Razorback football report: 2 RBs lost to injuries

By: Bob Holt Bob Holt's Twitter account , Tom Murphy Tom Murphy's Twitter account
Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders is shown during a game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Fayetteville.
( Hank Layton)
Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders is shown during a game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas tailbacks Raheim “Rocket” Sanders and Rashod Dubinion are both out for the season after suffering injuries in last week’s 44-20 win over Florida International, Coach Sam Pittman said Monday.

Sanders, who had been battling a left knee problem since the season opener, suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder after a run in the first quarter. Dubinion came out with a knee injury that Pittman said was a torn meniscus after a first-quarter run.

“Which is actually better news that what I thought on Saturday, and he’s probably just getting out of that surgery right now,” Pittman said during his noon press conference.

Dubinion avoided a torn knee ligament that would have required more intensive rehabilitation and would have made a healthy return for spring impossible and for training camp questionable.

Pittman said Sanders would have surgery to repair his labrum in the next few days.

Additionally, Pittman said sophomore offensive tackle Patrick Kutas and freshman cornerback Jaylon Braxton both practiced on Sunday but might be questionable for Friday’s season finale against No. 9 Missouri at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Braxton had a shoulder injury not long after his fourth quarter interception in a loss to Auburn two weeks ago. Kutas came out of a 39-36 overtime win at Florida on Nov. 4 with a high ankle sprain and has missed the last two games.

‘Unemployment opportunity’

Coach Sam Pittman said Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek’s public backing over the weekend and his announcement that Pittman would be back for 2024 in the locker room after Saturday’s win over Florida International was important in recruiting.

“I think it’s really big because we’re getting a lot of negative from coaches in recruiting,” Pittman said. “I’ll say this: I think when you sign up for the SEC, you have to win. It’s here, [Texas] A&M, Mississippi State, Alabama, wherever, you’ve got to win.

“If you don’t, there’s opportunities for you to be unemployed. That’s just how it is and that’s what we sign up for.”

Tailback turn

Isaiah Augustave had his best collegiate performance and Dominique Johnson re-discovered his old form as the Razorbacks tapped into their tailback depth after injuries in Saturday’s win over Florida International.

Augustave broke multiple tackles en route to 101 rushing yards on 14 carries. That marked just the second 100-yard game for a Razorback in 2023, following Raheim Sanders’ 103-yard effort in a 39-36 win at Florida.

Johnson had a season-best 62 yards on six carries, including a 31-yard touchdown, after the Hogs lost Raheim Sanders (shoulder) and Rashod Dubinion (knee) to injuries. Johnson scored his first touchdown in nearly two years after undergoing two knee surgeries.

“Isaiah earned his carry time,” Pittman said Monday when asked about the position group. “Dominique … he looked really good the other night I thought. And certainly AJ [Green].

“We’re going to try and rev up [Augustave] a little bit more after his performance, and I really like how Dominique, when he got his shoulders turned, he did some good things of moving the pile. He’s a big man.

“More importantly, I think he probably got some confidence out of it. He really hadn’t had a lot of confidence in that knee. He just hasn’t. Some guys get over it earlier, faster than others, but I think he got some confidence out of a few of those really good runs he made the other night.”

SEC honors

Arkansas and Missouri combined to have five players earn SEC weekly honors announced Monday by the conference office.

Arkansas safety Alfahiym Walcott shared Defensive Player of the Week honors with Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson. Walcott had two interceptions, one returned 33 yards for a touchdown, and five tackles in Arkansas’ 44-20 victory over FIU.

Arkansas running back Isaiah Augustave shared Freshman of the Week honors with Mississippi State kicker Kyle Ferrie. In his first significant playing time, Augustave had 14 carries for 101 yards.

Ferrie, who is from Searcy and played at Harding Academy, hit 4 of 4 field goals, including a 48-yarder, in a 41-20 victory over Southern Mississippi.

Missouri quarterback Brady Cook completed 20 of 34 passes for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 33-31 win over Florida and shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis hit four field goals against Florida, including the game-winner from 30 yards with 5 seconds left.

Tigers guard Xavier Delgado was Offensive Lineman of the Week after he helped Missouri gain 508 total yards.

Walcott tout

Arkansas defensive end Landon Jackson touted the work of senior safety Alfahiym Walcott, who landed on the SEC players of the week list on Monday. Walcott had a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned 33 yards for a momentum-swinging touchdown that gave Arkansas a 21-13 lead in the second quarter.

“Man, those are game-changing plays,” Jackson said. “Those completely switched the momentum of the game. He’s a play maker. He’s a ball player.

“You could put him at corner if you had to. He’d make plays like that too. He’s a football player. He has a great football IQ, and he’s definitely a guy I expect to make a play like that.”

Peoples person

Missouri defensive assistant Kevin Peoples was named one of 15 semifinalists on Monday for the Broyles Award, which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Peoples, a native of Butte, Mont., worked three seasons at Arkansas for Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith between 2010-12. He served as director of high school relations his first season then moved into an on-field role as defensive line coach the next two years.

Peoples, a four-year linebacker starter at Carroll College in Helena, Mont., is the only one of the 15 semifinalists who is not a coordinator.


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