The story of this loss started a couple of weeks ago. Haynes King went down and we struggled to beat a mediocre Colorado team. Meanwhile, Arkansas took down an ill-prepared horn team in Fayetteville giving them the spark they needed to push forward for the rest of the season.
Each team came out with questions that weekend. For A&M the questions were what do we have at QB, how we can get our OL fixed, and is the defense good enough to rely on to win football games if the offense cant help them out. For Arkansas it was, how good can we really be?
The teams came into this game with those same questions and Arkansas got their answer...and A&M leaves with the same set of questions.
I told myself that if we made this a one score game into the fourth we could be in position to win. And credit to our defense we did that. We were in position to win this game...position we’ve been in in games before. But today we couldn't get it done.
Kudos to Odom, Briles, and most of all Pittman for putting an end to A&M’s 9 game winning streak and going 4-0 on the year. Enough about them. Let’s talk about us.
Man it’s hard to place any blame on the defense in this game given how well they played under the circumstances. But giving up 307 and 17 points in the first half put the offense in a hole that we were incapable of getting out of. Sure we locked it down in the second half, but it’s been a story for this defense of giving up big yardage and points in the first half and then locking it down to let the offense do just enough to win the game. That works when you’re playing against Kent State and Colorado. It doesn't work when you get into games against SEC opponents. They’re not the main people to blame for this loss, but everyone deserves a share.
We shuffled the line as a result of Robinson’s injury, and came out with Johnson, Aki, Foster, Green, and Fatheree. It was tough sledding, especially since Arkansas had their 320 LB nose guard right on top of Foster blowing him back a few times. Arkansas got pressure with 3 guys leaving 8 guys to float in the ether confusing and befuddling Calzada and leaving him a bit lost. This is the fourth game where we’ve tried multiple looks at OL and none of them have worked. I don't know what needs to change. Maybe this year is a year where we just get a bunch of guys experience and try again next year but that’s pretty disappointing if so. There’s a longer piece to write about our offensive line recruiting woes but that’s for a different day.
I feel for the kid. Honestly 20/36 for 151 should be good enough to keep us in a game like this with a dominant defense and IF IF IF IF you have a competent run game/good OL. And he did that I suppose. But we don’t have a dominant OL/run game. We need more out of our QB. And our QB, right now, is incapable of giving us more. Ultimately this game was going to come down to who was going to make a mistake. We were all hoping it was going to be Arkansas, but turns out it was us.
I don't know what you do about that. I suppose the only thing you can do is to wait until Haynes comes back and then cross your fingers and figure it out. He had some good throws some bad throws but he’s peaked right now.
I know that Calzada’s throws are not always on the mark. That’s fine. But aside from our RBs who were 100% on their catch/target ratio everyone else was just bad. Missing Chase hurt. Preston grabbed 3 catches on 7 targets in his place. Wydermyer, who we need right now NEED IN A BIG WAY, grabbed 1 ball on 5 targets. Doesn't matter how good your QB is if your receivers cant make tough grabs. Yes, it’s fair to ask your QB to step his game up but it’s also fair to ask your star skill players to do the same. And so far we haven't seen it from these WRs.
This is Jimbo’s program through and through. And Arkansas is a good program with good coaches. But I expected more out of Jimbo. More than predictable dump offs to Achane coming out of the half. I know he can’t make the plays, I get that but right now we’re struggling and it’s on him to figure that out and figure it out quick. We have to find a way to get something out of this offense to help the defense. We are built to run the ball, stop the run, control clock. We can do one of those three things.
We’re moving into game 3 without Haynes King and we haven't figured that out. Was Haynes really good enough to mask all of these issues?
I don’t want anything I say here to take away from the tremendous job the Razorbacks did today. They wanted this win more than we did. They were obviously the better team, program, and coaching staff today.
We ended a 9 game win streak against the Razorbacks. We ended an 11 game win streak today. We will likely, and deservedly fall out of the top 10. All is certainly not lost, but man. Today was disappointing on a number of different levels.
BTHO miss st.