Thoughts On Arkansas’ Close Victory Over Vanderbilt

Arkansas seems to either revel in coming from behind to beat their opponents, or they need to invest in smelling sauce to wake up for the opening kickoffs. For the third time in four games, it took the Razorbacks one half to come alive and play like they are capable of playing.

The lone exception in that four game stretch was Auburn in Fayetteville. But even then, the Hogs trailed after one quarter of play. The difference between the Auburn game and the other three (A&M, Miss, & Vandy)? Arkansas was at home, and once they did wake from their slumber, they couldn’t be stopped.

Vanderbilt looked like giant killers this past Saturday. It was heart versus talent. The Commodores heart and the Razorbacks talent. Arkansas finally showed some heart after halftime, and the Dores just didn’t have enough overall talent to hang onto the lead. If this had been against a better team, the Hogs wouldn’t be 7-1 and ranked #7 in the latest BCS poll.

Commodores QB Jordan Rodgers has excellent potential, and Zac Stacy is one of the best running backs in the conference. Not to mention those defensive backs for the Dores are outstanding. My hat is off to Vandy. If they can get to six wins or more, James Franklin should be a no-brainer for SEC Coach of the Year.

Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright, though shadowed and hounded all game long by Vandy’s secondary, still had a very good gameand currently leads the SEC in receiving yards and receiving yards per game (44 rec 709 yards 7 TD). Tyler “Timex” Wilson threw for over 300 yards, and the improvement of tight end Chris Gragg is more and more apparent as each week goes by.

Arkansas MLB Jerry Franklin had the play of the game, when he scooped and scored after a Zac Stacy fumble. Franklin rumbled 94 yards for the score. A two-point conversion later, and the game was tied at 28-28. Franklin was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

Placekicker Zach Hocker, the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, hit both of his extra point attempts, and was 3 for 3 on field goals, to include a 50 yard blast in the third quarter.

Vandy is on the way up the SEC East ladder. If James Franklin is the real deal, VU is going to have to pony up some more cash to keep him in Nashville. I am glad the Hogs do not play the Commodores next season.

If Arkansas wants to remain in contention for a possible BCS bowl berth, they must find a way to play forty minutes of football, instead of just going through the motions for the first half. With #10 South Carolina coming to Fayetteville this weekend, now more than ever is the time for that smelling sauce.

I considered avoiding this subject, but thought better of it. Arkansas WR Marquel Wade, and his vicious hit on Vandy return man Jonathon Krause. The SEC has officially suspended Wade for the upcoming South Carolina game, and Wade had already apologized for the huge hit.

I watched the game from kickoff until the final horn. I cringed when Wade blasted into Krause. First of all I will say this: It was an awesome hit. Second, it was an illegal hit, because Wade got there before the ball did, and he used the crown of his helmet. That is never a good thing. Wade could easily have paralyzed himself, or permanently injured Krause. It was unnecessary and foolish.

In Marquel’s defense, he honestly thought Krause had already caught the ball, and he was just trying to make a big play for his team. He’s just a freshman, and he made a huge freshman mistake. One other thing … if that was Krause’s idea of a fair catch signal, then the Vandy coaches need to re-teach him that little piece of useful technique, because that was the worst fair catch signal in the history of football.

Wade deserved to be tossed from the game, and he deserves this one game suspension. You can bet your bottom dollar Marquel is running a few extra wind-sprints this week too. It will be a good week for Marquel Wade to learn a few things about the game of football and sportsmanship, and hopefully a few things about himself as well.

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  • As a long suffering Vandy fan I appreciate your comments on Coach Franklin. I only pray we can keep him for an extended period. He will most likely go the way of any Vandy coach with some success, but if we can keep him for a few years to get the program moving in the right direction it will be great. I also agree with your comments on the hit. It was unfortunate, but Wade obviously thought he had done something good or he wouldn’t have gotten up crowing. Mistake made, hopefully lesson learned and thank god no lasting damage.

  • I fully agree with your comments on Wade!! Finally someone writes the true story of how it was an mistake on his part!! I was tired of ESPN and others just blasting him for his ‘illegal, down right dirty, purposful’ hit! I do agree that it is right that he is suspended for it though, it will teach him to be more careful next time (and it forces the other team to punt to Joe Adams)!