It is difficult to comprehend just how impressive Arkansas has been over the past two weeks.
We knew this team was getting better. We knew their 17-game SEC losing streak would end at some point in the very near future. But no one — not even the most optimistic Razorback fan — could have envisioned a break through of this magnitude.
In the past two weeks, Arkansas has defeated LSU and Ole Miss by a combined score of 47–0.
“I mean, we won two games, but everybody forgets, one was ranked 17 and the other was ranked 8,” second-year coach Bret Bielema said. “These are good teams we're beating. We're not just beating people.”
There’s been nothing flashy about the two wins; in fact, the Hogs’ offense has been quite ordinary of late, averaging 4.1 yards per play against LSU and 4.7 against Ole Miss. It’s been the defense that has spearheaded the recent success. The same unit that gave up 595 yards to Auburn, 523 to Texas A&M and 459 to Mississippi State allowed an average of 219.5 — including 49.5 on the ground — against LSU and Ole Miss.
Turnovers were the difference in Saturday’s win vs. Ole Miss. Arkansas intercepted Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace three times and recovered three fumbles. As a result, the Razorbacks won the all-important battle for field position — their longest scoring drive of the game went for only 52 yards — and they won the game despite being outgained 316 to 311.
Arkansas is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011, the final season of the Bobby Petrino era.
“It feels great,” safety Rohan Gaines said. “I’ve here through tough times. It’s tough not making a bowl game. I think the seniors deserve all of this. We have great senior leadership. I feel like they deserve it all.”