Third Trophy This Year!

The Arkansas Razorbacks have collected all three trophies this year. They secured the Southwest Classic Trophy, the Golden Boot, and the Battle Line Trophy by defeating Texas A&M, LSU and Missouri. This is the first time they have won all three trophies in the same year, setting a new school record. Let’s talk about how that happened.

The Sam Pittman Effect is in full force this year. This year’s accomplishments are a testament to excellent coaching. Excellent coaching is not just about X’s and O’s. It’s also about building team chemistry. It’s about building belief. It’s about developing buy-in from your players. Coach Pittman has coached Arkansas to their first bowl game since 2016. He has accomplished this laudable goal in only his second season as the Razorbacks head coach. He as built team chemistry, fostered belief, and developed buy-in all while being pretty good at the X’s and O’s. We Razorback fans have much to look forward to in the future.

This game was a classic tale of two halves. The first half of Friday’s game was abysmal. The half ended 10 to 6 in Arkansas’s favor. The game was shaping up to be another traditional SEC defensive slug fest. The offense was not executing well. In fact, the biggest play of the half came in the 2nd quarter when KJ Jefferson hit Treylon Burks for a 43-yard strike setting up the eventual walk-in touchdown by Raheim Sanders. In the first quarter, KJ Jefferson had a 49-yard run but was taken down hard 11 yards from the goal line. His efforts were only rewarded with a field goal. After that hit he spent the rest of the half recovering, but he still played. He hung tough. The rest of the Arkansas performance met fierce Missouri Tiger resistance throughout the half. Thankfully the Arkansas defense rose to the occasion allowing only two field goals.

The second half was an explosion of points. 35 total points between the two squads were scored. Again, the Razorbacks lived off explosive plays. Their first two touchdown drives were 3 plays in 61 yards and two plays in 52 yards respectfully. Their third touchdown drive was kicked off by a 32-yard run by De’Vion Warren. Three plays later Raheim Sanders scampers seven yards for his second touchdown of the game. The interesting thing is the Razorback’s longest drive was 11 plays, 70 yards and resulted in only three points. The Razorback’s defense did their job holding the Missouri offense to a mere three points. The Tigers only scored their last 8 points when the game was already over, and the backup defenders were on the field.

Four explosive plays really set the table for the Razorbacks win. Treylon Burks secured a 49-yard reception and another 52-yard reception for a touchdown. De’Vion Warren secured a 55-yard reception and gashed the Tiger defense for a 32-yard run. Ketron Jackson Jr, had a 39 yard reception and JK Jefferson had a 49 yard rush. Folks, that is 276 yards earned on just six plays. The second half efforts of the Razorbacks show the right adjustments were made during half time.

Friday’s game highlights the importance of recruiting. Six explosive plays in a game can only be achieved with top notch talent in key spots on your roster. Four different players were responsible for those explosives. Part of being a great coach in college football includes your ability to not only recruit top talent but to develop it. Coach Pittman is showing that he can recruit and develop talent which will attract future players to the Arkansas program.

This was a special game for several reasons. It was the Razorback’s first 8-win season since 2015. Treylon Burk’s set a record in achieving six games with over 100 reception yards. He is also the fourth receiver in Arkansas history to achieve 1000 receiving yards in a season. Finally, Barry Odom helped the Razorbacks secure a win against his old team, the Missouri Tigers. It’s always gratifying to beat the team that fired you.

Arkansas now waits to see which bowl game they drew and who their opponent will be. Coach Pittman and the Razorbacks will use their time off well. KJ Jefferson will heal up. The team will rest up. Time off only helps the Razorbacks. They will be ready to make more explosive offensive plays and execute stifling defense when their bowl game comes along. Go Razorbacks!

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