Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Low turnout for Little Rock
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen leave the field after a disappointing overtime loss to Mississippi during their game Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Allen threw an interception to end the game.
LITTLE ROCK An announced crowd of 45,198 was on-hand for Arkansas' 24-17 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday, which was the third-lowest for a Southeastern Conference game at War Memorial Stadium.
The attendance was the lowest in Little Rock for a conference game since 2000 when 43,982 showed up for a game against LSU. The stadium's seating capacity is 53,955.
It was the second low turnout for a game in central Arkansas this year. An announced crowd of 47,348 was on-hand for the Razorbacks' 31-21 win over Samford in September. Both attendances are among the eight lowest at the stadium since 1992.
The combined attendance of 92,546 is the lowest since the Razorbacks began playing two games annually in Little Rock in the 2003 season. Arkansas is under contract to play two games at War Memorial Stadium through 2016, including one conference game each year.
Arkansas in OT
1996: Arkansas 16, Mississippi State 13
2000: Arkansas 17, Mississippi State 10
2001: Arkansas 58, Ole Miss 56 (7OT)
2002: Tennessee 41, Arkansas 38 (6OT)
2003: Arkansas 34, Alabama 31 (3OT)
2003: Arkansas 71, Kentucky 63 (7OT)
2006: Arkansas 24, Alabama 23 (2OT)
2007: Arkansas 50, LSU 48 (3OT)
2009: LSU 33, Arkansas 30
2010: Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17
2010: Arkansas 38, Mississippi State 31 (2OT)
2012: ULM 34, Arkansas 31
2013: Mississippi State 24, Arkansas 17
Arkansas and Mississippi State played their fourth overtime game Saturday, with the Bulldogs winning their first between the teams in extra time.
The Razorbacks won overtime games in 1996, 2000 and 2010. Saturday's game was the first overtime game the teams played in the state of Arkansas.
Since overtime was implemented in college football for the 1996 season, Arkansas has played in 13 overtime games and has a 9-4 record in those games. The Razorbacks have played a total of 35 overtime periods.
Tight games are nothing new to the schools, with 15 meetings decided by 10 points or fewer since Arkansas joined the SEC. The Razorbacks and Mississippi State played to a 13-13 tie in 1993 at War Memorial Stadium.
Little Rock Struggles
The Razorbacks have lost three games at War Memorial Stadium since last season, with the clinching play coming on the final snap of all three games.
Arkansas lost to ULM 34-31 in overtime last season when Kolton Browning ran for a 16-yard touchdown and 30-27 to Ole Miss when Bryson Rose made a 31-yard field goal as time expired. Brandon Allen's interception on the final play of the game Saturday ended the game for the Razorbacks.
Losses in central Arkansas have been uncommon for the Razorbacks in recent years. The Razorbacks lost only twice at the stadium between 1998 and 2011.
Arkansas had a 17-game win streak at the stadium from 1998 to 2004 and a 10-game win streak from 2008 to 2011.
Collins Denied 1,000
Arkansas running back Alex Collins rushed for 52 yards Saturday, leaving him two yards shy of 1,000 yards for the season.
Collins, along with running back Jonathan Williams, didn't play in the first quarter Saturday after they were late for a weight lifting session earlier in the week. Collins will have a chance to become the second Razorbacks freshman to rush for 1,000 yards next week against LSU.
It looked as if Collins would eclipse the mark late in the fourth quarter, but he fumbled at the Mississippi State 9 with 5:22 remaining. The Bulldogs recovered the ball and Collins didn't attempt a rush again the rest of the game.
Man in the Middle
Dan Skipper, a 6-foot-10 freshman lineman, blocked his third field goal of the season Saturday.
Skipper's swat on a 28-yard field goal attempt by Devon Bell preserved a 10-10 tie early in the third quarter. He also had blocks against Rutgers and Florida.
The three blocks are believed to be the most by an Arkansas player during one season. Seth Armbrust blocked a field goal and a punt during the 2009 season.
Hocker Goes Long
Arkansas kicker Zach Hocker booted a field goal from 50-plus yards for the second consecutive game and third time this season.
Hocker's 54-yard field goal in the second quarter was a career-long and gave the Razorbacks a 10-0 lead. It also moved Hocker past former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow for 10th place on the SEC career scoring list.
The senior is 5-for-7 on field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer in his career. His previous career long, a 53-yard make, came in Little Rock earlier this year against Samford.
Arkansas junior safety Alan Turner recorded a career-high 16 tackles Saturday, including a half tackle for loss.
Turner also broke up a pass in the end zone during the second quarter, forcing Mississippi State to settle for a field goal. The Junction City native leads the Razorbacks with 86 tackles this season.
Arkansas cornerback Tevin Mitchel didn't play Saturday because of a family illness.
Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said Mitchel left Little Rock on Friday to be with his mother in Texas. Mitchel had started every game this season at cornerback, but was in competition for the starting job with freshman D.J. Dean during the Razorbacks' off week.
Arkansas linebacker Braylon Mitchell also didn't start Saturday. Mitchell was suspended for the first quarter for being late to a team meeting.
Arkansas played Saturday's game in all anthracite colored uniforms and anthracite colored helmets.
It was the first time the Razorbacks had worn the helmet, which featured a red logo. Arkansas wore the anthracite jerseys twice last season against Kentucky and Ole Miss.
The Razorbacks have worn white helmets four times the last two seasons but haven't won any of those games.
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