FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — No. 24 Arkansas easily rolled past Texas State on Saturday, 42-3, in a game shortened by 5 minutes because of the threat of bad weather.
The Razorbacks were in complete control from start to finish, and the following report card reflects that fact.
Austin Allen was effective and made few — if any — mistakes Saturday night. He completed 16 of 21 pass attempts for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He hit Keon Hatcher on a 73-yard reception to the 1-yard line that was initially ruled a touchdown before it was ruled on review that Hatcher was down short of the end zone. Backup Ty Storey played the fourth quarter but recorded only one pass attempt, which was incomplete.
Running Backs: A
Rawleigh Williams III rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Kody Walker scored. True freshman Devwah Whaley saw his first extended action, rushing 11 times for 50 yards. The backfield is in good shape.
Receivers/Tight Ends: A
Four Hogs caught at least three passes, and Jeremy Sprinkle has opened the season with a touchdown reception in all three games. Dating to last season, Sprinkle has caught at least one touchdown in seven of his past nine games.
Offensive Line: B-
The offensive line ends the chance for straight A’s. Saturday’s game made it clear that Bret Bielema is far from settled on what he wants his O-line to look like. Frank Ragnow and Jake Raulerson switched places. Brian Wallace and Colton Jackson split time at right tackle. Bielema even hinted Ragnow could end up playing right tackle this season. On Saturday, the Hogs O-line made some mistakes that put Allen under pressure he shouldn’t have — in any way — been under. And next week, this group has to figure out how to stop Texas A&M star Myles Garrett.
Defensive Line: A+
This is one of the best defensive lines in the SEC, period.
Brooks Ellis and Dre Greenlaw were really good, as usual. But the “minus” in this grade stems from the fact we still don’t know if there is anybody on the roster who can capably relieve them. True freshman De’jon Harris got some work at middle linebacker in the second half, and Dwayne Eugene also played some. But that was in mop-up duty against Texas State.
What a lifesaver sophomore Ryan Pulley has been for this team. He stepped in after another big injury and has been excellent after two games in the lineup. His pick-6 Saturday was a highlight of the game.
Special Teams: A
Cole Hedlund didn’t attempt any field goals, but was perfect on PATs. Senior punter Toby Baker put both of his punts inside the 20 yard line. One of them went for 50 yards. Also — BREAKING NEWS! — Hogs kickoff man Connor Limpert had three touchbacks. Not much from the return game, though.
Bielema and his staff worked hard during the last week to put the team’s highly emotional victory at TCU behind it, and that was successful. The Hogs were focused and prepared for Saturday’s game, despite last week and the big SEC West showdown looming next weekend against Texas A&M.
Was the performance perfect? No. Did Texas State look like much more than a glorified junior high team? Eh, not really. But this was exactly what Arkansas needed to do in this contest sandwiched between big-time games in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The Hogs took care of business, plain and simple.