Posted by Adam Butler on October 14, 2012
Mercifully, Mother Nature intervened and the game was called in the middle of the 3rd quarter with Arkansas winning 49-7 and sparing UK head coach Joker Phillips further embarrassment as he winds down his tenure at Kentucky.
What We Saw
–Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was superb, particularly considering he was working in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Wilson was 23-of-31 passing for 372 yards and a career-high five touchdowns (tying a school record).
Wilson unveiled a new weapon–true freshman runningback Jonathan Williams–on the first play from scrimmage, finding him on a wheel route and raising his arm in the air as Williams made multiple Wildcats miss, picked up a block from fellow runningback Knile Davis, and bolted 74 yards for a touchdown.
Later, Williams exploded later, as well, hauling in a pass on the opposite side of the field on another wheel route and again showing off his speed and elusiveness on the way to a 77-yard score.
–He is undersized and raw, but true freshman A.J. Turner from Lepanto, AR, is beginning to show the kind of ability that has been lacking in the Razorbacks linebacking corps for some time.
Turner tied for the team lead with a handful of others who notched 5 tackles Saturday night, but stood out by showing the “thump” that Hog fans have been wanting to see from the UA defense.
A.J. makes eye-popping plays when he comes downhill and shoots his hips when he reads a play. And, when he makes contact, the ball carrier goes down in a heap.
Once he gets in the weight room and is able to focus on football (Turner was a talented high school basketball player) Turner should blossom into an All-SEC caliber linebacker, barring injury.
–Arkansas runningback Dennis Johnson put up another workmanlike effort and continued to quietly work his way up NFL draft boards. DJ scored 3 TDs (2 rushing, 1 receiving) and ran for 82 yards on just 12 carries.
With his ability to grind out tough yards while also posing a big play threat both from scrimmage and on special teams (Johnson has the most kick return yards in SEC history) DJ is the type of back that could be a draft day footnote from the middle rounds who turns into a productive pro.
What We Didn’t See
–With as big of a SEC cupcake as you will ever see in town, and an open week on the horizon, Arkansas took the opportunity to sit 6’5, 299-pound senior defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones. Jones has been battling soreness in both knees and should return refreshed in two weeks when Arkansas takes on Mississippi in Little Rock.
Similarly, senior tight end Chris Gragg, who has been out with a deep thigh bruise since early in an eventual loss to Rutgers in Week 4, should be ready for the Rebel Black Bears on October 27th.
What You May Not Have Seen
–Arkansas took the redshirt off of a pair of true freshmen who had not previously played this season. Wide receiver D’Arthur Cowan from Olive Branch, MS, and safety Defonta Lowe from Bearden, AR, both played against Kentucky and logged stats.
Cowan had one catch for 9 yards and Lowe made two tackles. Both are athletic and figure to provide much-needed depth down the backstretch of the season.
–Morgan Linton, Arkansas’ 5’11, 240-pound walkon fullback from Lonoke, AR, continued living the dream Saturday night as he again led the way with solid blocks on Johnson’s two TD carries. Linton also caught a swing pass and rumbled 19 yards for a first down in the first quarter.
What We Hope To See Next Week
–With Arkansas off next week, I’ll be paying particular attention to Texas A&M’s showdown with LSU at Kyle Field.
TAMU (5-1, 2-1) is rolling thanks to a lethal offense and some good fortune. Mississippi and Hugh Freeze handed them a victory 9 days ago, and let’s just say that if I were Louisiana Tech Head Coach Sonny Dykes, I would have been hard-pressed to avoid a meltdown during A&M’s wild 59-57 win over the Bulldogs in Shrevport on Saturday.
The officiating was bad enough that ESPN’s television crew (that included NFL journeyman and Vegas 800-number tout sound-alike Kelly Stouffer doing color) mentioned several times that the Bulldogs ”had several close calls go against them”. In today’s politically correct sports broadcasting climate, that’s about as much criticism as you will hear.
Nevertheless, Aggie freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is having a remarkable season (just ask him). In only seven games, Manziel has already amassed 2,356 yards from scrimmage (1680 passing and 676 rushing) with 24 TDs (14 passing, 10 rushing).
But now, things should get tougher for Manziel and the Aggies. In the next 4 games, they will host # 6LSU before going on a 3-game road trip to struggling and desperate Auburn, #12 Mississippi State and #1 Alabama. The Ags will be lucky to split those 4 games.