Everyone but the most deluded Arkansas Razorbacks fans knew that the Hogs were going to have a terrible season.
That knowledge didn't make the Hogs' 21-20 loss to Kentucky on Saturday any easier. Why? The Razorbacks had that game won -- the team had a 13 point lead with 5 minutes left in the game and blew it.
That's right -- the team absolutely folded and Kentucky won. How the hell do you blow a 13-point lead in the last few minutes of a game?
Folks, it's almost too much for The Hawg to take. Arkansas has been rotten this year, but that Kentucky game hurt more than than the drubbings the Hogs have taken at the hands of Alabama, Florida and Texas combined. To make things worse, Arkansas looked decent against Auburn last week, so a lot of us were hoping the young Razorbacks were finally coming around and learning how to play a little football.
Simply put, the Razorbacks (3-4, 1-3 in the SEC) failed and gave the Kentucky Wildcats (5-2, 1-2 in the SEC) their first conference victory. It would appear, then, that the Wildcats were very wise in scheduling Arkansas for the homecoming game.
The most revealing thing about the game is just how much former head coach Houston Nutt emphasized the running game. Folks, running back Michael Smith is the Razorbacks' offense. How solid was Smith? He rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown and received for 33 yards and a touchdown. That's 225 total yards and 2 touchdowns -- not bad when you consider the rest of the offense contributed 105 yards and two field goals.
Now, here's the kicker. Smith is now listed as day-to-day due to a concussion he sustained while being run to death in the Kentucky game. There's a chance he might not be able to play on Saturday. Without Smith, the Hogs are done.
Anyway, back to the Kentucky game. Struggling quarterback Casey Dick threw for 94 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Thanks to the dreadful offensive line, Dick was sacked three times and was hurried into at least one of those interceptions.
It was a hard game to watch. The offensive line seems adept at opening up holes for Smith, but can't protect Dick (yeah, I chuckled when writing that -- it's true in both a figurative and literal sense). Nutt went and recruited players for a running offense and it shows.
Did anything good come out of Saturday's game. Actually, yes. Petrino may have finally found a field goal kicker in Shay Haddock, who managed to boot a couple of balls through the uprights on Saturday. Perhaps Petrino has solved that problem.
Also, the team is improving. We've got a bunch of kids on that team who were playing high school ball this time last year, and that bunch almost beat Kentucky on Saturday and did manage to beat Auburn the previous week.
Here's hoping the team is very improved, indeed, when Houston Nutt and Ole Miss come to Fayetteville next week. Of course, we all hate Houston Nutt and, fortunately, Ole Miss plays like a Nutt-coached team. Ole Miss, having lost to Alabama on Saturday, is also 1-3 in the SEC. I hope Arkansas stomps Nutt into the ground.
I also hope Arkansas fans boo Nutt throughout the entire game and throw garbage at him. It's better than he deserves.
Next year the Hogs will be better. Still, watching this team struggle through the current season is difficult, indeed. I'm certain this season has increased liquor sales at package stores around the state.
My beloved Benton Panthers aren't holding up too well, either. Read all about it right here.