Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a voter for the Heisman Trophy, has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Morris says, 'no moral victories' after Aggie loss
Arkansas coach Chad Morris is shown during the fourth quarter of a game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Arlington, Texas.
FAYETTEVILLE -- From Sept. 14 to Sept. 21, they patted themselves on the back for the nonconference beating of a Mountain West foe.
From Sept. 21 to Sept. 28 they kicked themselves in the behind for losing to one.
Those contrasting Arkansas Razorbacks emotions forged ever apparent. First, following their 21-0 fourth quarter to beat Colorado State, 55-34 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Then trailing 24-7 at half and losing 31-24 to three-touchdown underdog San Jose State, also in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks didn't need their behinds kicked by coach Chad Morris and staff though they likely got a verbal version of it. They already kicked themselves resolving to play better as three-touchdown underdogs to SEC West rival Texas A&M at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.
And they did. These now 2-3 Razorbacks played with a full four quarter resolve not seen previously. Still they lost, 31-27. Another heartbreaker against the Aggies. A&M edged former coach Bret Bielema's 2014, 2015 and 2017 Razorbacks in overtime. Last year, A&M struggled, 24-17 to beat Morris' Razorbacks that eventually wallowed 2-10 overall/0-8 in the SEC.
What now, Morris was asked during last week's open date practices heading into Arkansas' next game this Saturday night in Lexington, Ky., vs. the Kentucky Wildcats of the SEC East?
Two weeks linger long staying either inspired or overconfident by improving against Texas A&M or dwelling in despair defeated again.
What Arkansas mental state does Morris want, he was asked last week, upon his Hogs, 2-3 overall/0-2 in the SEC West reporting for game week preparations against the Wildcats, 2-3/0-3 in the SEC East?
"Well, we're not into moral victories," Morris said. "I thought our guys played really well, really hard. It was probably overall watching the film and grading the film I thought for four quarters we played extremely well. We've got to replicate that performance each week. That's now the standard."
A new standard but certainly not cemented given the San Jose State game just previous.
"We have to go back now as we did a week ago and talk about why we performed like we did against San Jose State and why did we perform like we performed against Texas A&M?" Morris said. "But there are no moral victories. We've got to find a way to win those games."
A SEC winless Kentucky team appears Arkansas' best 2019 chance for Morris cracking the SEC win column.
The Razorbacks merely presuming that will happen got chased out of them by San Jose State, Morris believes. He said that reflected during the open date practices.
"The intensity level turned up even more and it continues to turn up," Morris said. "We've got young guys that have got to come on and we've got to clean up some self-inflicted wounds that have been costly for us. We've got to continue to demand that out of these guys. They've got to grow up quick."
Sports on 10/07/2019
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