Arkansas wrapped up a 49-24 win against Jacksonville State in the season opener.
It wasn't exactly a pretty performance, considering there were three turnovers by the offense and some issues defensively. But it was a win for the Razorbacks in their first game under John L. Smith. So no one was really complaining in the postgame interview room tonight.
A few notes and thoughts to wrap up the game:
• Injury report - WR Cobi Hamilton was the only injury of significance, leaving the game in the first quarter with what looked like either a neck issue or a concussion. Smith said after the game Hamilton had a neck injury and didn't think it was a concussion. Either way, Arkansas was without its No. 1 receiver and didn't seem to miss him. That's because tight end Chris Gragg and receivers Brandon Mitchell and Javontee Herndon had big nights, combining to catch 15 passes for 328 yards and 3 TDs. Smith said Hamilton should be fine.
• Heavy Heart - Arkansas OC Paul Petrino's group rolled up 564 yards tonight, including 400 through the air. Petrino said he didn't like the three lost fumbles, but was happy with the overall production in his first game as play caller at Arkansas. He also shared something on his mind with a few of us. Petrino said his sister's husband, Ken Dow, passed away Friday morning. So Petrino was coaching with a heavy heart Saturday. "I'm thinking about my sister Jolene," Petrino said before he left the interview room. "Her husband was a great man."
• Knile Tackles? - Anyone have Knile Davis as the first Razorback to record a tackle in the 2012 season? Anyone? Davis got it in the first quarter, when he chased down JSU linebacker Rashad Smith after Wilson's fumble on the first possession. Davis actually save a touchdown on the play and JSU couldn't capitalize with any points on their drive. Petrino said it wasn't what Arkansas drew up when they were waiting to see the running back play for the first time since the 2010 Sugar Bowl. "That wasn't planned," Petrino said.
• Low Blow — Did you hear the gasp coming from Razorback Stadium on Saturday night? It was the crowd reacting to Tyler Wilson hitting the turf after a sack in the third quarter. It wasn't just the sack. It was the way it happened. Jacksonville State's Dimetrio Tyson got around the right side of the line and got a shot on Wilson's right knee. He got up gingerly, but shook it off and threw a 34-yard pass to Brandon Mitchell on the next play. "That didn't feel real good," Wilson said. "But you've got to bounce back up."
• Freshmen Debut - Eight true freshmen played Saturday. The group included: receivers Mekale McKay and Keon Hatcher, running backs Jonathan Williams and Nate Holmes, linebackers Otha Peters and A.J. Turner, cornerback Will Hines and defensive end Deatrich Wise. McKay was the only member of the group to start the game and finished with one catch for eight yards. But there were other contributions. Wise had one of Arkansas' 3 sacks. Holmes returned four punts (and nearly had a TD).
• Halftime Adjustments - Arkansas surrendered three touchdowns in the first half Saturday. But the Razorbacks buckled down after the break and did a much better job of slowing Jacksonville State. So what changed? DC Paul Haynes explained: "We sat there and talked about 'We need to pressure a little more.' They threw the ball a little bit more than we expected going into the game. So we just kind of changed up and challenged our guys that we were going to play a little more man, send a couple of guys and get after it a little bit."
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau