FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas needed a fourth-quarter rally to pull out a 21-20 victory and narrowly avoid an embarrassing season-opening loss to Louisiana Tech on Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Here’s the rundown of what coach Bret Bielema had to say after the game.
- Bielema, like the fans, would’ve liked to have had the margin of victory wider.
- Bielema says Sunday will be a “huge” learning opportunity for the players and coaches.
- “I don’t know if in my first three years we would’ve won that game.” Bielema said his past teams have been in similar games and lost.
- He likes the way the team responded, especially down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
- “I think we’ll look back and probably wish we had run it more.” He added freshman Devwah Whaley probably should’ve received more carries in the fourth quarter since he had the fresh legs.
- Austin Allen had a “classic first start” at quarterback. Bielema believes Allen has the perfect mentality to overcome any setbacks, like his two interceptions on Saturday.
- Louisiana Tech was bringing pass pressure Arkansas hadn’t seen before in the first half. That contributed to the Bulldogs’ ability to get consistent pressure on Allen.
- On fourth down inside the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter with Arkansas down by 6 points, Bielema said he called in the team’s go-to 2-point conversion play. The play was a pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle that resulted in the game-winning touchdown.
- Randy Ramsey and McTelvin Agim stood out as guys on the defensive line that came in and played well for their first time being on the field.
- Bielema says he relied on Rawleigh Williams and Kody Walker because the game was close the whole way. He didn’t want to put in Whaley, a freshman, and risk him making a mistake that hurt his future development.
- Sunday is “not going to be a great day to come over here and watch film.” Bielema is going to let his players hear it regarding where they made mistakes.
- Cody Hollister is “going to have to learn how to catch the ball.” Hollister had two drops in the first quarter.
- Bielema gave credit to Louisiana Tech’s scheme, wide receiver Trent Taylor and quarterback J’Mar Smith. He would’ve liked to have sees his team tackle better, but doesn’t want to undersell how well La. Tech played.
- Louisiana Tech got the ball out quickly on pass plays. That made it difficult to get pressure on the quarterback consistently.