The Arkansas Razorbacks will be 4-4 overall including a victory over an SEC opponent* for the first time since 2011 with a victory over Tennessee-Martin on Halloween Saturday.
The last time anyone thought about the Skyhawks was when they opened the season with at 76-3 loss at Ole Miss. They fell behind 27-0 after the first quarter and early in the second quarter the Rebels rubbed a little salt in the wounds with a 31-yard touchdown pass to defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. It was 55-0 before the Skyhawks scored on a 29-yard field goal.
Nkemdiche, who has a brother who also plays for Ole Miss, did not play in the Rebels' impressive 23-3 victory over Texas A&M last Saturday.
Tennessee-Martin, meanwhile, rallied to beat Murray State 52-45 to improve to 5-2 and drop the Racers to 2-5. The Skyhawks have won four in a row over a bunch of smaller schools in Tennessee, along with Murray State. The combined records of the five teams the Skyhawks have beaten is 11-26.
That doesn't mean the Razorbacks can take anyone lightly.
Last Saturday's victory over Auburn was significant and might end up being pointed at as the game when the Razorbacks program turned, but that remains to be seen.
There were many positives coming out of a four-overtime victory over the Tigers, 54-46.
Perhaps the game's most poignant moment came a little more than midway through the third quarter when true freshman Rawleigh Williams went down and stayed down. His face mask was in the hand of one Tiger when another Tiger hit him, literally, head on.
Long minutes passed as a medical team surrounded Williams and got him safely onto a cart. Before he could be wheeled off, several of his teammates pushed forward to put a hand of encouragement on him.
Most of the team had surrounded him while he was on the ground. The good news was he had successful surgery and Sunday morning he tweeted he was blessed and would make a full recovery. And he got a call from Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn checking on him.
The Razorbacks got some big defensive plays, and two of the guys who stood out were newcomers.
True freshman Dre Greenlaw, who a year ago was playing safety for Fayetteville High School, had a team-high 16 tackles as a linebacker. Greenlaw still has the speed of a safety but what has stood out is his instincts as a linebacker. He is still learning the playbook, but his adjustment to SEC football has been almost amazing.
Junior Jeremiah Ledbetter, a defensive lineman who played his first two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, had 6 tackles but 1 was a sack and 2 were for losses.
Arkansas also had six pass breakups (and Auburn had another seven passes dropped), and none were bigger than Josh Liddell's that ended the game in the fourth overtime.
It might have been quarterback Brandon Allen's best game, especially his play in the four overtimes.
Another newcomer, Camden's Dominique Reed, the transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, is establishing himself as a threat. He had 4 catches for 47 yards and also rushed 3 times for 25 yards.
Hunter Henry and Drew Morgan did what they do best, move the chains, although Morgan did have two touchdown catches, including the game-winner when he juked and sped the final 20 yards to the end zone.
Alex Collins had one carry in the overtimes, but he finished with 105 yards rushing and 39 receiving.
Tennessee-Martin is not an open weekend, but the Razorbacks look to go 4-4 on the season for the first time since Bobby Petrino's last season.
Sports on 10/27/2015
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this column that appeared in Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contained an error. Below is what Wally Hall wrote in Wednesday's column:
It was written in Tuesday's column that the Razorbacks were looking at 4-4 for the first time since 2011, but it was supposed to also say with a victory over an SEC opponent.
It did not though, and the fumble was all mine.
The Razorbacks have equaled last year's SEC victory total with two and have four conference games remaining, two at home and two on the road.
Print Headline: Getting to 4-4 would be uncharted territory for Bielema's Razorbacks