Think last week was bad for you? Well unless a death of a friend or family member occurred, Arkansas Head Coach John L. Smith’s week was worse. Two days after having to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for failed real estate investments in Kentucky (made during his time as the Head Coach of the University of Louisville), John L. Smith’s Razorbacks fell at home to the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe in overtime 34-31. This is a very disappointing loss as Arkansas returned many preseason All-SEC players in the goal of finally dethroning LSU and Alabama of their SEC West crown. Not only does this damper the chances of the Razorbacks contending for a BCS Bowl, it also reduces the chances of Smith being retained as Arkansas head coach long term. Therefore the only parties having a worse upcoming week than the Razorback fan base, will be John L. Smith’s creditors.
Razorback’s star quarterback Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the game Saturday night with a concussion but did go 11/20 for 196 yards and two touchdowns beforehand. As of Sunday night it has not been reported the health status of Wilson moving into Arkansas’ SEC schedule. Freshman back-up quarterback Brandon Allen looked shaky in relief of Wilson going 6/20 for 85 yards and one touchdown. Arkansas running back Knile Davis had a lackluster performance only getting 16 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown. But the storyline of the game was the Arkansas defense and their inability to stop the Warhawks during key situations in the 4th quarter and overtime. Arkansas gave up 550 total yards to ULM compared to the Warhawks who held the Hogs to 377 total yards.
This was not the first time the fighting Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe went onto the home turf of a SEC opponent and left town with a victory. Monroe went into Tuscaloosa in Nick Saban’s first year as coach and left with a victory over Alabama. But Saturday Night’s game was much more of the upset as the Alabama team was rebuilding and not ranked, while the Razorbacks were ranked in the Top-10 and had goals of reaching a BCS game. By far the player of the game was Warhawks signal caller Kolton Browning. Browning had a career day in Little Rock throwing for 412 yards on 42/67 passing and three touchdowns, but showed amazing awareness and grit making the game winning plays in the 2nd half and overtime.
With all the confidence this win gives the UL-Monroe football program, the loss takes away any momentum Arkansas might had used in their key home contest against the Crimson Tide this upcoming Saturday. Even with the sudden firing of Bobby Petrino in the offseason, the Razorbacks saw the 2012 game with Alabama as their opportunity to move up the totem pole of the SEC West. Although not dead in the water the Hogs will need an impressive string of victories during SEC play to rescue their season. Let the Razorback’s message boards begin the chatter and forecasting the futures of former Razorback Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn and Arkansas native Charlie Strong.