After giving up nine quarterback sacks in the season opener, New Mexico won the sack battle at Arkansas, 1-0. That was one of the few disappointments for the Razorbacks as they whipped the Lobos, 52-3, in War Memorial Stadium.
"We didn't think that would happen," defensive end Tenarius Wright said. "We thought we'd get a few. But we rattled around their quarterback pretty good and I think we forced him to throw it early. I think he knew we were there all night."
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said he was reminding his two defensive line coaches throughout the game that there had been zero sacks.
"I complained to them all night," he said. "That was a little disappointing."
New Mexico quarterback Tarean Austin avoided sacks, but he never punctured the Arkansas defense. He was the leading Lobo rusher with 31 yards on seven carries.
But he was outrushed by the top two Arkansas quarterbacks, Brandon Mitchell (5 carries, 59 yards) and Tyler Wilson (5 carries, 46 yards). In fact, Wilson got 30 on a bootleg on the game's second play.
Aside from the sacks, the next most disappointing aspect might have been injuries. The Hogs finished the game with four of their six captains on the sideline with injuries. It might be that none of the new injuries are serious, but that was still a lot of talent and experience on the sideline. Consider:
• Running back Dennis Johnson still hasn't played this season after sustaining a hamstring injury in preseason. He didn't suit up Saturday night. Of course, Knile Davis will miss the season with a broken ankle.
• Wilson, who took every snap in the first half, didn't play in the second half after quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee noticed concussion-like symptoms at halftime.
• Defensive end Jake Bequette left in the first half with what Petrino said was a hamstring injury. Bequette had a limp after leaving the game.
• Wide receiver Jarius Wright strained a knee late in the first half and joined Bequette in street clothes.
"We had some guys nicked up," Petrino said. "With Tyler, when we went through the script for the second half, he didn't have the exact focus. It was the symptoms of a concussion. You know how we go about that now."
McGee said, "I think I can read when players are alright or not. He didn't seem alright to me."
Wilson took some shots as he tucked and ran. He did fumble, but center Travis Swanson covered it. Petrino didn't like the fumble, but he didn't question his decisions.
"Tyler is getting better," Petrino said. "We've got to get him to tuck the ball when he runs. But to play quarterback, you have to be a willing runner. You have to be smart and stay healthy, but that competitive spirit allows teammates to see him as a leader."
McGee gave both quarterbacks good marks for their work in the passing game for taking the check downs in the progressions.
"I've seen Tyler Grow up," McGee said. "(New Mexico) was playing so deep with the safeties. They were playing what we call a two robber look. I was glad to see Tyler recognize that and go through the check downs. We had some calls deep and he saw it wasn't there.
"If we can do that, we are going to be a good offense."
The underneath routes were there all night. The Lobos couldn't match the Hogs' speed in the open field after the catch.
"I know these (receivers) and how good they are so I'm not easily impressed," McGee said. "I think they should be able to catch, pivot and beat most defenders. So what they did tonight was more what we expect from them.
"But we still think we are going to be a good play-action passing team. We still think we will be able to go deep. We did hit a couple in our first game. I think we will be able to do that still.
"It's just that when we call it and it's not there, we do have the ability to check it down. I like that with both Tyler and Brandon. They did that tonight."
McGee also promises the Hogs will continue to find more ways to get Joe Adams the ball in open space. The game's opening play was a toss sweep to Adams at running back.
"Our staff spends a lot of time in the meeting room trying to be creative with finding ways to get Joe the ball," McGee said. "We will do more of that."
Adams said coaches told him early in the week that might be the first call.
"It's something that we used last year against Auburn and Misssissippi State," Adams said. "I liked that play."
Adams also caught six passes for 78 yards, but he was disappointed not to get any real chances on punt returns. He did track down one punt on the sideline, but was penned by three Lobos. That one went for minus 1 yard.
"I talked to a few of their players," Adams said. "I begged them to tell their coach to give me one punt. I guess that didn't do any good."
The only Razorback to top the century mark in yards was wideout Cobi Hamilton. He had five catches for 132 yards, including a 54-yard catch and run.
"I'm proud of Cobi," McGee said. "He has brought a lot of energy to practice. I'm glad that's paying off. It usually does."