Hogs start Allen, turn to Kelley for spark

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley is stopped short on fourth down by LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (4) and defensive end Frank Herron in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. LSU won 33-10. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley is stopped short on fourth down by LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (4) and defensive end Frank Herron in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. LSU won 33-10. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

— Arkansas’ staff knew Austin Allen was going to be the man at quarterback against LSU a day after last week’s win over Coastal Carolina, but inserted Cole Kelley in the hopes of a third straight comeback win.

Allen had been sidelined by a shoulder injury since the Oct. 7 loss at South Carolina, but returned from the four-game absence to start Saturday in Baton Rouge as a result of a lingering turf toe injury to Kelley. Allen played all but the final two series.

“We knew Austin, from Sunday forward, was our starting quarterback,” Bielema said. “Cole did a nice job getting in rehab. He did take about half the reps Wednesday but couldn’t go Thursday, couldn’t go Friday. Got himself in a position that he could go today, but Austin was our starter all week.”

Allen missed two deep balls on his final two possessions. The first came with Arkansas trailing 19-10 late in the third quarter and was a badly underthrown deep ball that fell well short of Jordan Jones, who likely would have scored on the play if it had been a good pass. The second was an overthrow of

Arkansas inserted Kelley the ensuing drive. The Louisiana native led fourth-quarter comebacks each of the past two weeks against Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina.

“Even though he hadn’t practiced, if there’s one thing Cole can do, he can run two-minute and sling it around pretty good,” Bielema said. “So I thought, just kind of there in the fourth quarter, been there, done that the last couple weeks, try to go back to him.

“Obviously the situation’s he’s been in, I thought we’d lean on that and try to get some spark at the end. That’s why we did it. Nothing from a benching Austin or anything like that, just wanted to give a guy that had been there a second chance.”

Allen finished 13 of 23 for 140 yards in his return. He practiced fully late last week and was on track to split reps with Kelley against Coastal Carolina, but the coaching staff decided to ride with the redshirt freshman in a close game. His deep ball misses were a continuation of a trend that plagued him at times this year before the shoulder injury.

“That one I just didn’t step into it, just tried to get it out there, not overthrow him,” Allen said. “And then the next one, I tried to throw it. It was just one of those days. Can’t miss those.”

Kelley went 3 of 10 for 36 yards and an interception on two drives. He was stopped short on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak inside Arkansas’ 25 yard-line with the Razorbacks desperate and trailing by two scores with less than seven minutes left, then was intercepted in the end zone on Arkansas' final drive.

“Cole came (last) Sunday, his whole foot was pretty discolored and had a pretty significant turf toe. Nothing structurally damaged that needed surgery or anything like that, but at that point didn’t know if he was going to be able to play this week,” Bielema said.

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.