LITTLE ROCK — Fretting about an early deadline, timely delivery of the copy was made easy by Arkansas’ dominance of Northern Illinois.

LITTLE ROCK — Fretting about an early deadline, timely delivery of the copy was made easy by Arkansas’ dominance of Northern Illinois.

Surprising to me, NIU was not competitive. I understand that the Huskies took two shots to the solar plexus in the opening minutes, but the team that won 17 straight on the road never appeared capable of going toe to toe with Arkansas.

During the week, I thought NIU would run the ball well enough to be within 10 points or so of the Razorbacks after three quarters. Instead, Arkansas was bigger and much faster and even though NIU’s offensive linemen had combined for 111 starts, the visitors’ offense was only productive on one possession in the first half and Arkansas’ second-team defensive backs were on the field at the time.

After Arkansas overwhelmed Texas Tech last week, the conclusion was that the Red Raiders would be hard pressed to match the 4-5 record they posted in the Big 12 last year. Raising a question about Tech’s talent was an attempt rein in fans’ enthusiasm and the Razorbacks might have been slighted in the process.

At 3-1 after 52-14 over NIU, I still don’t have a good read on Arkansas. That should change next week when Arkansas plays unbeaten Texas A&M in Arlington. Ironically, I’m not convinced the Aggies are world beaters, only that they looked the part in the season opener against South Carolina.

Each week, A&M has coasted. After three quarters, the Aggies led South Carolina by 17 and won by 24; led Lamar by 42 and won by 70; led Rice by 25 and won by 28, and led SMU by 45 and won by 52.

In Arkansas’ three victories, the total margin has been 125.

Who knows how either team will perform if the game is on the line in the fourth quarter?

Korliss Marshall and the combo of Darius Philon and Trey Flowers produced a 14-0 lead and some nice replay highlights, but worth more in the long run was the 10-play drive just before half for 28-7.

Off play-action, Brandon Allen completed a 14-yard pass to Keon Hatcher, then followed with completions to Jared Cornelius and A.J. Derby. Allen stepped into another completion to Cornelius and then hung in against a rush for eight more yards to Hatcher. On the 10-yard touchdown throw to Cornelius, he maneuvered from the left hash mark to the right sideline and then showed touch with a toss just over the defender.

Against Nicholls State and Tech, Arkansas’ lack of passing concerned fans. In the first half alone against NIU, Allen was 11-of-16 for 111 yards, backing up offensive coordinator Jim Chaney who said earlier in the week, "When we need to throw, I feel comfortable we’ll be able to do that."

That same day, head coach Bret Bielema referred to the Razorbacks’ passing game as the "best kept secret in Fayetteville."

Allen’s deep throw to Hatcher for Arkansas’ sixth touchdown couldn’t have been delivered any better and his short touchdown run for 35-7 is one of about a half-dozen nice plays he has made running the ball in the last two games.

Another plus for Arkansas was suffering zero turnovers. Earlier, Alabama lost three fumbles in the first half, allowing Florida to stay in the game for a long time.

Watching until the Crimson Tide finally put away the Gators, I switched over to ESPNU a few minutes before Arkansas’ scheduled kickoff only to find East Carolina-North Carolina 11 minutes from the end of a game with 111 points. As a result, I broke a promise never to watch ESPN3 and acquired the picture just in time to see Marshall break his 97-yard kickoff return.

On the laptop’s 3x5 screen, he was miniscule; next week, Marshall and the other players will be oversized on the video screen that stretches from one 20 to the other.

Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. Email: