Texas week begins

Arkansas' offense piled up points Saturday night, operating at a furious pace behind quarterback Matt Jones and a depth chart loaded with young playmakers.

The defense flexed its muscle just as quickly, dropping New Mexico State quarterback Buck Pierce on the third play from scrimmage and forcing the Aggies to go three-plays-and-out on their first five possessions.

Everything about Arkansas season-opening 63-13 win in Reynolds Razorback Stadium took place in the blink of an eye. Then again, that's what happens when a team roars out of the locker room, scores eight touchdowns on its first nine possessions and completes a crisp season opener in 2 hours, 53 minutes. But Arkansas coach Houston Nutt wants it to disappear just as quickly.

"Forget about New Mexico State," Nutt said. "We're supposed to beat them. We were fortunate that (the New Mexico State game) turned out the way it did and now you're playing one of the best teams in the country."

Nutt spotted a handful of Arkansas fans wearing "Beat Texas" T-shirts as the Razorbacks piled off the team bus Saturday, but Texas week officially kicked off a day later when the Razorbacks returned to practice after a near-perfect opener. The seventh-ranked Longhorns rolled in their season-opening 65-0 win against North Texas on Saturday night and will come to Fayetteville intent on avenging last season's 38-28 loss to Arkansas in Austin.

That's why Nutt told his team during a postgame meeting to enjoy the New Mexico State win, but don't dwell on it.

"That's the worst thing you can do is think you have all the answers," Nutt said. "We had (New Mexico State) outmanned a little bit. We had a little more speed than those guys. And you're getting ready to see one of the greatest gathering of recruits on one team that you'll ever see. We're going to have to go back to work and get better.

"There's no way to think we've arrived and we're here now. We haven't."

But the Razorbacks did answer a few questions after a preseason filled with uncertainty. Nutt was surprised by the quick start and said "if you told me we're going to be up 42-7 at half, I'd say, 'No way.'"

Arkansas' offensive line performed well in its first game as a unit, holding off New Mexico State's pass rush while paving the way for a 221-yard rushing night. The defensive front seven was dominant, collecting four sacks and forcing three turnovers. The new secondary played confidently, holding the Aggies to 161 passing yards and only two plays of 20 yards or more. And then there was the receiving corps, which hauled in 18 passes for 327 yards and three scores.

The participation chart recorded 75 players that saw action in the New Mexico State game and eight different Hogs scored touchdowns. That list included 29 redshirt freshmen, true freshmen or other players who saw the first action of their careers.

"I've been in a lot of first games where sometimes it can be very, very ragged," Nutt said. "A lot of penalties and a lot of illegal procedures and things like that. You didn't have a lot of that. That was encouraging."

Nutt said there were a handful of glitches that needed to be corrected.

The defense lined up offside twice, was out of position on a couple plays and missed some tackles that would be costly against a better opponent. Nutt said the offensive line didn't blow assignments, but can do a better job sustaining blocks. Poor decisions, like the illegal block that wiped out Dallas Washington's touchdown on a fumble recovery late in the game, also must be eliminated.

Senior receiver Carlos Ousley said the Razorbacks understand they can't dwell on the big win, remembering what happened to Texas two weeks after it beat New Mexico State 66-7 last season. The Hogs walked into Austin, dominated Texas in the trenches and left town with a shocking 38-28 win.

"So we can't really let (the New Mexico State) game determine how our season is going to go," Ousley said.

Arkansas will have to ignore a week that'll be loaded with publicity surrounding Texas' first game in Fayetteville since 1989. So Nutt said Arkansas must improve for a better opponent, while handling the potential pitfalls that go with a nationally televised game.

"There will be a lot of attention," Nutt said. "Any time you're nationally televised and there's so much tradition -- (Arkansas athletics director Frank) Broyles, (Former Texas) coach Darrell Royal -- all those things are going to be talked about all week long. We're going to explain to them to get ready. What we want you to do as a football team is to put blinders on.

"You can't get distracted if you want to stay on the field with these guys."

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said that shouldn't be a problem.

After all, it's Texas week.

"Come on man, this is Texas," Wommack said. "That's a no-brainer."

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