Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like it is:
Hogs have heartbeat, now need victory
Arkansas vs Alabama Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
It was looking like Alabama might cover the 35-point spread by halftime when leading 21-0 with 5:38 to play in the first quarter Saturday.
One thought kept coming to mind. Could the No. 1 Crimson Tide put a beat down on the University of Arkansas like Southern Cal did, 70-17, in 2005.
That game was tied 7-7 in the first quarter after Arkansas drove just 29 yards for a touchdown, but it was 28-7 after the first quarter, 42-10 at the half and 56-10 after three quarters. After the tie, the Razorbacks were outscored 56-3 until a 63-yard drive for a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard pass from Alex Mortensen to Marcus Monk, who also caught the first touchdown pass.
USC didn't let up, scoring its final touchdown on a pass with 1:25 to play.
That was an old-fashioned whipping.
Early Saturday, the game had that same feel as the Tide used 21 seconds to score its first touchdown, 50 seconds to score its second and 2:51 to make it 21-0.
Amazingly, the crowd of a little more than 49,000 did not give up. The fans were loud and proud. They could see the Razorbacks weren't quitting, and neither would they.
The Razorbacks started their third drive at their own 25 -- which they did 10 of 12 possessions -- and Ty Storey passed for 72 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cheyenne O'Grady.
In the second quarter, the Tide outscored the Hogs 20-7 for a 41-14 lead. While some fans left, the fight in the Hogs had just begun.
The Razorbacks would get a field goal in the third quarter, and the Tide another touchdown. In the final period, Alabama scored 17 but the Hogs scored 14, the most points Alabama had given up in one quarter all season. Arkansas' 14 first-half points were the most the Tide had allowed this season, and the 31 points were the most allowed for a game.
In fact, the Tide had shut out opponents in 11 of 20 quarters going into Saturday's game. Texas A&M was the only team to score in every quarter until the Razorbacks, and they are the only team to score two touchdowns in a quarter.
No one is taking lightly that Alabama had 639 yards of offense and scored a season-high 65 points.
The Crimson Tide are that good. It is why they are ranked No. 1 in the country.
If you don't have speed, then you are chasing Alabama because it has an abundance of speed.
That's why the Tide scored on passes of 76, 42 and 60 yards. It is why they are favored to repeat as national champions.
But the Hogs' hearts beat as one with a single goal, and that was to not quit. The fans still were cheering them in the fourth quarter.
After the loss to North Texas, if someone had said the Hogs would score 31 on Alabama and gain a total of 405 yards, you would have thought they were crazy. It seemed the season was finished.
This is not the same team that gave games away to Colorado State and Auburn.
The Hogs have improved for three consecutive weeks. The better they get, the more trust the coaches have in them, the more creative the play calling will become.
Passes were caught by 10 different players Saturday, and six ran the ball.
The Hogs lost, but they gave their fans hope. Hope that the second half of this season will be much better than the first.
While there were some fans who were justifiably upset about the 65 points allowed, most saw great effort and cohesiveness, a couple of things that had been missing in the first five games.
Now comes the challenge of continuing the fight and improving.
Alabama didn't cover the point spread. Now it is time for the Razorbacks to get a real win.
Sports on 10/09/2018
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