FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas’ bye week has arrived with the Hogs 5-3 overall and 1-3 in SEC play.
At SEC Country, we’re spending the week off assessing the performance of each position group through eight games.
Here’s our breakdown of how the Hogs have performed at quarterback so far this season:
By the numbers
3: Winning touchdown drives led by starter Austin Allen.
7: Games in which Allen has multiple touchdown passes.
27: Snaps taken by backup Ty Storey.
18: Touchdowns thrown by Allen, which ranks tied for 14th nationally and first in the SEC.
21: Sacks allowed by Arkansas, more than any other SEC team.
155: Completions for Allen, ranking first in the SEC.
400: Passing yards for Allen against Alabama, the most in program history against the Crimson Tide.
Arkansas couldn’t have asked for more from Allen so far in his first season as the starter, especially considering the circumstances he’s under.
Allen has an exceptional group of playmakers to throw to, but the offensive line in front of him has been a disaster. The junior already has been sacked an SEC-high 20 times, yet he still leads the conference with 18 touchdown passes. He’s stepped up in the face of pressure time and time again to deliver for his team. He’s also only missed two meaningful snaps all season despite sustaining at least a pair of injuries — a chest bruise against Texas A&M and a sprained knee at Auburn. As a result, he’s endeared himself to coaches, teammates, fans and even opponents.
The Hogs offense likely would be in complete disarray without Allen. Redshirt freshman backup Ty Storey has been sacked, fumbled and completed just one pass in 27 plays this season. He’s still young, but wasn’t impressive in fall camp and isn’t capable of producing anywhere near Allen’s level. Freshman Cole Kelley was impressive in fall camp and, by all accounts, has a bright future. But he isn’t quite ready. The plan has been to redshirt Kelley this season and groom him to take over as the starter once Allen departs after the 2017 season.
Allen’s moxie in pressure situations has also been remarkable. He played a vital role in winning drives against Louisiana Tech, TCU and Ole Miss.
His finest moment this season came as he led a four-play, 58-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes at TCU to pull the Razorbacks out of an eight-point hole and send the game to overtime. He then threw a touchdown pass and rushed for another to lead Arkansas to a road win over a top-15 opponent.
Overall grade: A-
This grade is all about Allen. His individual performance deserves at least an A, but we’ll go with A- since the Hogs have don’t appear to have a capable backup at the moment. That’s important since this team has been unable to keep Allen from taking several big hits seemingly every week. They’ve been fortunate he hasn’t sustained any injuries that forced him to miss significant time.