Some random thoughts after the Razorbacks’ win over Vanderbilt.
- After looking like a bunch of ‘zombies’ to begin the game, the Razorbacks turned in their best all-around quarter of the season in the second quarter. All three phases did their part to contribute. The offense gained 157 yards on 25 plays and scored three touchdowns. The defense forced a safety and held Vandy to only 13 total yards. And special teams had a big 66-yard return by Lance Ray, along with a 26-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…with 26 seconds left…to finish out a 26-point quarter.
- For the second time this season, Ryan Mallett topped the 400-yard passing mark. The junior broke his own school record, throwing for 409 yards (27 out of 44) and three touchdowns. Mallett has four 400-yard games for his career — the only four in Razorback history.
- Jerico Nelson had a defensive performance worthy of SEC Player of the Week consideration. Nelson led the team with seven tackles and was involved in both interceptions made by the Hogs. While the pick-six in the fourth quarter was a nice highlight, it was Nelson’s tipped ball to teammate Rudell Crim that led to a second quarter interception and shifted the momentum that the Hogs never relinquished for the rest of the game.
- It was a tale of two very contrasting defensive performances on Saturday. As the game wore on, the Vanderbilt defense just could not get off the field. The Hogs rolled up 555 total yards on 84 plays, 25 first downs and were a solid 10-for-19 on third down conversions. And after a lethargic start in the first quarter, the Razorback defense was stellar for the rest of the way. The Commodores only netted 23 yards of total offense in the final three quarters and went over 43 minutes without recording a first down.
- While we won’t know more until later today, watching Greg Childs get injured early in the fourth quarter was a huge downer. With a big game looming at South Carolina, the Hogs can ill afford to be without one of their best playmakers. And that’s assuming (and hoping) that the right knee injury that Childs sustained is not a season-ending one. (Update: Unfortunately…it is a season-ending injury. Damn.)
- Penalties reared their ugly head again Saturday night, especially on the offensive line. The Hogs were called for 13 penalties for 130 yards. And nearly every member of the offensive line was penalized, including two chop blocks and several holding and false start penalties.
- The tackling by the Razorback defense to begin the game wasn’t just ugly…it was downright atrocious. The defense did eventually ‘right the ship’ after the first quarter. But after disappointing defensive performances in the previous two games, Willy Robinson better be working overtime to make sure that kind of embarassingly slow start doesn’t happen again this season. As Frank Broyles would say, “They remember November.”
Of course, we can’t possibly mention everything that was “Good, Bad and Ugly.” What did we leave out?
Walking on Sunshine also contributed to this post.