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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Hogs manage the win despite sea of yellow

by Wally Hall | November 7, 2021 at 2:07 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas and Mississippi State both committed enough penalties to lose, but the final of 21 total penalties was against the Bulldogs, and the Razorbacks became bowl eligible with a 31-28 win.

It was a fiercely fought game, and in the end the Razorbacks drove 75 yards in 10 plays to take that lead with just 21 seconds left. In the drive Arkansas came face-to-face with a fourth and 1 and failed.

One lone yellow flag was on the turf near the 10-yard line.

Holding Mississippi State.

Three plays later, Dominique Johnson, who had 107 yards rushing on 17 carries, scored his second touchdown of the game, this one a 4-yard burst that set the final score.

The Bulldogs did drive 53 yards in 19 seconds, but with two seconds on the clock, missed a 40-yard field goal to tie. It was their third missed field goal in as many tries.

To say it was a crazy game is to say it was a typical SEC showdown by two Western Division teams.

At times in the first half the Bulldogs' offense looked more a rhinestone hair braid than the feared Air Raid attack, but in the second half Will Rogers completed 23 of 27 passes for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It just wasn't going to be enough, as the Razorbacks continued to find ways to win instead of losing.

On the game winning drive KJ Jefferson completed 6 of 7 passes for 41 yards, and for the game he was Air Raid efficient, going 19 if 23 for 191 yards.

Still, there has to be some concern about Arkansas' penalties, 11 for 78 yards (just three in the second half), and how does an offensive line which knows the snap count in a hurry-up offense false starts so much?

It could have been worse, much worse.

Arkansas' 13-7 halftime lead was either in spite of eight penalties for 62 yards or despite the Bulldogs' best effort, they couldn't cash in for more than one touchdown despite how many times the Razorbacks were penalized.

MSU's lone touchdown was aided and abetted by a pass-interference call on third and 12 from the Arkansas 18 with just 16 seconds before intermission.

The penalty put the visitors in play at the 3, and on first down Rogers threw for a touchdown. Just like that it was a game again.

The Razorbacks took the early lead on a Cam Little 46-yard field goal that capped a 40-yard drive that had good momentum until a false start seemed to throw the Hogs off who got only 7 more yards after the penalty.

On their next drive, the Razorbacks had another false start, but they overcame that when State was called for pass interference on third and 10 that moved the Hogs to first and goal from the 3. Two plays later Johnson bulled his way in for a 10-0 lead.

Arkansas' final score of the first half had no penalties and was highlighted when Jefferson stood his ground under a heavy blitz and got his pass off just before being knocked down. The pass went 24 yards to Raheim Sanders.

The Razorbacks drove to the MSU 30 before settling for a 43-yard field goal by Little and a 13-0 lead with just 3:21 to play in the half, but that was just enough time to allow the Bulldogs to get back in it thanks to pass interference.

Arkansas probably would have led by more, but a personal foul on a Grant Morgan interception cost the Hogs more than 30 yards before they went three and out.

The bottom line was both teams played better in the second half although the Razorbacks continued three-man rush gave Rogers tons of time.

Only one is now bowl eligible and the cellar dweller is no more, the Arkansas Razorbacks are truly competitive again.

Print Headline: Hogs manage the win despite sea of yellow


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