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’ 58-42 win at Mississippi State on Nov. 19.
Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III took a handoff on the second play from scrimmage and rushed for a 72-yard touchdown, giving everyone an early preview of the kind of game he was going to have. Williams added a 42-yard score later in the first quarter.
But Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald rushed for two touchdowns of his own and the game went into the second quarter tied at 14.
That’s when it all went downhill for the Bulldogs. Arkansas scored 24 unanswered points in the second. Williams rushed for two more touchdowns, giving him four rushing scores before halftime, and Arkansas took a commanding 38-14 lead into the break.
Williams even threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Austin Cantrell in the third quarter. Williams, a sophomore, finished with a career-high 205 rushing yards and five total touchdowns.
But the Bulldogs’ offense didn’t quit in the second half. Fitzgerald accounted for four touchdowns after halftime. He ran for two more and threw two touchdown passes to senior receiver Fred Ross, who tortured the Hogs defense in each of the last three seasons.
Despite Mississippi State’s strong second half offensively, the Bulldogs were unable to slow down the Razorback offense enough to make the game very competitive.
A week after his rough outing against LSU, Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen returned to form that night in Starkville, completing 72 percent of his pass attempts for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Arkansas true freshman running back Devwah Whaley carried the ball 13 times in the second half and finished with 112 yards and a touchdown.
But although Arkansas won this game convincingly and had a lot to feel positive about, the Hogs’ defense struggled to contain Fitzgerald. The sophomore — who took on the Herculean task of replacing Dak Prescott this season — completed 69.7 percent of his pass attempts against Arkansas for 328 yards and two passing touchdowns and also rushed for 131 yards and four scores.
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, Rawleigh Williams run past Mississippi State
- What Bret Bielema said after the game
- From Jason Kersey: Williams’ career game puts him in rare company
- From Eric Bolin: Arkansas defenders owe offensive players a meal
- From Trent Shadid: Austin Allen returned to form behind a solidified offensive line
- From Jason Kersey: Bielema uses Florida-LSU result to motivate team
- Jason Kersey’s Report Card: Arkansas offense shines, defense struggles
- Trent Shadid’s Film Study: Huge second quarter propelled Hogs to victory
What we learned about Arkansas
Honestly, we didn’t learn much about Arkansas from this game. We already knew that the Razorbacks’ offense was capable of putting up big points and yardage — especially against a bad defense — and that the Hogs defense has its work cut out for it against mobile quarterbacks.
And by this point in the season, it was pretty easy to see the week-to-week inconsistency coming. The Hogs suffered an ugly loss to LSU, so it stood to reason that a solid win over Mississippi State was coming.
That logic also foreshadowed a loss six days later that almost nobody outside of Columbia, Mo., saw coming.
Fan Panic Meter: 5
It’s tough to put anything above a “4” on the Panic Meter when we’re talking about a win. The victory itself combined with Arkansas’ strong offensive performance certainly helped fans feel good, but the 42 points and 533 yards surrendered by the Hogs defense was tough to swallow.
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)
- Game 9: Arkansas 31, Florida 10 (Nov. 5)
- Game 10: LSU 38, Arkansas 10 (Nov. 12)