FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas wrapped up the 2016 regular season with a 28-24 loss at Missouri. The Hogs finished 7-5 overall and 3-5 in SEC play.
The Razorbacks will face Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29.
SEC Country is taking a game-by-game look back through Arkansas’ regular season. We continue that series with a look back at the Hogs’ 31-10 victory over Florida on Nov. 5.
From Florida’s first offensive snap, it was apparent that Arkansas had used its bye week wisely and were ready to move past the Auburn debacle.
Razorbacks safety Santos Ramirez picked off Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio’s first pass attempt and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, giving the Hogs a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Arkansas led 14-7 after the first quarter and 21-7 at halftime. Florida only drove inside the Hogs’ 30-yard line once, and that came late in the fourth quarter when the Gators turned it over on downs and the game was already out of reach.
After struggling to do much of anything at Auburn, Rawleigh Williams III returned to form with 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns. As a team, Arkansas rushed for 223 yards.
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen still seemed a little off his game two weeks after suffering a knee injury at Auburn. He threw a pick-6 in the first quarter but didn’t make any big mistakes after that. And honestly, the Razorbacks didn’t need Allen to do all that much considering how well they were running the ball.
The most noticeable changes from Arkansas — other than, of course, its demeanor — were the personnel moves Razorbacks coaches made. Sophomore Johnny Gibson made his first career start when he replaced Jake Raulerson at right guard. Randy Ramsey entered the starting lineup as a stand-up defensive end/outside linebacker.
True freshman and former five-star prospect McTelvin Agim made his first career start at defensive tackle, and senior defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. — who began the season as a first-round NFL draft prospect — didn’t start, but instead came off the bench in pass-rushing situations. Wise would continue to play that role for the remainder of the regular season.
Here is a highlight video from the game:
Check out the stats and scoring summary from the game here, via College Football Reference.
Our stories from the game
- Jason Kersey’s Instant Analysis: Arkansas secures bowl eligibility with convincing victory
- What Bret Bielema said after the game
- Jason Kersey’s Report Card: Arkansas bounces back in a big way
- From Jason Kersey: ‘Stuff’ needed to change, and boy, did it
- From Trent Shadid: Bielema defends Kurt Anderson after win
- From Jason Kersey: Williams, Whaley give Arkansas two capable backs
- From Jason Kersey: Arkansas motivated by former players like Trey Flowers
- From Eric Bolin: He’s baaack – Bret Bielema’s stamp is all over Arkansas
- Trent Shadid’s Film Study: Gibson’s first start sparks impressive performance by O-line
What we learned about Arkansas
We learned that this coaching staff can be adaptable and make changes when changes are needed. The decision to insert sophomore Johnny Gibson into the starting lineup at left guard, as well as the bevy of defensive changes, made a difference in this game. Obviously, things weren’t perfect as the season went on — the Hogs lost two more games — but those changes definitely made things better than they would have otherwise been.
Fan Panic Meter: 4
Arkansas fans were able to calm down substantially from the full-on panic of a week earlier. This was a quality win over the team that ended up winning the SEC East, after all.
Still, there were plenty of questions about consistency, a puzzling subject that would pop up another few times before the season ended.
The series so far
- Game 1: Arkansas 21, Louisiana Tech 20 (Sept. 3)
- Game 2: Arkansas 41, TCU 38, 2 OT (Sept. 10)
- Game 3: Arkansas 42, Texas State 3 (Sept. 17)
- Game 4: Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 24 (Sept. 24)
- Game 5: Arkansas 52, Alcorn State 10 (Oct. 1)
- Game 6: Alabama 49, Arkansas 30 (Oct. 8)
- Game 7: Arkansas 34, Ole Miss 30 (Oct. 15)
- Game 8: Auburn 56, Arkansas 3 (Oct. 22)