Saturday’s victory over Mississippi State was great.
The weather was perfect, the 3 PM kickoff for early November is a great slot. The Razorbacks handled business in SEC play and ultimately put Sam Pittman and the Hogs at a 2-0 mark against Mississippi State during his tenure.
It was a classic conference game and a great finish. It wasn’t just “another victory” though, or any run of the mill moment. Bowl eligibility is something very important to this team. It’s now been accomplished and that is a huge accomplishment given the struggles over the last few years.
While people outside of the program might not understand, Arkansas fans DO understand. So many times before we’ve watched a lead crumble late in games; a defeating loss following shorty after.
Arkansas needed this win. This was the moment for our football team to step up in the spotlight and handle the adversity in front of them.
Not only did they do this, but in slick fashion. Sure, there were a few nail biting moments late on our final drive, but ultimately there wasn’t much resistance. KJ Jefferson has grown significantly in his leader role and he shined in the quick paced late-game offense.
Watching Dominique Johnson stroll into the end zone on both the touchdown and two point play induced a sense of excitement and relief that we haven’t had much late in games.
Mississippi State did drive the ball quickly on their final drive, but failed to capitalize on a final seconds field goal to tie the game. Arkansas set the tone with the late score forcing Mississippi State to rush and eventually lose the game.
Good teams finish and that is exactly what Arkansas did.
After starting 4-0 this season, the Razorbacks stumbled for a couple of weeks during the grind of SEC play. It was necessary to climb back into the win column Saturday. Now Arkansas will face LSU (in Baton Rouge) Saturday with a 6-3 record. Confidence and morale is certainly high.
Not only did this victory boost morale and confidence for our team, but recruits too. For Arkansas to land prized recruits it is so important to shine in big moments.
Not only was the atmosphere inside the stadium incredible, but the moments on the field too. These young recruits that visit these games latch onto the atmosphere, the moments and thoughts for their future. Buying into a culture and a program as a recruit is tough when winning isn’t involved.
Establishing a winning culture isn’t always easy, but Sam Pittman is doing it.
I think the payoff for this culture establishment is being observed now and will only become more visible in the future.
Thank you for reading! Be sure to follow me over on Twitter (@wxzachary) for more Arkansas sports related content.