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Louisiana-Monroe 34, Arkansas 31 (OT): Welcome to the Hot Seat, John L. Smith


If you weren't an Arkansas fan and you were watching this game after halftime, you were either missing better football games for no reason or clairvoyant. After all, Arkansas had a 21-7 lead at intermission, en route to a 28-7 lead that seemed insurmountable.

By then, though, Tyler Wilson had already exited the game with an injury and trouble was brewing for the Razorbacks. Louisiana-Monroe was about to go on a tear, dropping 21 consecutive points on Arkansas and forcing overtime. And when it came time to be bold, Arkansas head coach JohnL Smith decided to kick a field goal after its first down and Warhawks coach Todd Berry decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 -- leading to the play that won the game for Louisiana-Monroe on a 16-yard run by quarterback Kolton Browning.

But don't think this was necessarily a fluke. Arkansas allowed an eye-popping 557 yards of total offense, and generated just 376 yards themselves. If Wilson is going to be out for a long time, the Hogs could really have a problem on their hands: replacement Brandon Allen was 6-of-20 for 85 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Warhawks averaged 4.3 yards a rush.

Of course, the most immediate upshot of this is to get everyone talking about whether Smith will last until the end of the season, or maybe even the end of the night. His hiring was meant to give Arkansas a chance to win the national title, not a chance to get to a bowl game despite losing one of the most winnable games on the schedule.

Beyond this evening, though, things still don't look that favorable for Arkansas. Next week brings Alabama to Fayetteville, and while the Razorbacks get a month and a half of relatively easy games after that -- well, this was supposed to be an easy game as well. And November brings a trip to Columbia (SC) and a home game against LSU sandwiched around a potentially tricky visit to Starkville.

It's not just that John L. Smith might not survive the night. It's that Arkansas' reputation as a program on the rise might not survive the season.