The three keys to upset city were almost brought to life Saturday evening in Fayetteville. The Hogs squandered opportunities to take control of this game and ultimately upset Alabama for the first time in 8 seasons, but the Arkansas Razorbacks fell again by the score of 14-13.
Oct 11, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen (10) looks to pass during the fourth quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama defeated Arkansas 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
First, Hunter Henry did impress! He had only 3 catches for 38 yards, but was targeted several times and seemed to be a real nuisance for Tide defenders. He also created a huge pass interference penalty that kept the ball moving and opened up the 2nd tight end AJ Derby on a crossing route that led to a 54 yard touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter.
Second, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney did a pretty good job opening up the playbook to some more passing. Arkansas was struggling to get the run game going, but Allen successfully passed for 3 quarters. Allen finished the game with 246 yards and 1 touchdown on 21 of 40 passing. However, he struggled mightily in the 4th quarter with an interception to seal the deal for Bama.
Lastly, it would have been great to see the Hogs get the ball to speedster Korliss Marshall on some screen passes, but they failed to do so. Marshall had only 1 catch for 4 yards and 2 carries for -1 yard.
Hogs attempt at upset B+ –
The Hogs carried out 2 of the 3 keys to an upset, but failed a little in the end again. The ultimate breakdown were the unforced turnovers. The backs had a tough day! Marshall was practically non-existent, Collins was in the doghouse and lost a fumble, Williams had 20 carries for only 84 yards and Kody Walker lost a huge fumble at the 1 yard line that was a sure touchdown to open up the game.
“Brandon Allen looked like a poised and mature quarterback for 3 quarters as he finished with 246 yards passing”
However, I see one takeaway from this game that I believe surprised everyone. The Defense stepped up time and time again. Trey Flowers and Darius Philon made the Alabama offensive line look very mediocre on pass rush and the Arkansas tackling was the best I’ve seen since the Houston Nutt days.
And how exactly did we hold Amari Cooper (who could possibly be the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft) to only 2 catches for 22 yards? It looked to be a mixture of corners that befuddled Cooper and quarterback Blake Sims. Tevin Mitchel and Jared Collins shut down the All-American and looked more confident than we’ve ever seen before. Let’s hope we see this passion for the remainder of the season.
The Bold Predictions –
Take a step back and look at my previous “Five Bold Predictions for Remainder of the Season.” My prediction was an Arkansas victory over Alabama, but was it really that bold? Despite 3 turnovers, Arkansas held a 4th quarter lead against a team that dominated them the previous two seasons by a total of 104-0. Arkansas outgained Bama 335 to 227, but simply couldn’t put away another SEC opponent.
My second bold prediction did in fact happen. Brandon Allen looked like a poised and mature quarterback for 3 quarters as he finished with 246 yards passing, but couldn’t lead a 4th quarter comeback against one of the best defenses in the nation year after year. Allen will probably face criticism, but he also stepped up in huge 3rd down situations throughout this game by giving Arkansas receivers a chance to make big plays. Allen escaped many sacks in the backfield to get out of the pocket and deliver a solid pass. Unfortunately, many passes landed just out of bounds or just short of a huge play that ended the game in the hands of Alabama’s Landon Collins.