Look at the box score of Saturday night’s game against Texas A&M and Rawleigh Williams’ stats won’t stand out. But his play in Arkansas’ 28-21 overtime loss to Texas A&M cannot be overstated.
The true freshman running back wasn’t even supposed to see the field much in 2015. He entered the season as the fourth-string running back behind senior Jonathan Williams and juniors Alex Collins and Kody Walker.
After Williams underwent season-ending foot surgery and Walker broke his hand early in the season, Williams needed to step up.
He did on Saturday.
Although he only carried the ball eight times for 46 yards, Williams scored his first collegiate touchdown at a pivotal juncture in the game. He marched in a 3-yard touchdown run that put the Razorbacks up 21-13 early in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Williams played a crucial role in Collins’ big day (26 rushes for 151 yards), allowing the star running back to take a breather here and there to maintain his production. He’s not looked at as a go-to back right now, but he did his job on Saturday.
“I think Alex (Collins), and not to leave out Rawleigh (Williams), I thought those two guys…we knew we weren’t going to have Kody (Walker) by Tuesday or Wednesday, and that they were going to carry the weight,” coach Bret Bielema said after the game. “Now the key is we are going to have to make sure we don’t rep those guys or do anything during the course of the week, because they are giving us so much on Saturdays to be successful.”
Williams attended Bishop Lynch High School in nearby Dallas, making him both a hometown and unsung hero against the Aggies.
Here are a couple other candidates who deserved some praise for their performance on Saturday.
Arkansas offensive line
The Razorbacks’ big boys did give up a crucial sack that resulted in quarterback Brandon Allen fumbling the ball away late in the game, but for the most part, the Arkansas offensive line was impressive. The Aggies entered the game leading the nation in sacks, with an average of five per game, and Arkansas’ offensive line allowed Texas A&M to get to the quarterback just twice. All in all, it was a good day.
Drew Morgan, wide receiver, junior
Morgan had a big night for the Razorbacks, catching eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. He earns an unsung hero award because his performance came out of nowhere. Morgan entered the game with a combined 10 catches on the season, and left as Arkansas’ leading receiver.
Santos Ramirez, defensive back, redshirt freshman
Ramirez got thrown into the fire on Saturday night. He was going against arguably the best wide receiving corps in the SEC, and collected Arkansas’ only two pass-breakups of the night while also adding three tackles. The secondary as a whole struggled while allowing 358 passing yards, but Ramirez’s performance was a step in the right direction.
DREW MORGAN TOUCHDOWN!!! pic.twitter.com/4e1S1qudsF
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) September 26, 2015