What did Bret Bielema say after his first career win over Mississippi State?
It may have taken four attempts, but Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema finally has a win over Mississippi State. The Razorbacks improved to 7-5 overall on the season, 3-4 in the SEC, with a 58-36 win in Starkville Saturday in a game in which defense appeared to be optional, at best.
The star of the night was sophomore running back Rawleigh Williams, who accounted for five touchdowns overall – four rushing and one passing – to go along with his 204 rushing yards. Junior quarterback Austin Allen completed 18 of 25 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. The offense never punted, and the team only had one penalty for 10 yards.
Bielema was pleased to see the offense get back on track after only scoring 10 points last weekend against LSU.
“I thought Austin (Allen) really came around this week,” Bielema said in his postgame press conference. “He had unbelievable numbers, I think he locked in and threw some strikes that were big time plays.”
“As a quarterback, I thought he took too much of the blame, you know what I mean? It’s alright to take some blame but don’t go buy a 30-year mortgage, don’t take everything on your back. He did some things (wrong) but other people have to help you out and I thought Tuesday’s practice he was exceptional, Wednesday he was really, really good and today it was fun to watch him.”
While the offense did whatever it wanted in Starkville, the defense continued to struggle. Defensive coordinator Robb Smith’s unit allowed MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to go wild, as the sophomore threw for 328 yards and rushed for another 131. In total, Fitzgerald scored six touchdowns in the game. For the game, Arkansas’ defense allowed the MSU offense to pile up 533 yards.
As you would expect, Bielema seems to be growing weary of answering questions about his questionable defense, even suggesting “changes” will be made:
“Obviously, I’d like us to play better defensively in certain areas,” Bielema said, “especially down there in the tight, red zone area but again the way football has evolved and the ways the rules are set up, it’s an offense (more) game. We will make some changes in the out of season, just to make sure we are more solid and try and put some pressure on the quarterback and make (tough) decisions.”