LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas 49, Texas Tech 28 is no reason for Razorback fans to get all giddy.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas 49, Texas Tech 28 is no reason for Razorback fans to get all giddy.


A positive? Yes. Encouraging? Absolutely. Progress? On many fronts.


Optimism about the postseason? Proceed with caution …


To have any hope of winning the six games necessary to qualify for a bowl game, Arkansas had to win in Lubbock. Mission accomplished, but all seven of the SEC teams remaining on Arkansas’ schedule are better than the Red Raiders.


Tempering enthusiasm for Arkansas’ win is a balance sheet with the pluses and offsetting minuses about the Raiders:


• Tech was unbeaten; the Raiders struggled against the University of Central Arkansas and a team from the Mountain West Conference.


• Tech is a member of the Big 12 and Arkansas has not beaten a team from one of the five power conferences since Oct. 13, 2012; at best, the Raiders will finish in the middle of a league that is top-heavy with Oklahoma and Baylor.


• The game was in Lubbock, the first time Arkansas has won on the road since Oct. 6, 2012; the Razorbacks’ other out-of-state games are against SEC teams.


• Tech was one of 10 bowl teams on Arkansas’ schedule; the Raiders were 4-5 in the Big 12, beating teams that were a combined 7-29 in conference play, and seven of their eight victories were against teams with losing records.


Before dismissing the preceding as the ramblings of an elderly curmudgeon who is labeled a pessimist by some, know that checkmarks were awarded to a pass defense that gave up only one big play, an offensive line that was too much for the Raiders, and Brandon Allen and his teammates who bounced back nicely from some early miscues with the potential to deflate.


Relegated to the den because of a minor health issue, I quit keeping play-by-play early in the second quarter, convinced the first team to get two scores ahead would win. In that respect, linebacker Brooks Ellis hustling to contain and then reaching back inside and stripping the ball to set up the touchdown that tied the score at 7 was important.


Equally significant was linebacker Martrell Spaight dropping like he is taught to do and picking off a throw down the middle late in the first half. One play later, Jonathan Williams scored and put Arkansas back on track for a two-score lead since the Razorbacks were to receive the second-half kickoff.


Until Spaight’s play, I thought Arkansas had frittered away that advantage by botching a second trick play — Allen’s too-flat throw for a free-running Keon Hatcher ruined Trick No. 1.


Thanks goodness, Arkansas abandoned the cutesy stuff. Much of the second half, Allen retreated and handed the ball to a running back patient enough to peruse the defense and then hightail it for an opening. Once there, the first defender usually missed. Watching the whiffs, it is easy to understand why UTEP ran for 277 yards on the Raiders.


Old school, give me that methodical, 14-play that consumed the first 7:03 of the third quarter over Tech’s pass-pass-pass.


If possible, the offensive line was more dominant than expected — Brey Cook contacted three defenders on one run — and the Razorbacks ran the ball 68 times for 438 yards.


After the lead was down to 35-28 and Arkansas faced first-and-15, two running plays netted a first down. In the first half, the Razorbacks used the same tactics to convert first-and-20. That is dominance personified.


Defensively, I lost track of all those who contributed. I know breaking on the ball began with Tevin Mitchel, who missed the first two games, knocking down consecutive passes on short crossing patterns and included most everybody behind the front four.


Leading up to the Tech game, I was amazed at how many times the trip to Lubbock was deemed to be the defining moment for the 2014 Razorbacks. Not so. That might come in two weeks.


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