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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Hard to catch these Razorbacks ever quitting

by Wally Hall | November 21, 2021 at 3:10 a.m.

In Tuscaloosa, Ala., against heavyweight champion Alabama, the Arkansas Razorbacks went the distance Saturday and lost a decision by a single touchdown, 42-35.

There may not be moral wins, but if there were, this was a monumental one for the Razorbacks.

They were three-touchdown underdogs on the road and had lost 14 consecutive games to Alabama including a couple of 52-0 shutouts.

Alabama took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, and then found a challenger who was unafraid to go toe-to-toe. The Razorbacks took everything the Tide could throw at them and were fighting at the end, driving 75 yards for a touchdown with just 1:02 to play to set the final score.

Make no excuses, the Razorbacks did not have an answer for sophomore quarterback Bryce Young who may have played his way into the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Young, a 5-star recruit, completed 31 of 40 passes for a school single-game record 559 yards and 5 touchdowns. He did not have an interception and scored on a two-point conversion that gave the Tide a 42-28 lead.

Arkansas wasn't through. It drove 75 yards in 12 plays with KJ Jefferson throwing a 17-yard touchdown to Raheim Sanders to set the final margin.

The less heralded Jefferson showed a lot of teams how wrong they were to offer him a scholarship as a tight end or linebacker.

He completed 22 of 30 passes for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Treylon Burks, who had to be helped off the field after the final touchdown, had 8 catches for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Razorbacks.

The defense bent and at times broke under Young's ability to complete passes all over the field, including deep, but they always got up, braced themselves and went at the Tide with reckless abandon.

Arkansas wasn't as big or as fast, but the size of the fight in the hog was obvious from start to finish.

One thing that wasn't consistent for two halves was the officiating.

At the half, hidden in its dressing room, the officiating crew should have sent every Razorback coach and player notes of apology.

Then they should have hung their heads in shame and slunk out of glorious Bryant-Denny Stadium because they didn't deserve to be on a much respected field in a game where the home team didn't want or need their help.

In the first half they missed two blatant pass interferences on Alabama, and it took the review crew in a booth hundreds of miles away to overturn the officials who were on the field and also missed Dominique Johnson's obvious touchdown.

CBS expert, former NFL official Gene Steratore, thought it was a touchdown, and on the play before when Warren Thompson hauled in a 41-yard touchdown pass that was spotted at the 1, he thought that should have been a touchdown.

Johnson got into the end zone standing up, and the officiating crew still spotted it at the 1, forcing the review crew to get it right.

No one is saying the officials, who did return for a better second half, gave Alabama the win. What it does say is they disrespected Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks.

It is time for that to stop. That was never more obvious than Saturday.

It has happened too often and gone so far as to cost the Razorbacks at least one and maybe two wins.

Those guys in the striped shirts have to see the Razorbacks of old are gone.

These guys come out and lay it on the line with their hearts and souls. They play hurt. They go eye-to-eye, tooth-for-tooth and never ever surrender.

Arkansas has fighting Razorbacks once again.


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