After last night’s debacle and feeling livid that Arkansas gave up 25 unanswered in the closing minutes to a weak Colorado State team, I wanted to take a night of sleep before writing this to see if I could separate myself from the emotions of the game and have a much more cool and level headed reaction to it.
It didn’t work.
When thinking about how this game ended, I keep coming back to this.
See, kids be getting stuck with jewels and fly gimmicks
Shorty see the action and then start to mimic
Running to the corner, the dice game is blazing
Looking at the loot, it seems so amazing
Puts the short down, to be exact one pound
He shakes the stones in his hand, then he lets it down
Scared money don’t make none
That’s from A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 song “Midnight,” the last line felt especially appropriate for this game. Scared money don’t make none, basically a saying that no risk means no gains.
Against Colorado State, Arkansas very notably took no risk, and got no gains.
For all that talk about Hammer Down! Left Lane! Chad Morris had his first chance to do so and folded by punting on fourth and one. If you weren’t in Fort Collins, let me tell you that the mood change in the entire stadium was palpable when that decision was made. That eerie “here we go again” crept over the thousands of Hog fans that just minutes ago were filling Canvas Stadium with a Hog call as CSU fans started to head for the exits.
The decision to punt has been attempted to be justified by some saying the defense was playing lights out. While they were outstanding in the first half, there were clear signs of wearing down. In the first quarter they allowed 34 yards in 12 plays (2.8 yards per play), in the second it was 65 yards in 19 plays (3.4 yards per play), and in the third 135 yards in 17 plays (7.9 yards per play). In even simpler terms had just gone 70 yards in 7 plays for their first touchdown of the game. The Rams had started to figure things out on offense, and the defense was clearly wearing down.
All pretty clear signs that you need to keep the ball in the hands of an offense, who by the way was averaging six yards per carry at this point. Devwah Whaley was also at a carrerr high in rushing yards and had runs of 5, 11, and 4 yards on this very drive. Instead he put a clearly tiring defense and an offense with momentum back on the field. The result was about as predictable as they come.
It wasn’t the only mistake obviously. Special teams had their struggles, the offensive play calling sputtered, and the defense had a full quarter to figure things out and didn’t. But when you’re coming in as a new coach and promising all this up tempo, aggressive football, you got to back it up when you have the chance. And in his first real test, he failed to do that.
Morris had a chance to instill his new identity with this program. One that aligned with all the fun buzz words we had heard all offseason. Instead, we got more of the same.
Scared money don’t make none.