2012 College Football: Injuries Plus Louisiana Monroe too much for No. 8 Arkansas


Sep 8, 2012; Little Rock, AR, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks celebrate after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium. Warhawks defeated the Razorbacks 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Little Rock, Ark. – The No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks were upset Saturday night by the Louisana-Monroe Warhawks 34-31 in overtime.

The Razorbacks started their second straight game with a turnover on their opening drive by senior quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson threw an interception on the third play of the game which turned into a 12-play 67-yard touchdown drive finished by a four-yard pass to running back Centarius Donald from Kolton Browning.

Arkansas would respond with a nine-play touchdown drive culminating in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Julian Horton tying the score at 7-7.

On the Razorbacks’ fourth series Wilson found Cobi Hamilton for a 39-yard touchdown pushing Arkansas to a 14-7 lead.

With 2:29 left before halftime, Knile Davis rushed to the right for a three-yard gain scoring the Razorbacks’ third touchdown of the night making the score at the break 21-7.

Before half, Tyler Wilson took a big hit from the blitzing Warhawk defense knocking him out of the game.

Wilson’s injury status was said to be an “above the neck injury”, which has been John L. Smith’s way of avoiding updating the complete injury status of Arkansas players since he took over in April.

CBS Sports had confirmed reports stating Wilson suffered a broken collarbone placing him out for four to six weeks shortly after the end of the Arkansas game. CBS has since retracted that statement leaving Arkansas fans wondering exactly what the status is on their star player and ultimately what the status is for the remainder of their 2012 college football season.

Backup quarterback Brandon Allen, a redshirt freshman, took over for Wilson in the second half. Allen was able to engineer a nine-play drive starting on Arkansas’ 34 yard line on the Hogs’ opening series of the second half.

Allen found true freshman Mekale McKay along the right side of the field for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Hogs a comfortable 28-7 lead.

After Allen’s initial series the Razorbacks went four-and-out on five straight series before Allen threw an interception on his sixth and final series of the second half before overtime.

Allen ended the game 6-21 for 85 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Warhawk offense found their groove in the second half behind Browning’s play and headiness. Browning finished the upset victory with a scrambling 16-yard touchdown to win the game in overtime.

The Razorback defense had no answers for Browning in the second half.

Browning completed 42 of 68 passes for 410 yards with three passing touchdowns, and one interception. Browning picked up an extra 78 yards on the ground on 15 attempts accounting for 481 yards of total offense out of ULM’s 557 total net yards.

Before Tyler Wilson’s injury he was on pace for another fantastic night filling out the stat sheet. He completed 11 of 20 passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Wilson’s accuracy was off at times but he was able to make big plays throughout the first half to put Arkansas ahead. The Arkansas offensive line showed signs of weakness in pass protecting as Wilson was hit and knocked down several times before leaving the game.

Arkansas’ defense did a good job of stopping Louisiana-Monroe’s running backs only giving up a running back team-high 36 yards rushing to Jyruss Edwards but had difficulty stopping the pass in the second half.

Contributing to Arkansas’ woes in the second half was an injury to true sophomore cornerback Tevin Mitchell. Mitchell, the Razorbacks’ best cover corner collided helmet to helmet with a teammate trying to make a tackle. Mitchell was carted off the field on a stretcher with no immediate information on the seriousness of his condition.

Sep 8, 2012; Little Rock, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks cornerback Tevin Mitchell (8) is loaded onto a cart after being injured on a play in the game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at War Memorial Stadium. Warhawks defeated the Razorbacks 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

A play later Arkansas lost their second starting fullback of the week when Kody Walker injured his knee covering a punt; Kiero Small suffered a foot injury in practice this week requiring surgery. Walker too was carted off the field with no immediate information on his condition.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino abandoned the run in the second half relying on his backup quarterback to make plays under duress. Preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Knile Davis was held to 61 yards rushing on 16 attempts with one score for the game.

After Arkansas’ last touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, Davis had four carries for 24 yards with two attempts of no gain. Backup running back Dennis Johnson had two carries both going for four yards each in the second half.

Holding a 28-14 lead to start the fourth quarter the Razorbacks continued to opt for the pass instead of run the ball allowing the clock to stop on each incompletion giving Browning and the Warhawks ample time to get back into the game without rest for the defense.

The Razorback offense was 2 of 10 on third down plays while ULM was 9 of 24 for the game. Arkansas ran a total of 65 plays to the Warhawks’ 103.

The Razorbacks face No. 1 Alabama next week in Fayetteville.