Arkansas was winning 27-9 with 6 minutes to go in the third quarter. TJ Hammonds just broke free on a shovel pass and did what he does. Arkansas got 4 yards the rest of the game and was outscored 25-0 in that stretch to lose 34-27.
The huge momentum switch happened right at the start of the fourth quarter. Arkansas had a 4th and 1 right at midfield. With the score at 27-17, a conversion and a score would have likely iced the game. Arkansas was averaging over six yards per carry at the time and Devwah Whaley had a career high in rushing yards.
Instead Chad Morris punted the ball and put his visibly tired defense (who for the first 3 quarters were much better than expected) back on the field. The Rams seized the momentum, took advantage of a wearing down defense. The Rams put up points in each of their last four drives to put themselves over the top.
Things started slow for both offenses. Ty Storey started and went 5/13 with two interceptions. Kelley came in at halftime and ended up with 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Arkansas outrushed the Rams 299 to 40, and led in the ground game 300 to 0 at one point. The offense inexplicably abandoned the run game at some of the most crucial times, and gave CSU the ball back, all while piling up the momentum.
There were several moments, especially in the third quarter where the offense was looking good. The defense looked outstanding in the first half before eventually wearing down.
That all washed away with horrendous game management and a fourth quarter that killed the game. Things only get harder coming up. North Texas is slinging the ball around, then starts SEC. One thing is for sure in this game, things looked like building blocks were being laid. Then there was a sledgehammer taken to all of those blocks and now the climb uphill gets even tougher.