Some teams average 6.6 yards per carry because they’ll mix in a 34 yard burst amidst a handful of carries for 2, 0, 1, and minus-3. Arkansas averaged 6.6 yards per carry on Saturday afternoon because they seemingly pummeled Texas Tech for precisely 6.6 yards on each and every one of their 68 rushing attempts. After a 28-21 halftime score, Arkansas cruised to a 49-28 final score.
The Hogs piled up an astonishing 437 yards on those 68 carries with seven touchdowns to top their black and red sundae. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams led the way, combining for 49 carries for 357 yards and six trips to pay dirt. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but it felt like at least 260 of those 357 yards were after contact. It wasn’t a question of if the first Red Raider defender could bring down an Arkansas runners, it was whether the third or fourth man on the scene could get the job done.
The second half numbers were especially impressive or depressing, depending on which shade of red you wear: 40 carries for 285 yards (7.1 per attempt) for three touchdowns. Hogs quarterback Brandon Allen needed just two passes in the entire second half. Every one of Arkansas’ three second half possessions traveled at least 75 yards, and they all ended in rushing touchdowns.
Arkansas’ pulverizing rushing attack also proved to be their best defense, as managed only 21 plays in the second half. The Red Raiders marched 79 yards for a score on their first – and only – third quarter drive, but did not score in the fourth quarter. After standing and watching for nearly the entire third quarter, Texas Tech’s tempo attack fell out of sync in the final frame, mustering drives that ended in a punt and an interception to end their portion of the contest.
Davis Webb connected on 27-of-45 throws for only 252 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions – and could have thrown a handful more. The key moment in the game came late in the second quarter, after Texas Tech had recovered an Arkansas fumble with ample time to take a three or seven-point lead into the locker room. Webb opened the possession with consecutive incompletions, and then tossed an interception to Martrell Spaight, which he returned 30 yards to the Red Raider 12.
One play later it was Arkansas leading 28-21. From that pass on, Arkansas outscored the Red Raiders 28-7.
For Texas Tech, it’s hard to find a rock bottom moment of a disappointing afternoon. Was it Collins’ 84-yard touchdown romp to close the scoring with 10:56 to play, or was it Arkansas converting a 4th-and-3 on the game’s final rush to deny any opportunity the Texas Tech defense had at getting off the field?
The proper answer: it was both.