A currently unranked Arkansas team traveled to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and defeated 15th-ranked TCU Saturday night in double overtime. Two first half turnovers, that Arkansas turned into 10 points, were the deciding factor in a game that saw TCU mostly control the second half but especially the fourth quarter.
So dear reader, what did we learn?
1. Rawleigh Williams III is Arkansas’ next great running back: Williams finished the game with 28 carries and 137 yards against a tough TCU defense. That’s a solid, if unspectacular stat line, but he did so against a pretty good TCU defense. This builds upon his game from last week in which he rushed 24 times for 94 yards. Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins who?
Recall that only a year ago, in a truncated season, Williams only rushed for 254 yards on 56 carries. He’ll surpass last season’s carry mark by the end of the first quarter next week.
2. Arkansas’ defense is problematic: The Razorbacks surrendered 572 total yards, 25 first downs, and allowed 12-for-19 on third downs against an admittedly efficient TCU offense. In the first half alone, TCU racked up 222 yards and 10 first downs. Numbers like that suggest they were poised to score on several occasions in the first half, but their two turnovers held them back. TCU only punted four times on 14 possessions.
3. But a win is a win is a win: Arkansas faced a tough opponent and won despite defensive ineptitude. The Razorbacks surrendered a ton of yards, had spotty special teams play, and missed tackles at key moments. And yet still, they won because this team is very resilient. TCU scored on the last three drives of the second half, but it had no effect on a defense that was getting clobbered for most of the second half which is impressive. They kept picking themselves off the mat until TCU didn’t execute, and were rewarded with a big road win.
Arkansas enters SEC West play with a roster that is one of the least athletically gifted, but tonight proved they have the mental toughness to pull an upset or two against superior teams that don’t play until the final whistle.