My picks for most improved teams before the season started were Ole Miss, Florida and North Carolina. But, I have been praising the Arkansas Razorbacks’ for a while now, also.
In the Spring Game and in the Arkansas vs Auburn game, I raved about the Razorbacks time and time again. Against Auburn, they were tied at 21 all at half. After the half, things changed. The Razorbacks came out flat and not to take anything away from Auburn because the Tigers came back out ready to play. Then, there was a rain delay. Rain delays always mess up any game flow.
The Pigs lit it up in the first half against Auburn and were held to 2 yards in the second half.
Arkansas took out there frustrations on poor hapless Nicholls State in an absolute slaughter winning 73-7. If memory serves me correctly, the Razorbacks had 2 TDs before any of their players were even tackled. They had 115 yards of offense on 2 plays and nobody carrying the football was taken to the ground.
Nicholls State is 0-3 and not very good, but the Pigs still have an outstanding running game.
In week 3, the Arkansas Razorbacks traveled to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.
Texas Tech was 2-0 coming in to this game, but they have been looking shaky. In week one, they beat Central Arkansas 42-35. Then, they beat UTEP out in El Paso, 30-26.
Tech has been known for years as an air it out kind of team and has been dangerous for quite a while for any visiting team. Mike Leach had the Red Raiders competitive in most any game and against most anybody. But, they have rarely been known for their defense.
Leach was fired much to the dismay of the majority of Tech fans. He was replaced by former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and he had moderate success in trying to transform the Red Raiders into an SEC type team.
Lubbock, Texas is an acquired taste and Tubberville never got it and was last seen sneaking off during the night to take a job at Cincinnati. (not entirely true, but close)
Former Texas Tech Quarterback Kliff Kingsbury was the Offensive Coordinator at Texas A&M and he was hired to coach the Red Raiders.
Kingsbury was streaky in his first year winning his first 7 games as a head coach. Then, he lost 5 in a row, but then they closed out the season in the Holiday Bowl with a surprising victory over a good Arizona State Sun Devil team.
He was on another winning streak with the Bowl win and the opening 2 games of 2014.
It was undefeated and streaky Texas Tech and their passing offense vs the Arkansas Razorbacks and their smash mouth Wisconsin/SEC type of running game.
A thing to consider about the Arkansas offense is that Quarterback Brandon Allen is improved this season. The Razorbacks have some really talented Wide Receivers and two excellent Tight Ends that can not only catch the football, but they can also block like Offensive Linemen.
Keon Hatcher is the best Wide Receiver and is a legitimate deep threat. Hunter Henry is a threat from his Tight End position and is huge at 6-6, 255 and former Quarterback AJ Derby is equally huge at 6-5, 255.
Arkansas went 3-9 in 2013, but this team is different. They may not win that many games this year because they will play Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri. But, this team is very much improved and that would be a tough schedule for any body.
The first half of this game lived up to the expectations. Arkansas ran all over the field and scored 28 first half points. While, Texas Tech lived up to their reputation and threw the ball all over the place and had 21 points. 28-21 Arkansas in an exciting first half.
Arkansas left the old Southwest Conference back in 1991 to join the SEC, so they are not complete strangers to Lubbock and Texas Tech. Although, any current players were not even born when the Hogs went out there last.
The Razorbacks offensive line pretty much took over the second half and ran the ball down the throats of the Red Raiders who are not equipped to stop a run game powered by a huge Offensive Line like the Hogs.
The Red Raiders scored another Touchdown in the 3rd quarter but it was too little too late as the Pigs hammered them the rest of the way running for an incredible 438 yards and 7 Touchdowns. The Red Raiders were helpless to stop it.
The Razorbacks split Running Backs Alex Collins and Jonathon Williams. Collins is a 5-11, 215 sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is a burner.
Collins had 27 carries for 212 yards and 2 Touchdowns.
Running mate Johnathon Williams is 6-0, 225 hard charging back from Allen, Texas. He rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries and 4 TDs.
The Pigs beat the Red Raiders 49-28.
If you are an SEC fan and your team is playing Arkansas, you might want to be prepared for a dog fight. These guys are a different team than last year’s version.