Five Final Observations from Arkansas’ loss to North Texas

Sports
Michael Woods Catch North Texas.JPG

Arkansas will enter SEC play on Saturday at Auburn. That begins a tough stretch of games that also includes Texas A&M in AT&T Stadium and then Alabama back in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Here’s five observations from the game.

Freshmen — Arkansas used several true freshmen in Saturday’s game including both quarterbacks. Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones. 

The Hogs started two true freshmen with one on each side of the ball. Noah Gatlin started at left tackle on offense while Bumper Pool got the nod at Will linebacker. It was the second consecutive start for both. Pool finished the game with three tackles, one tackle for loss, a pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. 

Other true freshmen playing according to the participation chart were safety Myles Mason, cornerback LaDarrius Bishop, wide receiver Mike Woods, safety Joseph Foucha, defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols as well as walk-on punters Reid Bauer and Matthew Phillips,

Foucha had one tackle. Bauer punted five times with an average of 36.6, a long of 41 and one inside the 20. Phillips punted once for 34 yards. Woods caught four passes for 61 yards as well as had two tackles following interceptions. Noland was 4 of 7 passing for 25 yards with an interception. Jones was 0 of 3 passing also with an interception. 

Speaking of Punter — Arkansas actually used three punters in the game. In addition to Bauer and Phillips, Blake Johnson also punted three times. He averaged 30.3 yards on the three punts. Johnson is the only one of the three on scholarship and he was the starting punter coming into the season. However, he was replaced by Bauer against Colorado State. Chad Morris has stated many times the punting part of Arkansas’ game has to get better. 

Missing — Among the players Arkansas played without on Saturday were cornerback Chevin Calloway and wide receiver – kick returner De’Vion Warren. Calloway wasn’t with the team due to personal reasons while Warren was injured. Britto Tutt was one of the beneficiaries of playing time. He started at cornerback for the first time in his career. Tutt also returned two kickoffs for 44 yards with a long of 26. 

Battle of Turnovers — Arkansas lost the turnover game 6-1 on Saturday. While the Hogs had no fumbles, the quarterbacks threw six interceptions. That was a sharp contrast from the season opener two week’s ago in the same stadium. Arkansas created five turnovers in the 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois. Both Arkansas and Colorado State each had two turnovers the previous Saturday in Fort Collins. 

Battle of Former Teammates — Both Cole Hedlund and Connor Limpert entered the 2017 season competing for kicking duties at Arkansas. Hedlund won the job and then was replaced by Limpert following two misses in the TCU game. Hedlund, who transferred to North Texas at semester, hasn’t missed since then. He was 3 of 3 on field goals on Saturday and now is perfect on 10 attempts this season. He also hasn’t missed a PAT this season. Meanwhile Limpert was 1 of 2 on field goals with a career-long 54-yarder. He also was successful on his two PATs. Marty Biagi, who worked under Bobby Petrino at Arkansas, is the special team’s coach at North Texas. 

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