It wasn’t going to be easy for Arkansas to take down Louisiana Tech even if oddsmakers were painting the Hogs as heavy favorites in the season opener. The Bulldogs were coming off a 9-4 season with lots of returning players on offense and defense. But by night’s end, the Razorbacks etched the first tally into the win column this season, coming away with a 21-20 victory.
Quarterback Austin Allen flung a touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle in the late stages of the fourth quarter to allow for the Razorbacks to retake the lead. They would never relinquish it as their defense stood up against the LaTech offense. Allen, the brother of former Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, had an okay debut under center. He threw for 191 yards on a 20-for-29 mark with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.
Here’s what we learned from this game:
1. Rawleigh Williams III is your bell cow - or hog: The sophomore tailback for Arkansas ran for 96 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown on Saturday afternoon. While that amounts to just four yards per carry he did catch the eye of many Hog fans and big things could be on their way for him if he continues to be a focal point of the offense.
2. Keon Hatcher proved his worth: Hatcher caught six passes in the victory and perhaps none were bigger than this tough catch-and-run to help set up the go-ahead touchdown later on. Hatcher had a very good 2014 and after his 2015 season was cut short, he looks to be back and ready to go in 2016.
3. Arkansas will have to be sharper at 3rd down conversions: Arkansas was merely 3-for-12 in the category on Saturday afternoon and it comes as no surprise that the game was so close for that reason. While they were 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions, their work on crucial downs needs to improve greatly especially against much tougher opponents. A few more third down conversions could have gone a long way, but the Razorbacks can breathe a sigh of relief that it did not burn them.