FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5: DeQuinta Jones #92 of the Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates after recovering a fumble against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on November 5, 2011in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Gamecocks 44 to 28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
If any of you just can't call a game done until you've read my Sunday post, haha, well, my apologies. I was a non-expat over the weekend where I watched the game at home with my parents and my brother. But I had to pay the price for that on Sunday with the long drive back to expat status. And with the time change, it was dark by the time I got home, and you know, I had to see how the zombies on the Walking Dead are getting along, so I didn't get to a computer on Sunday. An aside, last night's episode was really boring! Hey, it sorta was like the LSU / Alabama game! haha. That is if you like touchdowns and all. Here are some more random than usual thoughts about the Hogs and college football in general, which I think experienced one of it better weekends of the season.
* Going into the game, I knew it would be an extra hour of victory or defeat for the Hogs with the time change and all. What I am trying to figure our right now is the situation for the Gamecocks. They had to fall back and then advance forward on the same night as they landed back to the Eastern Time Zone. Hmm?
* Thanks to a visit by the satellite dish man, we were able to get an upgrade (way over due, he said) and watch the LSU / BAMA game one side of the screen and the Arkansas / South Carolina game on the other. It made for a sharp contrast in styles, one could say!
* Watched the Kentucky / Ole Miss game before the Hogs played and well, it didn't surprise me to read rumors that Houston is headed out the door. That didn't happen the last I checked, but I can see an Occupy Oxford movement gaining a lot of ground there after a defeat to lowly Kentucky. The Rebels' game against the Hogs appears to have been the last gasp of their season. His players are pretty much done, I think. UPDATE: Just read where Houston Nutt has indeed been fired at Ole Miss. Wow.
* Though he did miss two field goals last night (one kinda excusable, the other not), how many of you think Alabama would have secured a victory if they had had Hocker kicking for them? Obviously, Nick Saban didn't think LSU would fall for the fake field goal like Arkansas did. And he is probably right to have thought so.
* Confidence in players. If I were Tyler Wilson, Zack Hocker, or Broderick Green, I would have to feel that no matter how much Petrino might get on my case, he does have a lot of faith that I will perform better next time. Tyler went from pick six to a touchdown. Broderick went from stuffed to eventually getting into the end-zone. Hocker went from miss to make.
* Speaking of confidence, I had confidence that Brandon Mitchell with a qb scramble could have scored when the Hogs first got the ball down next to the goal line after the South Carolina turnover. Hats off to the defense for giving the offense yet another series to seal the game after the first one failed.
* There is a bad trend developing with the offense. Two actually, one is having to settle for field goals in the redzone more and more. My solution to that is to get the ball to Chris Gragg. He had only one touchdown on the year, and it was in the redzone. Use him more down there. The second trend goes back to the Sugar Bowl. And that is our normally reliable receivers dropping balls in games involving another top ten team. I think they also dropped some catches in the Alabama game last year as well. Guys, we are likely to have another top ten matchup in Baton Rouge. Don't let this trend continue.
* It was a relief to go through a whole game where the defense didn't give up a touchdown from way down the field. South Carolina's offense did earn 21 points on us, but they had to do exactly that, earn them. They didn't inherit any six points like with Tyler's pick six. Overall, this was one of our better defensive performances, but not one without its faults, such as annoying penalties that sustain drives for the opposing team.
* Did the later start help the team? I don't know. But it was obvious on the broadcast that the stadium had a lot of energy and that must have transferred over some, for the Hogs really did play two halves of football. Good news, the Hogs play Tennessee next week at 5 PM.
* Arkansas got its first win over a top ten team in Fayetteville when the Hogs were also ranked in the top ten since a 1965 matchup with Texas Tech.
* The Hogs are now 13-7 in the South Carolina series, but one wonders with the news this weekend of Missouri's addition if the Hogs will keep the boys from Columbia on our schedule every year or will they be traded for the boys of Columbia. Personally, I thought West Virginia was a better fit for the SEC, but they all say tv markets is what it is all about. But are those Cardinals, Chiefs, Rams, and Royals fans going to tune in like fans from SEC states without so many pro teams?
