In a throwback game to 20 years ago that looked nothing like what we expected to see, TCU ran over and wore down the Razorbacks. The TCU offense made mistakes and stumbled at times leaving many opportunities open, few of which Arkansas could capitalize on.
David Williams was the only bright spot in the run game, and one half of the passing game looked polished with Austin Allen using some nice play action passes to gain most of the passing yards on the day.
Austin Allen had another less than stellar game going 9-23 with 138 yards and a TD. The most depressing stat was the team 3rd down conversion rate of 4-14. It is hard to keep a drive going with such a poor conversion rate on third down an a lot of that can be attributed to getting nothing from the early down run game.
The defense did not play terrible as a unit, even though it seems the front in the 3-4 has a long way to go. There is just a huge drop off from the first group at N, and DE.
1. The Run game is broken.
Short Yardage, nope. First down success rate, not much there either. Dan Enos threw everything he had at the TCU defense. They shifted, motioned, went one back, two back, used multiple tight ends. Tried pretty much anything and everything to get yards on the ground with little success. Williams was able to break a couple runs but only 65 yds total for the game. We learned that the 2017 offensive line is about at the same level of short yardage push as what we became accustomed to last year. TCU was able to stunt and shoot gaps out of the 4-2-5 to wreak havoc at the point of attack all day.
2. Dre Greenlaw and Santos Ramirez are warriors on defense.
These two combined for big play after big play, and the defense played well through three quarters. Santos Ramirez came up with a key pick in the first quarter that set the Arkansas offense up in great field position, but resulted in a missed 23 yd FG by Hedlund.
Even with some rotation at the linebacker spot, fatigue was a huge factor late in the game. The game turned ugly with the lopsided score, but the play of these two stood out as a lone bright spot.
3. Special Teams are not special.
When a defense says, we don’t even need to attempt to block the kick and they still clank it off the upright there is a big problem. Should there be a change at the FG kicker spot? I think so, it looks like a mental thing at this point. Kicking to a big time returner on the opening kickoff, and giving him the opportunity to chew up chunks of yardage in punt returns sure did not help either.
That is certainly not the way this team wanted to go in to an early season bye week. There are plenty of aspects to evaluate, and many of the same issues of a year ago still ring true. How can this Razorback squad put together a consistent run game paired with the well-oiled play action passing system that is currently in place? Is it the offensive line play, or a combination of play calling and execution? The Arkansas offense went seven straight drives ending without points on the board after the touchdown bomb to Jonathan Nance in the first quarter.
This bye week talk should be fun all around.