FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg suffered a leg injury in the first half and did not return to the game.
Gragg, who entered the game leading the team in receiving, left the field after being hit low trying to pull in a pass from Tyler Wilson. He went to the locker room for a few minutes and remerged late in the first half wearing a black sleeve on his injured leg. Gragg watched the second half from the sideline. Arkansas coach John L. Smith said after the game Gragg suffered a lower leg injury, but did not know the extent of the injury.
Cornerback Tevin Mitchel remains sidelined for Arkansas after being hospitalized following a hit in the Louisiana-Monroe game, and sophomore fullback Kody Walker is likely lost for the rest of the season with a broken leg. Kiero Small is out for an estimated eight weeks with a broken foot.
Arkansas’ fans will probably be vocal about new white helmets after Saturday’s loss to Rutgers. The Razorbacks donned the helmets for the first time this season, but otherwise dressed traditionally with red jerseys and white pants. It marked the first time the Razorbacks had taken the field in anything other than red helmets with the white Razorback on each side since 1951. Famed broadcaster Pat Summerall was one of the team captains that season, and the coach was Otis Douglas, in his second of three seasons. The Razorbacks finished the year 5-5 and were sixth in the Southwest Conference. Arkansas is now 29-32-3 when wearing white helmets.
Arkansas unveiled several combinations of their new Nike uniforms before the season, including the white helmets and anthracite (dark charcoal) jerseys, but so far the jerseys have stayed in the locker room.
Arkansas had a different-looking defensive front — especially on pass situations — against Rutgers on Saturday night.
A combination of four defensive ends lined up against the Scarlet Knights — two inside at the tackle postion and two at traditional end spots. Five different players participated in the new look: Tenarius Wright, Colton Miles-Nash, Austin Flynn, Chris Smith and Trey Flowers.
TD Drought Ends
Arkansas ended a scoring drought Saturday on a 57-yard pass from Tyler Wilson to Cobi Hamilton with 20 seconds left in the first period. The touchdown drought lasted 99 minutes and 22 seconds. Before the pass to Hamilton, the last TD by the Razorbacks came with 9:42 left in the third quarter against Louisiana-Monroe on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Allen to Mekale McKay.
First For Flood
Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood had never faced a team from the Southeastern Conference — at least not as a head coach — before Saturday’s game in Fayetteville. Flood, in his first season, is now 4-0 and 1-0 in the Big East after defeating South Florida 23-13 on Sept. 13. The Scarlet Knights also defeated Tulane on the road and Howard at home in their first two outings. Flood was an assistant to Greg Schiano before Schiano left to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers of the NFL. Flood’s other stops as an assistant were at St. Francis Prep, C.W. Post, Hofstra and Delaware. He joined the Rutgers staff in 2005 and had been assistant head coach since 2008.
The Arkansas-Rutgers matchup marked only the second time in the history of the Razorback program that Arkansas faced a current Big East football opponent. In 1939, Arkansas lost to Villanova, 7-0, on its way to a 4-5-1 season and fifth-place finish in the Southwest Conference. Rutgers is 5-11-2 overall against SEC opponents. Its last SEC opponent was Vanderbilt in 2004 — a game the Scarlet Knights won at Nashville, 37-34. In 1985, Rutgers and then-No. 3 Florida tied, 28-28; The Knights lost to top-ranked Alabama in 1980, 17-13; and in 1979, it was Rutgers 13, then-No. 17 Tennessee, 7.
Dennis Johnson continues to be the best yards-per-carry running back for Arkansas. He had six carries for 47 yards — an average of 7.8 yards per trip. He went into the Rutgers game averaging 6.3 yards per carry and was the active SEC leader in career all-purpose yards with 4,363 — fourth in school history. His mark was third among active players in the NCAA.
Running the football has been important to Rutgers, both under Greg Schiano and now under Kyle Flood, but it was the passing game that made the difference Saturday. Since 2000, according to notes provided by the Sports Information Department at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights went into Saturday’s game with a 19-4 record in games in which the team rushed for at least 150 net yards. The net against Arkansas was only 128. The Knights were well over the 150-yard mark against Howard and Tulane, but three yards short against South Florida.
The list of bowl representatives and NFL scouts was predictably much smaller Saturday than for the Alabama-Arkansas game a week earlier. NFL representatives of the North Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets were in the press box. The only bowl representatives at Arkansas-Rutgers were from the Capital One Bowl.
Close To Second
Zach Hocker moved to within one PAT of being second all-time at Arkansas. He has 124, to 125 for Bill McClard, who played from 1969-71. Alex Tejada continues to hold the school record with 136. Hocker also moved up one spot to eighth in all-time points scored at Arkansas with 244, moving ahead of James Rouse (1985-89), who scored 238 points. Bill Burnett holds the school record for points with 294. The leading kicker for points scored is Steve Little (1974-77) with 280. Little is second on the list of career points as a Razorback.
Razorback fans who remember the national championship of 1964 will remember the name Jackie Brasuell, the honorary captain for Saturday’s Rutgers game. Brasuell died on Sept. 5, and his son, Toney, represented him on the field. Brasuell played from 1963-65 and was an All-Southwest Conference halfback in 1965. Jackie was a nickname; his full name was Luther Clyde Brasuell Jr. Brasuell was a walk-on from Van Buren who won a scholarship at Arkansas.
— Dennis Byrd • Arkansas News Bureau