Razorbacks are Bowl Bound!

Razorbacks are Bowl Bound!

Coach Sam Pittman is one of kind. He believes in manalytics rather than analytics. On three different occasions Coach Pittman opted to kick field goals instead of going for the fourth down conversion. He scored two out of those three times. It is hard to say if his decisions were right or not. Mississippi State missed three field goals on Saturday afternoon. Had they made those field goals, the conversation would be very different right now. In any case, Arkansas got the win, and the rest is history.

Arkansas looked sharp in their veteran’s day themed helmets. As a veteran, I greatly appreciated the homage they paid to those of us who served and continue to serve. If you aren’t a Razorback fan, maybe you were for just three hours when you saw the red white and blue Razorback on Saturday afternoon.

Coach Pittman is an offensive line coach at heart. When the game mattered most, he trusted his offensive lineman to get the job done. Five yards out, one minute to go, he calls Dominique Johnson’s number to score. Up only one point on Mississippi State, Coach Pittman opts to go for the two-point conversion and calls Johnson’s number again. On both plays, the big men up front parted the Mississippi State red sea, and the Razorbacks take the lead by three points. But how did we get here? And more importantly was that the end of the story?

The first half of the game was a classic SEC defensive slug fest. The Arkansas defense held up well in the first half. They forced two punts and snagged an interception. The Bulldogs missed a field goal but gained momentum going into half time by putting together a 74-yard 3-minute drive for six points. Yup, that’s right. Just six. The kicker missed the extra point.

The second half is where all the action occurred. Mississippi State scored 21 points to Arkansas’s 18, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs came out of the locker-room and picked up where they left off driving the ball 66 yards in six and a half minutes to score a touchdown. They made the extra point this time. Arkansas answered back with a field goal. The Bulldogs drove to field goal range and what do you know…they missed the kick. The Razorbacks came back swinging and scored another touchdown, putting them up by nine points! The Bulldogs were snapping at the Razorbacks heels and quickly scored two more touchdowns after the Razorbacks missed a field goal. Back and forth they went. That brings us to the Razorbacks last drive of the game.

The Bulldogs had just scored. Its 23-28, Mississippi State in the lead. There is only two minutes and 22 seconds left in the game, and the Razorbacks begin to methodically matriculate the ball down the field with efficiency, draining the clock as they went. They start their drive handing the ball off to Johnson who darted for a seven-yard run quickly followed up by a 11-yard run. These two play calls were on the money. The Bulldogs were expecting pass and instead just had the ball shoved down their throat. After a quick pass to Trey Knox, KJ Jefferson hits Treylon Burks on a 19-yard strike! After a quick incomplete pass, Jefferson hits Knox on two more short gains bringing up fourth and 1. A field goal wouldn’t do. Arkansas had to go for it this time. Everyone in Fayetteville gasped in despair when Jefferson seemingly thru the ball into the dirt on the 4th downplay. Then everyone began to cheer when they saw the yellow flag and Trey Burks on the ground. The defender was called for defensive holding after allegedly tripping up and pushing Burks to ground. It was a questionable call, but I and the rest of Razorback nation will take it! The Razorbacks had life again. The Bulldogs called a timeout. It was as if they could sense their impending doom. One last regroup before the last stand at the Alamo…and that is exactly what it was. Three plays later the Razorbacks were up by a point…and then three points on the strength of the Razorback offensive line.

But wait! There is more. The Bulldogs have their own man under center named Rogers. Sure, his surname is spelled differently than the one in Green Bay, but it works. He started working some Rogers magic with only 21 seconds left in the game. He took the Bulldogs down the field 52 yards in 3 plays with just 8 seconds left on the clock. He led his team to the point that one of their kickers could attempt a 40-yard game tying field goal. Coach Mike Leach trots out Nolan McCord. He is a new kicker to Saturday’s game. Maybe he can do better than the last guy. Nope. He couldn’t. And that was that. Arkansas wins 31-28 in dramatic fashion and are heading to a bowl game!

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