Banged, bruised and battered most of the season, that offensive line somehow, some way, has gotten it done.
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said because of it, the Razorbacks were able to win their first Southeastern Conference game this season.
That happened with a 28-17 win against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday.
Clearly, the Razorbacks (3-6 overall, 1-5 in the SEC) needed the men in the trenches to step forward, especially since true freshman Casey Dick was making only his second collegiate start.
"When we had to have it, when we really had to have it, I really think Casey Dick grew as a quarterback," Nutt said. "We lose (Razorbacks senior center) Kyle Roper. We moved Jonathan Luigs to center. We have to have Jeremy Harrell at right guard, who came in, really fought. Made some mistakes, made quite a few mistakes, but the thing you love about him, he's playing 100 miles an hour.
"You watch him on film, the guy's running all the way down the field when our receivers are catching the ball and he's down there first.
"Tony Ugoh, (Stephen) Parker, all of them limping around. So, it was a tough, tough day offensively but when we had to have drives, we got it done."
At halftime, Nutt called upon his offense, his offensive line in particular, to respond one more time.
"Really called on the offensive line," Nutt said. "I said, ‘I know, we don't have Kyle Roper. I know you're hurting, I know you're beat up. We gotta reach down. We gotta reach down.'
"‘We gotta of do something.'"
Nutt said Roper won't practice until probably until Thursday.
So, can one assume Luigs will start at center and Harrell at guard against Mississippi State on Saturday?
"Right now, today, we'd say that" Nutt said. "Again, we'll see how he (Roper) does with rest."
High Praise For Hillis
Nutt singled out sophomore fullback/tailback Peyton Hillis, who made his debut on the kickoff team, replacing Jamar Love on that particular special teams group.
"Peyton Hillis probably had his best game as a Razorback," Nutt said. "He's on the kickoff team. He's flying down the field, guys. Flying down the field.
"Peyton Hillis. Two tackles on the kickoffs. He's a punt returner, he caught key balls, he ran the ball with toughness.
"Really, proud of him."
Lost in all the excitement over Saturday's victory, was the yeoman work of Razorbacks punter Jacob Skinner.
Skinner kicked six times for 272 yards and a 45.3 average. His long was 58 yards and twice he punted inside the Ole Miss 20.
"Jacob Skinner is another guy, we haven't mentioned that just was ... " Nutt said. "I think we outgained them in the punt category about 102 yards. Hundred and two yards just on punting. So, that's a big, big factor in a ballgame. We always talk about special teams, so if you look closely.
"That was huge."
Did You Know?
Arkansas has only won twice in Oxford against Ole Miss, both times with freshmen quarterbacks.
Think about it.
"Wow, that is a good thought," Nutt said. "First time was Matt Jones and man, that's good."
Of course, the first time came in 2001 when Matt Jones came off the bench -- Zak Clark started that game -- to lead the Hogs to a 58-56 win in seven overtimes.
Nutt said the Razorbacks fans played a major role in the outcome of Saturday's game, though there's no statistics to back him up.
"I really want to thank again our fans," Nutt said. "I think we have the best road fans ... we can compete with anybody in the SEC. When you go away from home, boy you see the, you know, the thousands of fans just into the game.
"We felt like it was a home game there toward the fourth quarter. So, I'm appreciative of them.
"They did a great job."
With its most recent loss against Arkansas last Saturday, Ole Miss found itself officially bowl ineligible.
The Rebels (3-6, 1-5) have games remaining against LSU at home this Saturday and play at Mississippi State on Nov. 26.
And apparently, they were already looking ahead to the future.
Maybe, the immediate future.
Here's a tidbit gleaned from olemisssports.com:
Currently enrolled Ole Miss students will get an opportunity to become walk-on members of the Rebel football team here Wednesday, Nov. 16, it was announced Friday by head coach Ed Orgeron.
"We would like to develop one of the best walk-on programs in the nation," Orgeron said. "We need young men that love our university and football. We granted six scholarships to walk-on players this past season and we would love for that type of honor to continue."
Walk-on prospects must call the Football Office at 662-915-7548 or 662-915-5663 by Monday, Nov. 14, and must be cleared by the Ole Miss Medical Staff before trying out.
The tryouts for the Ole Miss students will take place at the Indoor Practice Facility, located at 1810 Manning Way, and will begin Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
Arkansas plays its final in-state game in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock this weekend.
The Razorbacks face Mississippi State at 1 p.m. Saturday in a game not televised.
"They're pretty good," Nutt said. "We just got started on them, so I don't know much. It looks like their defense is very tough and athletic. Willie Evans makes a lot of plays. I know their defense gave Alabama some fits."
Arkansas finishes its season at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 25 against LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
That game will be aired nationally on CBS.
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