Arkansas Where Expected Heading into Bye Week

Pig Trail Nation

FAYETTEVILLE — In the summer, I predicted Arkansas would be 5-3 entering the bye week.

While not exactly how I predicted it would happen the Hogs are 5-3 with a bye week and then four SEC games remaining. I missed two games. I had Arkansas beating Rice, Texas, Georgia Southern, Auburn and UAPB. I had them losing to Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia. They beat A&M, but lost to Auburn.

The four remaining games are Mississippi State, at LSU, at Alabama and then finish up with Missouri. I had the Hogs defeating Mississippi State and Missouri of that group. What I basically predicted was Arkansas would be undefeated in games played within the state, Fayetteville and Little Rock, and lose all the games outside the friendly home fields.

On Saturday, the Razorbacks defeated UAPB 45-3 scoring all their points in the first half. After breaking a three-game losing streak Sam Pittman talked about how Saturday’s win can benefit them in the final four games.

“Well, honestly we needed to feel good again,” Pittman said. “We went through a rough stretch. Again, that’s not an excuse. We went through a rough stretch. That’s the truth. Coming back here today, to be up 45-0 at half was a big, big deal for us. It really was. It was for our coaching staff to sit in there at halftime and knowing we did what we said we were going to do. We did what we needed to do. Now, we have to get healthy next week, and we have to have a great game plan for Mississippi State. But we’re excited about trying to make another run. We’re excited about it, and our kids believe we can do that. This game helped us towards that.”

Redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson is having a banner season. He has completed 110 of 178 passes for 1,657 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. He is second on the team in rushing with 81 carries for 419 yards and five touchdowns. He is happy to see the bye week arrive.

“I know all our hard work, we’ve been grinding from fall camp, straight into the season, playing straight SEC games week in and week out,” Jefferson said. “So this bye week is going to get us right mentally and physically, just giving our bodies a rest and time to get back ready to work after the bye week.”

Jefferson’s favorite target is junior Treylon Burks. Burks has caught 42 passes for 717 yards and seven touchdowns while also rushing six times for 71 yards and a touchdown. Like Jefferson he welcomed the break.

“Just to get some time off to see family and rest our bodies is going to feel good,” Burks said. “We need it.”

On Arkansas’ second possession on Saturday, Burks scored on a 49-yard run. That was Burks’ first rushing touchdown at Arkansas. Jefferson described the play. Jefferson talked about the play following the game.

“The main thing, once coach (Kendal) Briles called it, we’ve been repping it all week at practice and I’ve been handing the ball off to him,” Jefferson said. “Sometimes I had to stop handing it to him because he wanted it so much, I tried to let the running back get a feel for it. When Coach Briles called it, he just told me to just read it and if I liked it outside, liked space, just try to get Treylon in space. He’s a freakish player in space, so I just, when we snapped the ball, I gave it to him, turned around and looked and saw him hit the lane and it was over from there.”

Following the game, Pittman talked about how he will handle the bye week.

“We’re going to get healthy,” Pittman said. “(John) Ridgeway is beat up. We still have some guys beat up.  We’re going to get healthy. We think we can get Wags(Dalton Wagner) back by that time. We know we can get (Markell) Utsey back. And we’re going to get healthy Tuesday and Wednesday. We’re going to have walks and the young kids practice because you saw we need it. And then Thursday we’ll go into spiders with a Monday practice for Mississippi State. And then we’re going to give the kids Friday and Saturday off and then they’ll be back Sunday for our practice because we’ll not practice that Tuesday of game week against Mississippi State because of NCAA legislation.”

That Tuesday will be election day and thus why the NCAA doesn’t allow practice that day.

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