Arkansas Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 7 Game vs. Kentucky
The Arkansas Razorbacks continued to have success this week with a 49-7 clobbering of Kentucky.
After weeks of lackluster performances from the Hogs offensive and defensive lines, the units seemed to hit their stride and build on their performances from last week’s game against Auburn.
Kentucky’s struggles this season continued with little offense, defense or anything else to be happy about during another hard week for the Wildcats.
Here are the winners and losers from the Razorbacks’ victory over Kentucky.
Winner: Tyler Wilson
Tyler Wilson had the best game of his season. He passed for 372 yards and five touchdowns.
His offensive line gave him protection and time to throw the football. He was not sacked all game.
Wilson utilized 10 different receivers in Saturday’s game. Cobi Hamilton was still his clear favorite with eight receptions, but that is the most passing options that Wilson has had all season.
Wilson had passing options and time to utilize those options. What else could a quarterback want?
Loser: Knile Davis
Knile Davis was replaced by Dennis Johnson during the game at Auburn. Davis only carried the ball three times during that game.
Saturday’s game against Kentucky featured more of a head-to-head comparison between Davis and Johnson.
Johnson averaged 6.8 yards over 12 carries with two touchdowns. Davis averaged 5.2 yards over 13 carries with no touchdowns.
This is the first game this season where Johnson and Davis had a comparable amount of opportunities to show their coaches, their team and the fans what they could accomplish when given the ball.
Dennis Johnson came out on top.
Winners: Arkansas Receivers
Cobi Hamilton had the most receptions, but the Hogs’ 372 passing yards and five passing touchdowns was a group effort.
Dennis Johnson had a five-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Javontee Herndon scored his third touchdown of the season. Julian Horton scored for the first time since Week 2.
But it was freshman Jonathan Williams who really shined with two 70-plus-yard touchdown receptions in the first quarter. His 74-yard touchdown on the first play of the game set the tone for the Razorbacks for the rest of the evening.
Winner: John L. Smith
The Razorbacks have won their last two games, but that is still not enough to erase the wounds created by John L. Smith and his team failing to meet preseason expectations.
But having two wins in a row where the Hogs actually perform at a high level and demolish inferior teams the way they should have demolished Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers is a huge moral victory. It does not fix anything, but it does make being a fan more tolerable.
The fans still want a new coach next season, but a win like this eases the pressure on Smith and athletic director Jeff Long until the final personnel decision is made in December.
John L. Smith’s personal life the last six months has been filled with familial death, bankruptcy and the impossible expectations of a team that was supposed to contend for a national title without the head coach that built the program.
This win over Kentucky gives Smith something to “smile” about, at least for another week.
Loser: Ole Miss
Ole Miss won their first conference contest after a 16-game SEC losing streak, defeating Auburn, 41-20.
They were very close to beating Texas A&M the week before, losing by only three points.
Arkansas’ game against Texas A&M resulted in a blowout for the Aggies. It could be argued that the win at Auburn came down to two lucky fourth-quarter interceptions that sealed the result for the Hogs.
Ole Miss might have been looking forward to facing an Arkansas Razorback team on the skids, but instead will face a team that has two big wins in the last two games with strong performances on both sides of the ball.
Arkansas has something they have not possessed all season heading into their next game: momentum.
And once a team has momentum after enduring the struggles that the Hogs have faced this season, they do not give it up very easily.