Razorbacks report:

Morris no stranger to Hurricane

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, October 19, 2018
Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, during the fourth quarter at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, during the fourth quarter at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris will face a very familiar foe at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Morris got his start in college football as offensive coordinator at the University of Tulsa in 2010 after his successful high school career that featured three state championships in the prep ranks in Texas. After one high-powered season with the Golden Hurricane, Morris went on to Clemson, where he continued to burnish his reputation.

Morris' SMU teams faced Tulsa each of the last three seasons. The Mustangs lost 40-31 in Dallas in 2015, fell 43-40 in overtime the following year in Tulsa, then beat the Hurricane 38-34 last season.

"It's a very special place," Morris said, adding he has many great friends still living in Tulsa. "What the city and the people there and university have done, I wouldn't be here today without them."

Dixie cup shot

Coach Chad Morris used an interesting phrase to describe how the Razorbacks might have to work their passing offense against the base 3-3-5 look run by Tulsa under defensive coordinator Bill Young.

"They're very well coached," Morris said on his radio show Wednesday night. "Bill Young has been there the last four years. They're very sound in what they do."

Arkansas receiver Deon Stewart mentioned how precise the route runners and passing will have to be against the Golden Hurricane.

"As Deon said, a lot of open areas," Morris said. "There's a lot of rush three and drop eight, and when they do you've got to put the ball in a Dixie cup sometimes. Those receivers have to do a very good job of finding the open area and setting it down."

Low down

Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, asked whether he advised quarterback Ty Storey to slide or get down sooner on some plays, first discussed the nature of the junior.

"He's a very tough kid," Craddock said. "If I know one thing about Ty ... it's he really wants this team to win football games. I don't think it matters to him what he has to do to help us win.

"He'll do whatever it takes to do that because he's a warrior. He plays with a lot of grit and toughness. ... There are times in the games when you want him to slide. There are times in the game when he has to get the first down.

"Just unfortunate. I think when he got hurt the other day it wasn't really the hit that he took. I think it was just his head hitting the ground was kind of the issue there."

Four FGs

Connor Limpert's four field goals against Ole Miss -- from 43, 38, 38 and 36 yards -- marked a career-high for the left-footer from Allen, Texas, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday. The last time an Arkansas kicker made four field goals in a game was Alex Tejada in a 46-26 victory over Troy in the 2007 season opener.

Tulsa kicker Nate Walker, a walk-on, has also made four field goals in a game this year. Walker made kicks from 28, 32, 27 and 35 yards in the Hurricane's 41-26 loss at Houston on Oct. 4.

Big plays

The Razorbacks racked up four of their top 11 high-yardage offensive plays of the season against Ole Miss, including their longest run of the year.

Rakeem Boyd's 69-yard breakaway touchdown over the left side in the first quarter was the Hogs' longest offensive play of the season and its second-longest gain of the year behind De'Vion Warren's 78-yard kickoff return against Alabama.

Boyd's 69-yard touchdown was keyed by a walled-off inside and pulling guard Johnny Gibson's block in the hole on linebacker Willie Hibbler. Boyd easily outran cornerback Ken Webster and safety Keidron Smith for the score.

Arkansas also scored on two 39-yard touchdown passes -- tight end Cheyenne O'Grady's catch from Ty Storey and La'Michael Pettway's over-the-top score from Cole Kelley.

Boyd had a 38-yard catch and run in the first quarter as part of his 145 all-purpose yards before he was injured early in the second quarter.

Gragg returns

Tulsa Athletics Director Derrick Gragg will be back for a football game on the Fayetteville campus for the second time since serving in the UA athletics department for six years (2000-06) as an associate athletic director, senior associate athletic director and deputy athletic director for Frank Broyles.

Gragg, a candidate for Arkansas' athletics director's job last winter, was athletics director at Eastern Michigan when the Razorbacks won 63-27 on Oct. 31, 2009.

Gragg earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the UA in May of 2004 and taught more than a dozen college courses during his tenure with the Razorbacks.

His son Avery Gragg is a junior receiver on the Tulsa roster.

The series

Arkansas leads the all-time series against Tulsa, which dates to 1899, by a margin of 55-14-3.

The 72 games ranks fourth among the most-played opponents for Arkansas behind Texas (78), Texas A&M (75) and SMU (73).

The Razorbacks won the last game by a 19-15 count Nov. 3, 2012.

The Golden Hurricane's last victory in the series came in a 9-3 upset of the No. 12 Razorbacks on Sept. 25, 1976 in Coach Frank Broyles' final season.

The teams played 18 consecutive times in Tulsa between 1925 and 1947, with the series tied 8-8-2 in those meetings. The last 41 games have been played in Fayetteville (39 games) and Little Rock (2), with Arkansas holding a 37-4 edge in that span.

The Hurricane won the last game played in Tulsa by a score of 44-34 on Nov. 22, 1952.

Unlucky 17

The last three times Arkansas scored 17 or more points in the first quarter it has lost the game, including Saturday's 37-33 setback against Mississippi.

The Razorbacks have scored 17 first quarter points three times in the last 32 games, including a 35-24 loss to Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl after leading 17-0 through the first quarter, and in a 48-45 loss to Missouri in last year's season finale. The Razorbacks led 21-7 after the first period in that game.

Extra points

• The SEC Network crew assigned to Tulsa-Arkansas game is Taylor Zarzour on play by play, former Georgia lineman Matt Stinchcomb as analyst, and Kris Budden as the sideline reporter.

• Tulsa, a private school, has the lowest enrollment (3,343) in the FBS. Tight end Charles Clay (Little Rock Central) of the Buffalo Bills is the only former Tulsa player currently in the NFL.

Sports on 10/19/2018

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