Too often, greatness goes unappreciated in its time. All Arkansas football fans need to pause and recognize that despite the 4-3 (1-3) record heading into the bye week, there is greatness on this team. A double-dip of excellence, in fact.
Yesterday, transposed onto a Rocky Mountain backdrop, KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders showed out. Jefferson was 29-40 for 367 yards and five touchdowns. Sanders 175 yards with two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Imagine what the Arkansas football record after seven games would look like without the duo of Jefferson and Sanders.
It was another chapter in a productive season for the two-headed monster in the Arkansas football backfield. It’s essential to stop and appreciate how both are playing, especially if most of the noise you hear focuses on the negatives.
Yes, 4-3 feels like a disappointment after the 3-0 start. Yes, Barry Odom’s defense has been lackluster at best with all the injuries. Yes, Kendal Briles’s offense could score more efficiently. And, look, I’ve written about each of those things too.
There are even people who are beginning to question if Sam Pittman is the right guy to coach the Razorbacks after what has been viewed as a disappointing season. (For the record, I’m not one of those people.)
But whatever your hostile take of choice is, it is impossible to deny Jefferson and Sanders’s greatness. There is data to back it up, too!
Jefferson, for example, is currently third in the SEC in QBR. On top of that, if the season ended today, he would hold the Arkansas football record for completion percentage in a season. He would beat out the previous record holder: himself.
Sanders is all over the SEC rushing leaderboard. He is first in yardage, first in attempts, seventh in yards per carry, third in longest rush, and tied for third in touchdowns.
Sanders is currently on pace for 1,614 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on the season (if the Hogs can get to a bowl game). That rushing total would be the third most for a single season in Arkansas football history. That many touchdowns would rank just outside the top ten.
Despite the team’s record, Jefferson and Sanders are cementing themselves as one of the best quarterback/running back duos in Arkansas football history.
Having the Jefferson/Sanders duo in cardinal and white should not be a “Big Yellow Taxi” situation for Arkansas football fans. Know what you’ve got before it’s (they) are gone. We’re watching greatness in our offensive backfield.