Name game: Hogs offense goes through Burks, Smith

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, December 5, 2020
Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks runs with the ball during a game against Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Razorbacks )
Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks runs with the ball during a game against Missouri on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.

A pair of Razorbacks with similar names had career-best games Saturday at Missouri.

Sophomore receiver Treylon Burks caught 10 passes for 206 yards, and junior running back Trelon Smith rushed 26 times for 172 yards in Arkansas’ 50-48 loss at Faurot Field.

Burks and Smith accounted for 69% of the Razorbacks’ 566 yards of offense, and for four of the team’s seven touchdowns. Burks had a 68-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, and Smith scored on runs of 8, 15 and 16 yards.

It was the first time Arkansas had a 200-yard receiver and 170-yard rusher in the same game.

“The offensive line, offensive guys played well,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said.

Burks’ 206 receiving yards were the third most by a Razorback in one game, and the most by an Arkansas player in a conference game. Prior to Saturday, Lucas Miller (201 yards at Mississippi State in 2008) was the only Razorback to eclipse 200 receiving yards in an SEC game.

Mike Reppond had 204 yards on 12 receptions in a Southwest Conference game against Rice in 1971.

The only Arkansas receivers with higher single-game outputs than Burks were Cobi Hamilton and Jarius Wright — Hamilton with an SEC-record 303 yards on 10 receptions against Rutgers in 2012, and Wright with 281 yards on 13 receptions against Texas A&M in 2011.

Burks — who also rushed three times for 14 yards — provided a steadying presence for Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, a redshirt freshman who was starting his second career game, and his first in more than a year.

Jefferson finished 18 of 33 for 274 yards. He targeted Burks 15 times, and Burks' 13 touches included 10 first downs.

Jefferson passed incomplete to Burks twice on a three-and-out on the Razorbacks’ first possession, but they connected for 10 yards on third-and-10, and for 15 yards on a scoring drive that pulled Arkansas within 10-6 late in the first quarter.

After Missouri went ahead 13-6 early in the second quarter, Jefferson hit Burks for a 68-yard touchdown to tie the game. Burks beat safety Joshuah Bledsoe on the deep ball and ran 21 yards after the catch.

“He made some spectacular catches,” Pittman said. “Those guys gave KJ a lot of confidence. They were confident in him and all week during practice they tried to build his confidence.”

The touchdown was the highlight, but Burks had several other plays to set up Arkansas scores. All of Smith’s touchdown runs came on a drive that included at least one catch by Burks.

When Smith scored an 8-yard touchdown to tie the game 20-20 in the second quarter, it followed Burks receptions of 13 and 7 yards, as well as a 10-yard run by Burks.

Burks had a 41-yard reception on a third-and-15 to put Arkansas in Missouri territory early in the third quarter, and Smith followed with four straight runs that culminated in a 15-yard touchdown that put the Razorbacks ahead 33-23.

Smith’s final touchdown run came one play following a 14-yard pass from Jefferson to Burks. Burks also had a 21-yard reception on the drive that put the Razorbacks ahead 40-26 early in the fourth quarter.

“Burks, man, hell of a player,” Smith said. “You know he’s going to give it his all every down, every play. Coming into the game I was very confident in him, and he showed up and showed out like always.

“Typical Treylon Burks. He’s going to show out. I felt like he did his part on offense.”

It was the fourth time this season Burks had more than 100 receiving yards and came during the same week he was added to the ballot for the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s best receiver. He had 102 yards against Georgia, 137 yards against Ole Miss and 117 yards at Texas A&M.

“We used him quite a bit more today,” Pittman said, “and certainly we need to use him and continue to do that.”

Smith rushed for 100 yards for the second time in three games. He had 118 yards on eight carries at Florida on Nov. 14.

Smith’s 26 carries Saturday were a career high. He split carries with Rakeem Boyd the past four games, but became the Razorbacks’ primary back earlier in the week when Boyd opted out for the team’s final two games.

Smith had 11 first-down runs. He fumbled twice, but both were recovered by the Razorbacks.

"You look at the line and there were a lot of big holes," Pittman said. "The backs were running hard."

The 566 yards of offense and 48 points were season highs for the Razorbacks, but weren’t enough against a Missouri team that set season highs with 50 points and 653 yards.

“I’m proud of the guys and how they played on offense,” Pittman said. “We’ll work hard to get the defense figured out.”

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