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Key Takeaways From Hogs’ Season Opening Victory Over Rice

Arkansas overcame a slow start and the ejection of both veteran linebackers to win AND cover the spread on Saturday in Fayetteville.

It would’ve been very easy for the Hogs to just throw up their hands in the second half against Rice and say it wasn’t their day.

Good thing the players and coaches didn’t have that attitude.

Trailing 10-7 at halftime, Arkansas exploded for 31 points after intermission and only allowed 7, eventually winning by 21.

Here’s what I thought stood out on Saturday:

KJ’s wheels 

Jefferson ran for 51 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries, and he had a 68-yard TD called back because of a penalty.

His first touchdown got the offense rolling and gave the team some confidence after a really brutal first couple of series.

Trelon Smith

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The dude picked up where he left off from last year, posting a 100-yard day and making Owl defenders miss and running north-south with purpose.

Keeping him healthy will be an integral part of the offense this fall.

Defensive prowess

The Hog defense, especially in the first half, was repeatedly put in bad situations and limited Rice to 10 points and only a touchdown in the second half.

Jalen Catalon picked off two passes and Montaric Brown had one of his own.

Targeting

Grant Morgan was ejected in the first half for a targeting penalty, and then Bumper Pool duplicated the feat in the second half.

Because of that, Pool won’t get to play in the first half against Texas next week.

It’s a shame, because these types of hits are going to happen in games in all leagues every week this year.