* There is never a bad time for your team to run the ball for a touchdown on a kickoff, but Dennis Johnson's run was a nice punch in the gut after South Carolina had just went ahead of the Hogs. I hope he has a few more of those in him before the season draws to a close. I think we'll need one against LSU, especially.
* "Hogs Win Without Finding A Comfort Zone" was the title to Wally Hall's column on Sunday. I think the Hogs did find a comfort zone, but it wasn't until the fourth quarter when the Hogs got short fields due to turnovers and outscored South Carolina 14-7.Despite his title, Wally actually thought the same thing.
* Other tidbits gathered from the paper include: Colton Miles Nash, back to defense (good!). Reps from the Cotton Bowl, Capital One, Gator, Outback (have never invited the Hogs), and Chick-fil-A (also just looking around) were on hand. Shawn Andrews and Ken Hamlin were on hand to lead the crowd in a Hog Call.
* I like Brad and Todd as a crew, but I swear they were just inviting a zero point trip to the red zone with their talk of how the Hogs could end up getting nothing down there. That was after Cobi dropped a sure touchdown. And sure enough, Hocker missed the field goal from an easy (for him) distance of 29 yards. We were screaming "Shut up!" at our split screen television.
* Do I think LSU / Alabama should play in a rematch? No. And neither do the sponsors of the national title game.
* The team walking around with the biggest regret this weekend has to be Kansas State. Why they didn't call for a quarterback run at the end of that game is beyond me. Their quarterback could have zombie walked his way into the endzone on that last play. Instead, he through an incomplete pass to end the game. Neptune must have been upset as well, for Stillwater had another earthquake after the game! Maybe he had some money on the Wildcats?
* I wonder if Marquel Wade watched the Vanderbilt / Florida game? For there was a moment where the guy he knocked out of the game signaled for a fair catch and the Florida gunner that ran up to him suddenly went into contortions to avoid hitting him. Call it the Wade echo.
* To think how excited I would have been years ago about the prospect of beating a Steve Spurrier team. With him at South Carolina, it is becoming more par for course.
* Arkansas finally covered a game for the Vegas betters. It was set at 5 1/2.
* Greg Childs made a catch for eleven yards. Would really like to see him explode in the games left.
* Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Jake Bequette to name a few, some big names will be playing their last game in Fayetteville next week on senior night. I look forward to seeing them all play a great game against the Vols.
* A personal note: Watching the Hogs is as much about being with family and friends as it is anything else, I believe. Though I've watched a lot of games by myself, I have to say the most enjoyable games, even in defeat, were those spent with people whose company I enjoy. Last January was the last time I watched a game with my immediate family all in attendance. And we had gotten some pretty bad medical news at the time in regard to my father's health. Put the Sugar Bowl loss on top of that, and it made for a rather sour time. So it was all that much more enjoyable to watch the Hogs win a top ten battle with news that my father's prognosis is better and that he is finally home from a long stay in the hospital. Yes, it is a game in the final analysis, but in the South it is family and friends as well. I hope you were able to watch the game with great Hog fans by your side.
BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: Just keep winning, right? I know we slipped in the BCS this week, but that was mainly because the team that beat us lost and the teams we've beaten (I am looking at you Ole Miss, Troy, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt) all lost too. The limited Vols, should, self-destruct enough in Fayetteville to make for possibly the most comfortable win of the year. The Dawgs, they will play us tough, but as Rex Nelson said on the radio Sunday morning, two words, "LITTLE ROCK." I think the crowd, myself included, will have the Hogs's back that day. And as far as LSU goes, Bobby Petrino is 2-1 against the Hat. He hasn't figured Saban out, as few have, but he seems to know how to get under that white LSU hat and the collective Tiger pelt and come up with victories. And I hope more and more of the talking heads keep up the chatter of assuming LSU wins out. The football gods just love that kind of talk, don't they?
PS: Arkansas's offense remains the team that has scored the most points on the Tide all season at 14 points. Any chance that Miss. State or Auburn might out do us? Slim, I would say, but one can hope.