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RECAP: Arkansas Defeats UAPB, Plus a reflection of where the program stands

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NCAA Football: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

This game was what we thought it would be. Arkansas outclassed UAPB at every position on the field until halftime with the Golden Lions’ marching band took the field. The Razorbacks won their first game inside War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, (Ark.) since 2017.

KJ Jefferson, Dominique Johnson and Treylon Burks led their respective positions on offense. Jefferson passed for 194 yards and four touchdown passes. His performance today gave him 15 touchdown passes on the season.

Johnson was the leading rusher although he received a limited amount of carries. He recorded 91 yards on six carries against UAPB. With a long run of 34 yards Johnson a averaged 15.2 yards per carry.

Burks had a memorable performance in Little Rock. He rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown. The SEC’s best wide receiver also caught four passes for 89 yards and tacked on two touchdowns, too.

The starting defense was solid as expected. They gave up a couple of heaves through the air in the first half while UAPB became desperate to move the football. Arkansas allowed 223 yards of offense on Saturday. The Hogs allowed three yards per carry. Zach Williams was able to sack the quarterback. While Myles Slusher and Joe Foucha combined for a sack. Bumper Pool led all Razorbacks with 8 tackles. Backup linebacker Andrew Parker also recorded a sack for the first time in his Razorback career.

The Razorbacks found themselves in the Golden Lions backfield a plenty on Saturday. They recorded a total of 11 tackles for a loss. Myles Slusher and Malik Chavis intercepted UAPB’s quarterbacks twice.

There were a few firsts for a couple of Razorbacks on Saturday.

Nathan Parodi changed direction of the field on his punt return for an 80 yard touchdown. The punt return for a touchdown was the first by an Arkansas player since Joe Adams scored one during the 2012 Cotton Bowl in his final game.

Burks is the first Arkansas receiver to have back-to-back two TD receiving games since Anthony Lucas in 1998 against Ole Miss and Tennessee.

True freshman wide receiver Ketron Jackson scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter on a 29-yard reception.

Both Redshirt freshman defensive back Myles Slusher and junior Malik Chavis registered their first career interceptions in the second and third quarters.

After the game Sam Pittman met with the media to brag on the Little Rock crowd. The reported crowd of 42,000 fans showed up and made some noise and were very excited to see history be made in central Arkansas.

“Very grateful to Pine Bluff to come over here and very grateful to Doc Gamble, he’s a fine man, and his kids played extremely hard with a lot of discipline. We were excited to play a team from the state of Arkansas, you could feel the electricity in the air from the fans of Little Rock and we are thankful that so many showed up for this game. A lot of thanks from our team to Central Arkansas, War Memorial and the Razorback family,” said Pittman.

The importance of a bye week after a very tough stretch of SEC play is very important. Even more important is going into the bye week with a 45-3 victory is enough to make this team feel better and to continue fighting for bowl eligibility.

“Honestly, we need to feel good again. We went through a rough stretch. That’s the truth. Being up 45-0 that was a big big deal for us. Now we have to get healthy next week and have to have a game plan against Mississippi State,” said Pittman.

Arkansas goes into the bye week before they prepare for the Mississippi State game in Fayetteville.

Reflection

The Razorbacks aren’t nearly as dead as many pushed. For one, I never believed it. I couldn’t believe that this Razorback Football program was nearing a death as close to what SMU experienced in the 1980’s.

This football program was believed to be a job that killed careers to the extent that they could not recover. During the coaching search Hunter Yurachek was told by a coach he wanted to interview that he “wouldn’t touch the job with a ten foot pole.”

For a job that’s supposedly a career killer hasn’t killed Sam Pittman. No, he’s restored it. He’s restored the program to national respectability. This program isn’t dead. It’s alive and beginning to thrive. The Hogs are on the way up behind a guy that’s just an offensive line coach.

_You can follow Jacob for all his Razorback stats, thoughts and more on Twitter @jacobscottdavis.