Underwhelming performance and a tight game against an alleged lesser opponent. Critics and pundits writing off the Razorbacks 1 game into the season.
Been there, done that. Arkansas history is full of these games (Tulsa every year back in the day), and sometimes these games mark the beginning of a big season.
Prior to this game, I thought we were getting ready to play a quality opponent for which we would get no credit. Skip Holtz was coming to Fayetteville to win, and he was going to do everything he could to get it done – he almost did. And Arkansas nation was prepared for a 35-14 ho-hum opener.
Prior to the game, I felt like this was going to be a lot like the Toledo game last year, and in the second half it looked like a similar outcome was about to happen.
Alcorn State would have been an easier opener. But I think this tough La Tech team has the Hogs better prepared for TCU.
As for all of the predictions of a TCU run-away, etc, I’m assuming those folks did not watch any of the South Dakota State game. If South Dakota State can go into Fort Worth and almost pull off the upset, then Arkansas has a very good chance of winning Saturday. I’m not saying they will, but I expect a very competitive game this weekend.
I’m reminded of two games we had against Tulsa in 1971 & 1972. We took a 20-0 lead into the 4th qtr in 1971 & lost 21-20. The next year we won 21-20. By our standards at the time, both turned out to be bad years. However, in 1964 we barely escaped Tulsa & went on to go 11-0 with wins over otherwise undefeated Texas & then NU in the Cotton Bowl.
The only thing I know is we can’t tell much right now from the La Tech game. After the season ends we’ll know whether it is a meaningless blip or it portended real problems for us. La Tech might be a very good team. If they go 9-4 or so, our win might end up looking pretty good. If we manage to upset TCU we’ll all have forgotten how close we came to losing to LT. If TCU makes mincemeat of our secondary & we end up losing handily, both games will haunt our thoughts for a while because beating Alcorn & Texas St won’t tell us much at all.
I totally thought this game was going to be close based on hogs history with teams like this. But I watched the game replay yesterday and was more ticked at the play calling than anything else. If we had lost I would have blamed offensive play calling over anything else. I know Enos did great calling games last year, but that felt like Petrino. I remember Petrino commenting after games that the reason they threw it so much was because that’s what the defense gave them (in his pass happy view). I think in a game like this you should have just lined up more and beat your opponent physically. Would have resulted in more scores, greater confidence from your oline, and TCU would have had to scheme to stop it this week. We just got too cute for most of the game instead of establishing the run more (in my simple opinion).
I do think TCU will be a dog fight. Here is to that old adage of improvement from week 1 and 2 (ignore last year?). I think the offense will be fine this week. I’m more concerned with secondary this week and the rest of the year. They do not look improved at all to me and that could doom us. What could help us is the TCU quarterback will likely give us some turnovers. If we can capitalize on a balanced offense running the clock and getting touchdowns then that could carry us to victory.
I think the lack of run in the first three quarters had to do with a quarterback going to pass at the line too much. I believe they let Austin make checks and changed that as the game progressed to get more run calls. I don’t think there were any options to check out of runs in the winning drive. I say that because if ever you were going to check, it was going to be when Tech came with eight and nine in the box to start that drive. They didn’t check and Rawleigh ran it into the teeth of the defense very effectively. The blocking was good, too. Sometimes we credit the QB for getting the checks to the pass. Enos gives that freedom, but sometimes you need to go to the run and stick with it because that’s where your advantage lies in personnel and matchups.
This offense is designed to take what the defense gives and the QB has to also understand that at times it’s better just to run it and pound on the other team.