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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Day was near-perfect at War Memorial

by Wally Hall | October 24, 2021 at 3:08 a.m.

It was a monumentally historic day that went just about as expected.

No, the University of Arkansas' first teams were not on the bus and nearing Conway by the end of the first half, but their day was finished as they took a 45-0 lead into intermission.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff avoided the shutout with a field goal with 6:34 to play for a 45-3 final score.

As everyone should know, it was the first meeting between the two schools who have coexisted for 128 years and are brothers under the UA System.

It was the first Razorback game against an in-state opponent in 77 years, and it was a grand day full of emotion, especially amid the honoring of the military several times, including a National Guard induction ceremony for several new soldiers.

War Memorial Stadium was spit shined and ready for the day. The 42,576 fans were witnesses to a new bond between two old schools.

Many left with the game in hand but not until after the halftime show.

Arkansas' band was good. UAPB's Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South was more better than it was billed.

When the two bands combined for the final song of the half, it was touching and just another sign of cooperation and brotherhood.

Some may want to argue, but the UA policy of not playing teams from within the state was dated.

Of course, it helped the Razorbacks become the biggest school in the state, but they don't need that kind of help after 75 years of singularity.

Which is why there were no surprises in the game.

UAPB, which last spring played for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship, has endured several injuries and are now 1-6 on the season. Arkansas is 5-3.

Schools from the FCS do beat FBS schools, but those are few and far between and are called upsets.

That wasn't going to happen Saturday.

After less than four minutes of play the Razorbacks led 14-0 and had scored in 1:22 and :09.

They ran for 232 yards in the first half. KJ Jefferson added 194 through the air and the Razorbacks led 45-0 at intermission.

At the half, the decision was made and agreed to by both schools to shorten the final two quarters from 15 to 12 minutes. It was a smart and gracious decision.

Even more gracious was Sam Pittman's decision at the half that his starters were finished, and the back-ups would be getting playing time.

By the end, there were Razorbacks playing who had been on the last bus that arrived at the stadium.

Only their families knew who they were.

Don't think the Razorbacks have finally rediscovered their defense or that their offense took a major step forward.

UAPB is a program with lots of desire and fire, but the Golden Lions don't have the overall man power to beat a Power 5 school.

The Golden Lions were well coached and threw everything they had at the Hogs. It wasn't enough, although most of them were still standing in the end.

And Pittman is old school, he's not going to embarrass anyone especially a friend.

In the second half, the Razorbacks passed just five times, all by back-up quarterback Malik Hornsby.

Their number one goal in the second half was to run the clock, and in the final two quarters they had just 78 yards of offense.

The Golden Lions were paid $600,000. That's money that stays in the state and in the UA System.

It was a win-win.

The Razorbacks never took it easy or let up, but Pittman made sure his difference-makers were getting a much needed break.

The one guarantee is the Razorbacks won't play another 11 a.m. game this Saturday. They are off, and the timing couldn't be better.

Print Headline: Day was near-perfect at War Memorial


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