Arkansas Wins SEC Opener!

South Carolina Arkansas Football

Arkansas wins 44-30! As the game came to a close, I found myself wondering if I just watched a Big 12 matchup. Both teams are in the SEC so the score might confuse you. The score shouldn’t be terribly surprising when you consider the fact that Spencer Rattler transferred in from Oklahoma and Kendal Briles cut his coaching teeth at Baylor. Still, the game did start off as an old-school SEC defensive slug fest that ended the half with the score at a paltry 21 to 6 in favor of the hometown Hogs. Then the Gamecocks attempted to make things interesting by holding the Razorbacks to no points while they closed the gap with a touchdown bringing the score to 21 to 13 heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was a football game in and of itself with Arkansas scoring 23 points to South Carolina’s 14. That’s right. The score was 23-14 in just the fourth quarter of an SEC game!

Throughout the game the Razorbacks leaned on their rushing attack while the Gamecocks showed off their prolific passing attack. Rattler threw for 378 yards and his number one receiver, Antwan Wells Jr, caught eight balls for 189 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile the Razorbacks had three running backs score a touchdown. Rocket Sanders led the rushing attack with 156 yards on 24 carries and 2 touchdowns followed by the quarterback KJ Jefferson with 67 of his own yards on the ground and a touchdown. Jefferson threw the ball efficiently connecting on 17 of 20 throws. Overall, the Arkansas offense executed well. They can be dynamic, but they lean on old-school smashmouth football when they need to.

Late in the 3rd quarter it became apparent that Sam Pittman had enough. I have a feeling he told Coach Briles to start ramming the ball down the Gamecock’s throat because that is exactly what happened. In fact, KJ Jefferson only threw one pass in the fourth quarter. The Arkansas offensive line imposed its will on the Gamecocks, ultimately securing the Hogs first victory in SEC play.

It’s not all about the offense though. The Arkansas defense let its presence be felt. Number 42 jumped off the screen during the game. Alabama transfer Drew Sanders flew all over the field on Saturday. At one point in the first quarter, he had 3 tackles for loss in a row to include a sack. It’s not surprising Nick Saban was extremely disappointed to lose Sanders to the Hogs. Bumper Pool did Bumper Pool things all game, to include collecting an onside kick and running it down to the Gamecock 10-yard line setting up an eventual Arkansas score. Finally, though Dwight McGlothern had a costly mistake on a pass interference call, he made a timely interception.

The Razorback’s defense is suffering from the loss of three starting safeties. Despite that, the front seven held the fort down. Still, the secondary needs to mend in order for the Arkansas Razorbacks to contend with topflight offenses like Texas A & M and Alabama. Conversely the Hogs running attack is going to be difficult to contend with. Each of the Razorback starting running backs tilt the scales at over 200 pounds, with Rocket Sanders at over 220 pounds. While the topflight Hog offensive linemen bulldoze defense lineman out of the way, these backs are going to wear out SEC linebackers and safeties this year. The future looks bright for the Razorbacks this year!

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