 yards and three touchdowns. The stable of running backs finished with 230 yards. Chase Hayden found the end zone twice Devwah Whaley scored as well.
New Mexico State’s offense, specifically quarterback Tyler Rogers, found a rhythm in the game, but Arkansas kept them off the scoreboard the first three drives. That was enough to allow the offense to give the Hogs a comfortable lead throughout the whole game. Rogers is no stranger to racking up yards this season. He nearly hit 400 yards against Arizona State and cleared that mark in their rivalry game against New Mexico. Today he finished with 344 yards and two touchdowns.
Who would step up at receiver with Jared Cornelius out for the year? Arkansas had three receivers stand out in this one, Deon Stewart, Jonathan Nance, and Jordan Jones. In Arkansas’ first drive of the game the Hogs came out with quick passes and it ended with a 38 yard pass to Stewart. Stewart ended the game with four catches and 71 yards and a TD, and Nance had six catches for 58 yards and a couple of TDs. Jones hauled in four balls for 84 yards.
After a touchdown from Whaley, Jonathan Nance got his touchdown and the Hogs were up 21-0. At that point the Aggies started clicking on offense but the hole was already too deep to really cause any stress. Hayden scored towards the end of the half and Arkansas went into halftime with a 28-10 lead.
New Mexico cut the score to 28-17 with a touchdown to open the second half but Arkansas responded with a 16-play drive that had some shenanigans in the red zone after the offensive line couldn’t get a push near the goal line. That was followed by the Aggies fumbling the kickoff and Hayden scoring to make it 42-17. It was defnitely running back by committee for Arkansas. All three of the main backs for Arkansas had at least 12 carries.
The Hogs were extremely successful in sustaining long drives in this one five of the six scoring drives for Arkansas were at least 8 plays and 60 yards. The one that wasn’t had a short field due to the turnover. The Hogs were successful on third downs as well, going 5-for-5 in the first half and finishing 9-of-13.
One interesting sub plot came in the third quarter. After the TCU game, Bielema made the comment that he would go for it on fourth down every time if needed. It looks like he wasn’t bluffing because Arkansas had two chances to kick a field goal with the game still not entirely in garbage time. Arkansas went for it twice and picked up the first down both times. The situation happened again in the fourth quarter and Arkansas didn’t kick for a third time. It was very clear the faith in the kicking game hasn’t been restored.
Was it a perfect performance? Definitely not, but Arkansas was solid in several spots and won comfortably. That kind of performance against a team that already gave a power five team a scare is a welcome positive after the last two games. Arkansas made some nice adjustments on offense, like having Allen throw some quick timing routes to minimize the amount of times he got hit. This is the kind of win that doesn’t change what people think of this season, or the direction of the program. However, Arkansas did the job that was put in front of them. Next up is four straight SEC games, time to see if those things carry over.