Hogs searching for any kind of answers after another big loss
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— Sometimes there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes it's just an oncoming train.
There weren't many silver linings in Arkansas' embarrassing 44-17 loss to North Texas on Saturday night in Fayetteville.
If anything, the only positive was seeing true freshman quarterbacks Connor Noland and John
Stephen Jones (grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry) make their Razorback debuts.
They replaced starter Cole Kelley, who was benched after going 16 of 35 for 185 yards and four interceptions, with two other passes nearly intercepted but dropped by Mean Green defenders.
“We went through practice this week and was going to try to stay with one guy,” Arkansas coach Chad Morris said, “That was the message. I was trying to get to the point of staying with one guy as long as we could, and with hopes to give the entire game to Cole (Kelley).”
The stadium was a near ghost town by the time the newcomers got in, however. Paid attendance was 62,355, but the actual ‘scanned’ tickets only amounted to 44,306, which is barely over half capacity.
Maleek Williams did rip off a 68-yard touchdown jaunt up the middle with 53 seconds remaining but the outcome was already firmly decided.
Now SEC play begins by traveling to an Auburn team that will be smarting from a last-second loss to LSU on Saturday.
“I think when you look at it, you look at it as how this football has got to improve every day,” Morris said. “No one in that locker room wants to hear the word ‘rebuild’, especially if you’re a senior that’s invested time in this program. But you do want to hear that you want to continue to get better, and find ways to improve.”
After Auburn, the Razorbacks get Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, before returning home to face No. 1 Alabama in Fayetteville in three weeks.
“You’ve got to go back and look in the mirror,” Morris said. “We’ll go back in and reevaluate things tomorrow.”
■ North Texas quarterback Mason Fine slips away from Arkansas defenders McTelvin Agim, who was a former standout at Hope, and Briston Guidry on Saturday in the first half in Fayetteville, Ark.