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:
Crowd played its part in Hogs' victory
The crowd is shown prior to a football game between Arkansas and Cincinnati on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Attendance for last Saturday’s Cincinnati-Arkansas game was reported as 74,751. but it seemed like more — especially to the Bearcats, who had eight second half penalties.
Some were caused by the crowd.
It was a late arriving crowd because entry into the stadium was slow, and some of that had to do with new metal detectors.
No doubt that will be fixed by this Saturday when South Carolina comes to Reynolds Razorback Stadium to open SEC play.
Overall, it may have been one of the best crowds in history, especially the student section, which came early and stayed late.
Everyone stayed a little later than expected because the traffic was horrendous.
It would seem a couple of streets — Weddington Drive comes to mind — could be made a one way for 90 minutes after the game, but yours truly is not an engineer or street planner.
A handful of the crowd were Cincinnati fans, but their section was at least half Razorback fans, so the majority of the crowd gladly took the win.
In time all that will be remembered is the Razorbacks won.
It was truly an evenly-contested game.
Cincinnati was disciplined and well-coached. If it could have connected better on deep passes, there might have been only a handful of people who left the stadium with a smile.
The thing is Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman and his staff know what went right and what didn’t.
There will be a lot of focus this week on fixing some things.
The sign of a good coach and his staff is whether or not the team progresses from one week to the next.
The first two seasons under Pittman, the Razorbacks improved every game.
There’s no reason to think that won’t happen again unless a ton of injuries are in play.
One issue that raised its head too much was the Razorbacks not wrapping up on defense. Shoulder tackling too often means missed tackles and can lead to injury.
Going into last Saturday’s game, the big question was the receiving corps. But those guys, with the help of two transfers, stepped up big.
Matt Landers, who transferred from Georgia, and Jadon Haselwood, who came from Oklahoma, had three catches each.
All total, including running back Raheim Sanders, six players caught passes — led by tight end Trey Knox, who had seven catches for 75 yards.
It is true quarterback KJ Jefferson didn’t go deep much, but he didn’t have to last Saturday.
He completed 18 of 26 passes for 223 yards but 149 of those yards came after the catch. True freshman Rashod Dubinion had one reception but it was for 33 yards, 29 after the catch.
Jefferson has confidence in his receivers and should since they worked on their own all summer. Jefferson even passed on the Manning Passing Academy to stay on campus and put in extra work.
On the flip side, the Bearcats passed for 325 yards and too often quarterback Ben Bryant had plenty of time. But the Bearcats have a veteran line with all their starters back, although the center was out with an injury.
One of the more impressive things the Razorbacks did against the Bearcats was score when they needed, and when a fumble deep in Arkansas territory gave the visitors the ball at the UA 7, the defense forced them to settle for a field goal.
The big assist in that came from the crowd.
Cincinnati had four penalties on that drive: A false start, illegal formation and two delay of game penalties.
The false start and delays of game had a lot to do with the crowd, which from start to finish was loud enough to be heard for miles.
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