Boy, do I feel so smart for saying in my game preview for this one that I thought it would be much lower-scoring than oddsmakers thought. Go ahead. Read what I said. Now stop before you read the projected score. Stop. Seriously, change back to this tab.
Phew. That was close.
Seriously, this was an absolutely grueling game to watch. TCU’s defense was incredibly stout, and Arkansas’s ground game was essentially nonexistent until the latter stages of the game. Even then they couldn’t string together enough successful runs from David Williams and Devwah Waley to make meaningful drives. The only hope they had at scoring was through the arm of Austin Allen, who performed admirably despite his team’s foibles.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the turnovers that Arkansas forced, this game’s score would have been even uglier than it was. One such turnover occurred with about 8 minutes to go in the third quarter. TCU had eaten up almost 7 minutes of game time with a post-halftime drive, and they ended it with a fumble in the red zone. Given how Arkansas looked all day, a 21-7 lead at that point likely would’ve ended the ballgame then and there.
Besides their offensive woes, special teams were certainly not working in Arkansas’s favor today either. Junior kicker Cole Hedlund missed two field goals today. The lengths of those two missed kicks? 23 and 20 yards. He was right there and missed. Twice.
First, from 23 yards out:
Then from 20 yards out:
It’s a tough thing when a team can’t rely on a kicker. It’s even worse when the kicker misses two chip shots deep in the red zone. Severely limiting scoring options like that is never a positive—especially when Arkansas is already having trouble finding the endzone.
Overall, Arkansas looked bad today. However, the final score belies how close this game was. It wasn’t fun to watch, but it was hard-fought on both sides. If Arkansas could at least find some semblance of an offense, they might have a shot at having a respectable season. Otherwise, they will not fare well against Texas A&M next week, they will not fare well in the SEC West, and Bielema will likely be sent packing.