Arkansas’ season-opening victory gives them a great start in preparing for the rest of the tough schedule.
The win was sloppy, though, on both sides. Cincinnati left 10 points on the field after committing costly penalties in the red zone. Head coach Sam Pittman takes the win but doesn’t want the Bearcats back on the schedule.
“I mean, when Cincinnati was put on the schedule, I was s saying ‘why?’ to be honest with you,” Pittman said. “The schedule is the hardest schedule in football. You’ve just got to be 1-0, then next week 2-0. The great thing, I told the kids after the game, we have a lot to clean up, but we’re 1-0. I think that’s our fifth Top 25 team we’ve beaten in the last 20 or however many games we’ve been here.”
Pittman is right, though; with a schedule like this, you have to take it week-to-week, so let’s look at a few things we learned from opening week.
The transfer portal has been a success...
Sep 3, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (9) catches a pass for a touchdown in the third quarter as Cincinnati Bearcats safety Jaquan Sheppard (5) looks on at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The Hogs used the transfer portal to its advantage finding players with power 5 experience on both sides of the ball. And those transfers made plays. Jadon Haselwood caught a touchdown pass. Dwight McGlothern caught an interception, and Drew Sanders contributed a sack.
In KJ We Trust
Sep 3, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter as Cincinnati Bearcats safety JaÕvon Hicks (3) defends at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Seems to me like when the game gets a little tighter, little closer, when he’s really got to take over the game, he’s got the knack to do it. Seemed to me like most every time we need him to win the game, he makes some kind of play. I’m glad he’s on our team.
Pittman’s quote sums up how everyone felt about Jefferson’s performance. When the Bearcats were making their second-half push, Jefferson made a play to keep the Razorbacks in position to keep the lead. It’s something that will be interesting to see as the season progresses.
The secondary needs work
Sep 3, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Dwight McGlothern (3) intercepts a pass in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The second half is when the Bearcats made their push, and it was through the air. The Hogs’ secondary gave up two passing touchdowns, one of which was in the middle of the field to Leonard Taylor in the fourth quarter. Jalen Catalou and Myles Slusher suffered injuries that Pittman and the rest of the staff will keep an eye on for the week.