Arkansas Defense Delivers Orange Crush

Tennessee was hoping a strong passing game could make mincemeat out of the Arkansas defense Saturday. Instead, the Razorbacks defenders were enjoying a big gulp of Orange crush all night long.

With the Volunteers inserting redshirt freshman quarterback Jonathan Crompton into the starting lineup for the first time in his young career, Arkansas' defense was ready to go on the attack. "We just knew they had a new quarterback that hadn't started since high school," defensive end Jamaal Anderson said. "And we knew if we could just stay in his head, we could rattle him. "We were able to do that and our corners did a good job of (containing) their receivers to give us time to get back there to him." Crompton, no doubt, felt the wrath of the Razorbacks' defense all game long, completing just 16 of 34 pass attempts for a very misleading 174 yards, since much of that total came late in the contest. "I thought (the defense) played hard," Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said. "They came to play and they played championship football. "They proved that we've got a good football team and we're somebody to be reckoned with." With just one touchdown allowed through the first three quarters — and another TD given up in the final minutes with the game already decided — Arkansas' defense left no questions unanswered against the Vols and their almost helpless quarterback. "I am very, very proud of (our defense)," coach Houston Nutt said. "They did a great job, a great job. "With those talented receivers (Tennessee has), they did a great job of keeping them out of the end zone." New Quarterback No Problem For Hogs With Casey at the bat, Arkansas' offense was swinging a hot stick. Sophomore quarterback Casey Dick got his first start of the season Saturday and the biggest question for the Razorbacks going into the game was whether the switch at signal-caller would have any ill effect. Judging by the sophomore's effort, any and all doubts were completely unwarranted. "Casey did an excellent job of managing the game, getting us in and out of the huddle," coach Houston Nutt said. "We mixed up some snap counts, a couple of checks got us out of a bad play. "And I thought he threw the ball extremely well. Except for maybe one or two throws, I thought he did an excellent job." Dick finished the game a very respectable 10 of 15 passing for 154 yards and a touchdown. And with his team looking for more balance in the offense against the Volunteers, Arkansas' sophomore slinger definitely delivered. "I felt very comfortable," Dick said. "I had those guys (Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) back there behind me doing a good job for us, obviously. And our offensive line did a good job pass blocking for us." Monk Marvelous In Corner Of End Zone The timing had to be perfect. The pass had to be dead-on accurate. And most of all, the catch had to be in bounds. All three of these factors came together on Arkansas' first touchdown Saturday when Casey Dick put a third-and-goal pass from the Tennessee 10-yard line right in the arms of Marcus Monk. "It got us off to a good start," offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "That was a big play right there. "It's third-and-10 or something right there and you'd think they would double-team (Marcus) and they didn't. So we were pretty fortunate and Casey made a big-time throw and Marcus made a big-time catch." Once Monk saw he had single coverage on the play, he figured the fade route to corner of the end zone was coming his way. "Casey threw the ball where only I could catch it," Monk said. "I saw I had an angle on it and I just tried to make a play." A play that is never easy, although Arkansas made it look that way. "It takes a good pass, you've got to decide which shoulder you want to look over and it can be confusing," Monk said. "But (Casey) threw up a perfect ball." Vols' Offense Can't Deliver Tennessee's defense did the things needed to help the Volunteers get back in the ballgame in the second half. By holding Arkansas in check for most of the third quarter, the door was open for Tennessee to attempt its comeback. Thanks to the Razorbacks' defense, though, that door was quickly closed. "I felt we could have made some more plays downfield but we just didn't execute," Tennessee wide receiver Bret Smith said. "And their defense had a lot to do with that." After holding the Vols to just one touchdown in the first half, the Razorbacks didn't let up once intermission was over. And while Tennessee was doing its part on defense in the third and fourth quarters by holding the Hogs out of the end zone, three punts and an interception by the Vols offense did in the boys from Knoxville. "We just looked at that South Carolina game last week," defensive end Jamaal Anderson said. "They came out firing at us in the second half and we had made the statement right after the first half (Saturday) that we cannot do this. "We can't play like last week in the second half, and we were able to do that." Razorbacks Respond To Tennessee's Score Arkansas appeared ready to blow the doors off of Tennessee when the Vols made a quick push to keep the game close a little longer. Facing a third-and-17 from the Arkansas 27, the Vols were able to cut their deficit to 14-7 when Jonathan Crompton found Robert Meachem on a play-action pass for the 27-yard score. Suddenly, Tennessee was within 14-7. Suddenly, Arkansas needed to respond, and that's just what the Razorbacks did. On the following drive, Arkansas made things look easy by going 82 yards in seven plays, capped by Darren McFadden's 12-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Monk. Showing off an offense that at times was nearly unstoppable, the Razorbacks came up with an answer to everything Tennessee had. Most importantly, Arkansas answered at just the right time. "We can mix it up, and that's giving us confidence," Monk said. "Our defense feeds off of us and we feed off of them. "We're just going to keep working hard and keep improving, that's our main goal."

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