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Arkansas goes nowhere fast vs. Texas Tech

by Wally Hall | September 20, 2015 at 3:38 a.m.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema yells from the sideline during a game against Texas Tech on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A contrast of styles was never more obvious from start to finish than Saturday night in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

It was fast and furious vs. fundamental football. The hare vs. the tortoise. Hurry-up, no huddle vs. conventional and high-percentage football.

It was the same as last season, when the Arkansas Razorbacks manhandled a much smaller Texas Tech, but in a year the Red Raiders found more size and another key ingredient -- speed.

The hare never napped. Instead, the Red Raiders raced up and down the field because they could. They had the speed to burn, and they did.

Big and fast will usually beat big.

In the wildly entertaining first half alone, Texas Tech ran 25 plays and had the ball for 7:25 while Arkansas ran 40 plays in 22:35.

Yet, the score was tied at 21 and the Hogs' advantage in total yards was 21.

The Red Raiders had scoring drives that seemed like they should have created supersonic booms. They went 77 yards in 2:39, 75 yards in 2:45 and 85 yards in :26.

The Razorbacks ate up the ground and the clock, using 4:10, 7:03 and 6:49 for their scoring drives of 60 yards (following an interception), 81 yards and 85 yards.

The second half wasn't so entertaining for the vast majority of the 73,334 who came to see their Razorbacks redeem themselves after last weekend's loss to Toledo.

In some ways they did.

Running back Alex Collins looked more like his first two seasons when he dashed, darted and drove piles for first downs. The offensive line opened holes. At times the defense played played like its hair was on fire and other times not so much, but most of that was because Tech looked like it had been training with Usain Bolt for the past 12 months.

The Razorbacks also suffered some incredibly costly penalties that if not corrected this week could turn a season that started with great hope and apparently unreal expectations into a very long season.

Arkansas opens SEC play Saturday against Texas A&M, which is undefeated and apparently much improved from last season.

There will be a lot of long looks at Saturday night's game film after the Raiders opened the second half with an 11-play, 77-yard touchdown drive. That must have seemed like it was in slow motion to them because it took 4:29, but the key was the Red Raiders converted twice on third down to keep the drive alive.

Arkansas then drove 75 yards using 8:31 off the clock, but the Razorbacks' drive stalled in the red zone and they settled for a field goal that made it 28-24 in favor of the visitors.

Texas Tech roared back, going 83 yards in 3:51. This time it didn't have to convert a third down because it never faced one. With 13:09 to play the Red Raiders led 35-24, and it was apparent even in the fourth quarter they would have the fresh legs.

They scored so fast and Arkansas used so much time that Texas Tech's offense may not have broken a sweat.

The Hogs mounted another good drive, but a touchdown was waved off for illegal use of the hands and from the dreaded red zone they missed a field goal.

The team that had the fresh legs -- the one that probably didn't need a shower after the game -- came out and raced into Arkansas territory and then showed it knew how to burn clock too, leaving the Hogs a long way to go in a short time after the Red Raiders missed a 22-yard field goal. There was 1:44 to play, the Hogs were down a very large 11 points.

All hope died after Collins, who had 170 yards rushing, fumbled with 1:07 to play.

Not saying which offense will consistently win more games, but speed is the name of the game and last night the Red Raiders had too much of it.

Sports on 09/20/2015

Print Headline: Arkansas goes nowhere fast vs. Texas Tech


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