I was certainly one of those guys who thought Arkansas and South Carolina would be a battle into the fourth quarter, but I was wrong. We knew that KJ Jefferson and the Razorbacks were good. And they proved that again today against the Gamecocks, winning 44-30.
Unfortunately for South Carolina, the Razorbacks also had Raheim Sanders running wild all afternoon. He finished with 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. But as we’ve been projecting during the offseason, the play of QB K.J. Jefferson would be the catalyst for this Arkansas offense. Maybe we were caught up in the hype of Spencer Rattler, but we found out which quarterback currently has the upper-hand in the SEC.
Arkansas had three different running backs score touchdowns today.
Leading 35-24 late in the fourth quarter, it was time for Jefferson to finally put this game away. And that’s exactly what he did, driving the Hogs down the field for the touchdown and 42-24 lead. Standing at 6’5 and weighing over 240, KJ is the type of quarterback that OC Kendal Briles can get the most out of. He’s strong running the football and has a massive arm. But, we’re also witnessing a Razorback team find its way under Sam Pittman and winning games they’re supposed to.
Razorbacks Had Their Struggles
Most thought this would be a heavyweight fight between Spencer Rattler and Jefferson, but the Gamecocks QB looked inconsistent for a good portion of the game. On the other side, the Arkansas quarterback continued to prove folks right, providing a highlight reel for opposing teams to worry about all season.
The Razorbacks look like a team that can play with anyone in the conference, but we’ve seen this before – last season. The difference in 2022 is the maturity of Jefferson and his ability to run the Kendal Briles offense without hesitation. The true challenge will come in two weeks when Texas A&M and Arkansas square off in Arlington, both looking to exit September without a loss.
But the supporting cast on the defensive side still has work to do. They let Spencer Rattler beat them through soft coverage, throwing for over 343 yards, but just one touchdown. On the positive side, they allowed just 54 yards rushing to the Gamecocks. The Hogs will have to play better pass defense, but that’s an easy fix.
South Carolina Failed To Impress
I expected better from this South Carolina offense on Saturday, especially with the weapons they have at skill positions. Maybe we’re giving too much credit to Spencer Rattler and what he can do with this offense, but it’s certainly still early in the season.
Arkansas forced a Gamecock fumble to end the game, which summed up the overall flow of this one.
But now we get the privilege of seeing how this Arkansas team progresses over the next four weeks, with games against Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State. Fortunately for the Sam Pittman led Razorbacks, they’ll get a break against Missouri State next weekend and will then prepare for that matchup against the Aggies.
But for this weekend, Arkansas secured its first SEC win of the season.