Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Hogs QB Austin Allen rocked, never folds
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen throws while being hit in Saturday's 45-24 loss to Texas A&M.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before quarterback Austin Allen made his way to Arkansas' locker room Saturday night in AT&T Stadium, he took a short detour.
"It was just a little medical thing," Allen said. "They wanted to make sure everything was good, and it's all good."
Texas A&M only sacked Allen once, but the Aggies applied numerous hits to Arkansas quarterback in a 45-24 victory.
Allen still completed 28 of 42 passes for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception.
"What a tough guy he is, because he took some shots and stood in there and threw some good balls," Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin said. "I mean, he showed a lot."
It was announced in the press box that Allen had suffered a chest bruise -- after a first-quarter hit by linebacker Claude George on a third-down incompletion -- but he returned for Arkansas' next series and didn't miss an offensive play during the game.
"Austin's a fighter," said Razorbacks wide receiver Jared Cornelius, who had career highs of seven catches for 126 yards. "It doesn't matter how many times he's on the ground, he's going to get up.
"If he doesn't have one arm, he's going to throw with his other arm. I'm proud of Austin."
Allen was able to address the media after the game.
"I'll be fine," he said. "I'm a little sore, but that's football."
Allen was trying to rally Arkansas from a 31-17 deficit in the fourth quarter when he was sacked by defensive end Daeshon Hall and fumbled. The ball was recovered by linebacker Tyrel Dodson on the Arkansas 15 and led to a Texas A&M touchdown that made it 38-17 with 10:25 left.
"He'll be real sore tomorrow," Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said of Allen. "He's a tough guy, obviously. I think our guys know that.
"I appreciate that about him, but at some point, any hit like that can take care of him for the season as well."
Allen and center Frank Ragnow exchanged a brief hug as they crossed paths in the interview room.
"We've got to be better," said Ragnow, one of two returning starters on the offensive line along with left tackle Dan Skipper. "He's not going to be able to last if we keep on letting those hits on him.
"As an offensive line and a whole offense, we've got to figure out what's the problem and fix it."
Arkansas had a different starting offensive line combination for the third consecutive game. Brian Wallace made his first career start, replacing Colton Jackson at right tackle, and Ragnow went back to center from right guard with Jake Raulerson going back to right guard from center after they traded spots the previous game against Texas State.
The only offensive linemen who have started in the same spots all four games are Skipper and left guard Hjalte Frohodt, who played defensive tackle last season.
"There's still some young guys up there on the offensive line," Allen said. "It's the first SEC game. They're going to get better.
"They gave me enough time tonight to get some throws off. We had some big third-down conversions out there."
The Razorbacks were 9 of 16 on third-down conversions, but were stopped inside the Aggies' 6 on three drives, including a lost fumble at the goal line by tailback Rawleigh Williams in the second quarter that safety Armani Watts forced and recovered.
"I mean, they're going to get better," Allen reiterated when asked about the offensive line. "They love football and they play hard.
"That's all you can really ask, because they want to get better. Our whole team will."
The game was tied 17-17 late in the third quarter when Arkansas was on the verge of completing a 95-yard touchdown drive, but Allen was stopped for no gain on second and third down from the Texas A&M 1.
Replay officials reviewed the third-down play, but upheld the ruling on the field that Allen didn't reach the end zone.
Allen was asked if he believed he had scored.
"Yeah, I do think I got in," he said. "I think the whole stadium thought I got in."
Bielema decided to go for the touchdown on fourth down, but wide receiver Keon Hatcher was dropped for a 5-yard loss by Watts on a sweep play.
Two plays later Trevor Knight connected with Josh Reynolds on a 92-yard touchdown pass to give the Aggies their first lead at 24-17.
It amounted to a 14-point swing in less than a minute on the game clock, but Allen said it was a turnaround the Razorbacks could have overcome.
"It didn't suck the life out of us," he said. "It was still a one-score game at that point.
"We've got to get the ball and go down and score. That's our job every single time. It doesn't matter what the score is."
Texas A&M (4-0, 2-0 SEC) beat Arkansas (3-1, 0-1) for the fifth consecutive year.
Allen, a redshirt junior, has passed for more yards in each of his four starts.
"That kid can stay in there and keep his same attitude and just keep cool, calm and collected time after time," Ragnow said Allen's poise under pressure. "I know I've got a guy who's a warrior behind me."
Allen said the chest bruise he suffered didn't affect his passing.
"I just kind of played through the pain a little bit," he said. "I'll feel it ... but I'll get in treatment and it'll start feeling better this week."
The Razorbacks play Alcorn State at 11 a.m. Saturday in Little Rock before resuming SEC play against No. 1 Alabama.
"I think we'll respond fine," Allen said. "Losing's never fun. It's not fun at all.
"The road gets tougher as the year goes on. We'll just get better and keep grinding away."
Sports on 09/26/2016
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