FAYETTEVILLE — Super senior wide receiver Tyson Morris had a big 31-yard catch that helped spark the Arkansas offense on Saturday against Rice.
Morris caught three passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. But the big catch came with 10:21 remaining in the third quarter on the first play from scrimmage after Rice took a 17-7 lead. With Arkansas at its own 43, KJ Jefferson found Morris for 31 yards to the Rice 26. Jefferson scored on a 5-yard run five plays later to pull the Hogs to within 17-14.
“It was a catch that had to be made,” Morris said. “We needed a spark on offense, we needed something to get us going, and when the ball’s up in the air, it’s our job to go make big plays. That’s just what I did.”
Sam Pittman thought the catch by Morris was the spark that got Jefferson going in the second half.
“To me, that was probably it,” Pittman said. “He knew he could throw to our receivers and they’d get him. Let’s face the facts, early in the game, they weren’t helping him. We were dropping some passes. We had a lot of missed blocking assignments out on the edge, from inside-out. Especially on those little quick tosses that we had. We really worked on them. I don’t understand how we made that mistake, but we did. All of those things are correctable. But I think whenever he started running the ball, I believe he’s a guy that when he runs the ball, he’s a better thrower. Well, I thought it was a pretty good catch. I think the guy was on him. He only had one hand to catch the ball with, and he did it. I think it gave us juice.”
Cornerback Montaric Brown was very impressed with the grab by Morris.
“It was an unbelievable play,” Brown said. “T. Mo like you say had a good camp. It just got the offense going. It was a great catch.”
With Morris’ play, Arkansas is working junior Trey Knox some at tight end this week. Knox reportedly only got in for three plays on Saturday.
“I think he can bring a lot of versatility to the tight end room,” Morris said. “He’s still with us as a receiver as well. So he’s just splitting between the two. I’m not going to get into depth with what’s going on with his position at tight end and stuff like that but I feel he’s going to bring a lot of versatility to the tight end.”
Pittman likes what he has seen from Morris during the summer, preseason and now.
“With T-Mo, you’re looking at a shoulder surgery, a guy that wasn’t starting,” Pittman said. “When he decided to super senior and come back, he wasn’t a starter. Had shoulder surgery. And then when he made the decision to come back, I think he made the decision that I’m going to do everything I can. I’m bought in. I’m not saying he wasn’t last year, but he is now. He’s put on weight, he’s put on strength, and he earned that spot. I mean, he had to earn it, because you have two other guys over there that are good players as well and he had to earn it. I was glad to see he made that catch and glad to see he got a touchdown out of it. And he’s been a very willing and good blocker. I’m just really proud of the guy. He’s made himself into a good ball player.”
Arkansas will face Texas on Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. They will return to the practice fields on Wednesday.