Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: That chip on Hogs' shoulder isn't going away

So far it has been a magic carpet ride.

A September to remember forever.

The Arkansas Razorbacks didn't just turn a corner in Sam Pittman's second year, they got on a different course.

It's like they went from driving south of Benton or on West Cantrell in those construction zones to the Autobahn.

Everything that has happened has been hand-made by Pittman and his staff.

They instilled pride in the players, who then took pride in being Razorbacks. Fighting Razorbacks.

The staff knew they were thin at defensive line -- they took on LSU last season with only four healthy defensive linemen -- so they hit the transfer portal.

Not blindly or wildly.

Transfers didn't come by the busload.

They were all chosen.

To go along with 13 who chose to be super seniors, to play a sixth season.

They did it for Pittman and their coaches, and they did it for their school and football program.

For the first time since 1983, the Razorbacks have defeated Texas and Texas A&M in the same season.

It seemed like the season was complete when the Hogs beat the hated Longhorns 40-21. But for the players and coaches, it was just one more rung on the ladder.

The majority of football fans, including the oddsmakers, believed the Aggies would win.

In three games, the Aggies had allowed just 17 total points.

Arkansas scored 20.

The Aggies were allowing an average of just 241 yards per game.

The Razorbacks had 433.

The Aggie were No. 7 in the nation and were being mentioned as a strong candidate for the College Football Playoffs.

Now they are No. 15 and would have to run the table and hope the Hogs lose twice.

It seems like the coaches and players knew they could beat the Longhorns and the Aggies.

Numbers don't lie and the Razorbacks have some interesting ones after four games, two against ranked teams.

The Hogs have not been scored on in the first quarter while tallying 34 points.

They have outscored opponents 30-23 in the second quarter. That's a 64-23 first-half advantage.

In the third quarter, they have 41 points to 21 by opponents and then they close strongly.

In the fourth quarter, they have outscored opponents 38-14 and all 14 of those were by Texas in the fourth quarter when the game was all but over.

When the whistle blew for kickoff last Saturday in AT&T Stadium, the Aggies thought they would win.

The Razorbacks knew they would.

It was 17-3 at the half and Arkansas held a 307-to-134 advantage in yards.

The Aggies made a lot of defensive changes at the half and held the Hogs to 137 yards, but it was too late because Arkansas' defense refuses to lose.

They held the Aggies to 138 yards in the second half.

Make no mistake, the Aggies had the momentum going into the final quarter.

The Aggies had pulled to within 17-10, but with 12 minutes to play Montaric Brown intercepted a pass that Bumper Pool had deflected. Backup quarterback Malik Hornsby drove the Hogs 42 yards in 3:21 for a 24-yard field goal by Cam Little, and the lights went out in College Station.

In all my years as a sports writer -- 42 writing columns -- no transformation has ever been witnessed like what is going on with Razorback football.

Yes, it doesn't get easier in the SEC. Every week is a battle.

Yet for the first time in too long, the Arkansas Razorbacks are finding ways to win instead of ways to lose.

That chip on their shoulder is real and isn't going away.

Georgia may be a great football team, it is ranked No. 2 for a reason. But as the world of football is learning, these Razorbacks always have a chance.

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