Arkansas' 5 defining moments of 2014 season
Arkansas capped a seven-win season Monday night with a 31-7 drubbing of Texas. The Razorbacks ended the season by winning four of its final six games, including the Texas Bowl.
The journey was a roller coaster and here are some of the highs and lows:
5. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams gash Texas Tech in 21-point stomping: The Razorbacks earned their second win of the season on the road in Lubbock on the legs of two NFL-caliber running backs. Collins, a sophomore, rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, while Williams added 145 yards and four scores on 22 carries. The Red Raiders had no answer for the Hogs on the ground as 438 of their 499 yards of offense came on the ground.
Memorable quote: “I think we can throw the football, we just didn’t have to do it.” — Bret Bielema regarding Arkansas’ ability to run the football.
4. Arkansas stomps old Southwest Conference rival in bowl: It wasn’t one of the sexiest bowl matchups, but perhaps one of the most anticipated, Arkansas and Texas met in the Texas Bowl renewing a 100-plus-year-old Southwest Conference rivalry. The Razorbacks dominated from the opening whistle, taking a 24-7 lead into intermission. The defense, under the tutelage of first-year coordinator Robb Smith, stuffed the Longhorns. Texas gained just 59 yards of total offense, just two of which came on the ground. the win was Arkansas’ seventh of the season.
Memorable quote: “If they continue to have the growth they did this year, they’re going to be able to do some special things.” — Bielema after the 24-point win over Texas.
3. Near-upset of then-No. 1 Mississippi State is turning point: Following a win over UAB, preceded by three straight conference losses, Bielema’s Arkansas team went on the road and engaged in a dog fight with the top-ranked team in the country. A 69-yard touchdown from Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott to Fred Ross put the Bulldogs up 17-10 late in the fourth quarter. The Hogs methodically put together a last-minute drive, but the Mississippi State defense came up with goal line stops on third and fourth down to preserve the game.
Memorable quote: “At this point, it’s almost numbing to be so close and not be able to come out on top with one of these opportunities.” — Bielema on losing 17 straight conference games dating back to 2012
2. Defense forces six turnovers in 30-0 rout of Ole Miss: Rohan Gaines’ 100-yard pick-six was the exclamation point on a devastating defensive effort. The Hogs became the first unranked team in FBS history to shut out two consecutive ranked opponents. Arkansas got a balanced effort offensively, in a rain-soaked win to earn bowl eligibility.
Memorable quote: “I’ve been through the tough times, and it’s tough not making a bowl game. I think the seniors deserve all of this. We have great senior leadership; I feel like they deserve it all. They deserve the world, and we’re trying our best to give it to them.” — Gaines on getting a sixth win
1. Win over LSU breaks 17-game SEC skid: Bret Bielema was doused with Gatorade and the goalposts were lowered to prevent being torn down as fans rushed the field following a 17-0 win over then-No. 17 LSU. The Razorbacks won the Battle of the Boot behind a suffocating defensive effort, allowing just 123 total yards of offense. Quarterback Brandon Allen delivered a solid performance, while Arkansas won the game on third downs going 10-for-17.
Memorable quote: “It’s the best feeling I’ve experienced since I’ve been in college, honestly. The fans rushing the field, the goal posts going down, laughing and hugging my teammates and coaches, it’s just a great experience.” — Jonathan Williams following Arkansas’ first SEC win of the season