FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen was uncharacteristically off Saturday night against LSU. His passes were overthrown. Some were underthrown. Two were thrown right into the arms of guys wearing white jerseys.
A lot went wrong for the Razorbacks in a 38-10 loss that means The Golden Boot is leaving Fayetteville for the first time in three years. But inconsistency from Allen — one of the most reliable and tough players all season — undoubtedly played a part.
“I love him, love his competitive spirit and where he’s at,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said of Allen. “But he obviously was out of sync a little bit.”
Allen completed 15-of-31 pass attempts. It was the first time all season that he’s been under 50 percent in that category. And more than half of his 210 passing yards came in the fourth quarter with the game already out of reach.
“You never want to go out on a Saturday and play like that,” a dejected Allen told reporters after the game. “You get 12 opportunities and you kind of waste one.
“I’m kind of sick to my stomach right now with how I played. I feel like I let the seniors down. I let everyone down.”
Allen and Bielema both insisted that health isn’t an issue. Allen left the Razorbacks’ loss at Auburn three weeks ago with a knee injury and missed practice during the ensuing bye week.
Bielema said during the bye that if the Hogs had a game that weekend, Allen likely wouldn’t have played.
He wasn’t as sharp as usual when Arkansas returned to the game field Nov. 5 against Florida, but he had the benefit of a defense that was playing well and a strong running game.
Neither of those things came through against LSU.
The Arkansas offensive line — which seemed to improve dramatically against Florida — struggled to open running lanes against the Tigers, and Allen was sacked 3 times.
He’s now been sacked 25 times on the year.
Senior left tackle Dan Skipper wouldn’t provide an assessment of the offensive line’s play against LSU — “I’ll have to look at the film,” he said — but Skipper was emphatic that Allen doesn’t deserve overly harsh criticism.
“We all have good days; we all have bad days,” Skipper said. “I’m not gonna sit here and judge his play. He’s been a freaking rock for us all year.
“So, to sit there and say that (Allen) did this, or didn’t do this, or whatever, that’s hogwash.
“Y’all can do what you want, but we don’t win first down, get behind the sticks, it’s hard to win games.”