Two-minute Drill: Arkansas runs over Texas Tech 49-28


The Razorbacks played to what everyone saw as their obvious advantage over a smaller and less-experienced Texas Tech defense, its running game, to combat the Red Raiders’ quick-strike pass-oriented attack. And so the Hogs ran and ran and ran, especially in the second half when Arkansas only tried two passes, in winning a big game for the program on the road in Lubbock. Arkansas piled up 438 yards on the ground to just 61 through the air (499 total) and dominated possession time in the second half. The game was fully in the Hogs’ hands when Brandon Allen and the offense used half the third quarter straight out of intermission to go up 35-21. Alex Collins’ 84-yard run with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game was the dagger, putting the Hogs up by the final margin. The Hogs limited Tech to just three possessions in the second half: a touchdown, a punt and a fourth-down failure. Arkansas scored on four of six first-half possessions and three of four in the second half.

Alex Collins led the Hogs with 211 yards rushing on 27 carries. Jonathan Williams, though, carried most of the load through the first two and a half quarters, gaining 146 yards on 22 carries and scoring four touchdowns. In the second half, with Williams or Collins picking up big chunks of yardage on first down, the Hogs often faced short second-down calls and could dictate the game.

A big play for Arkansas came at the end of its first drive of the second half. The Hogs converted a third-and-short and a fourth down near the Tech 40 on the march, but things seemed to bog down inside the 10-yard line as Arkansas faced a third-and-goal from the 5. The call appeared to be a pass play, and Brandon Allen looked into the end zone for a target, but couldn’t spot anyone open. He moved toward the left sideline, the spotted a wide-open lane to the goal line, which he took for the touchdown. Last year, Allen might have thrown the ball away or tried to force a pass into coverage. The fourth-year junior showed poise on the play, however, and used his feet – which he also put to use in the first quarter on a big keeper on a scoring drive. Allen had three runs for 27 yards.

Heads were scratching among the Arkansas faithful when the Razorbacks stunningly attempted some trickery after marching to the Texas Tech 11, mostly on the ground. Arkansas had tried a flea-flicker earlier in the first half that resulted in an incomplete pass for Keon Hatcher. The Hogs were either trying the same thing from the 11 or some other odd trickery as Alex Collins took a handoff from Brandon Allen and, with a tackler all over him, turned to pitch it back. It appeared this pitchout might have been intended for Keon Hatcher, who was moving from left to right in the backfield. Whatever, the play was blown up and Texas Tech’s Justis Nelson recovered at the Arkansas 27; Nelson fell on the ball, but conceivably could have picked the ball up for a long return. This came with Arkansas trying to break a 21-all tie. But the misfortune, and sudden Texas Tech momentum, went back Arkansas’ way three snaps later when Davis Webb tried a pass down the middle into coverage. Arkansas’ Martrell Spaight was there for the interception at the Tech 42, and Spaight set the Hogs up for a short TD with a 30-yard runback to the 12. Jonathan Williams scored on the next play, and Arkansas never trailed again.

Arkansas won the turnover battle, getting three from Tech while giving up two. On Tech’s first possession, the Raiders had to punt but the short kick touched an unaware Jared Collins, an upback, giving the Raiders new life at the UA31. Arkansas got a break later in the first quarter when Brooks Ellis knocked the ball away from Jakeem Grant and nose tackle Taiwan Johnson recovered at Tech’s 13, setting up Jonathan Williams’ first of four touchdown runs.

If Arkansas coaches want to find some fault in a 21-point victory, they can point to the defense’s tackling, which was not as bad as the performance at Auburn but nevertheless was at times poor. Arkansas also had numerous passes hit defenders (Brooks Ellis twice, in fact) in the hands and fall incomplete when the Hogs had chances to stop Tech drives during the game’s more tense moments, but Martrell Spaight and freshman cornerback Henri Tolliver hauled in picks for the defense. The bad-tackling culprit this time was NOT Rohan Gaines, who delivered a major hit on Tech’s Reginald Davis in the second half. Davis’ head hit the turf of Jones AT&T Stadium and he had to depart.

Arkansas (2-1) plays host to Northern Illinois at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in a 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday. ESPNU will telecast the game. NIU was a BCS-bowl qualifier two years ago.

arkansas runs over texas tech


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