Passing Game Fails To Deliver

ORLANDO, Fla. -- When Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick jogged onto the field for Arkansas' first possession Monday afternoon, he was feeling better than he had all season. It had been an extremely long four weeks of prepping for the Badgers in the Capital One Bowl, but Dick was more than ready to get the Razorbacks offense moving. He was determined.

"The thing is, both Mitch (Mustain) and I felt great coming into this game," Dick said. "We felt we had a great game plan and we felt like everything would go our way." But for Arkansas' passing game, it never did.

Although both Dick and Mustain combined for 139 passing yards, both quarterbacks -- who shared equal playing time against No. 6 Wisconsin -- never found the rhythm they wanted.

Overthrown passes, wrong routes and two interceptions kept the Razorbacks' passing game grounded in Arkansas' 17-14 loss to the Badgers in Citrus Bowl stadium -- Arkansas' third straight loss to end the season.

"The bottom line is that we had some opportunities that we didn't convert on," Arkansas first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "The first drive was real crucial. I wish we would have came up with some points."

Instead, after gaining a first down inside the Badgers' 10-yard line following a long Darren McFadden run, the Hogs came away empty.

Mustain, the heralded Parade national player of the year as a senior at Springdale High who'd taken just one snap since his last start against South Carolina on Nov. 4, said the most frustrating thing was how back and forth the passing game was.

"We'd get a big play here, and then have some bad plays there," said Mustain, who played on four different possessions, mostly in the second half. "We have a tough time sustaining drives and we've got to get better at that."

Besides stalling at the 35-yard line three different times, Arkansas also had trouble on first and second down for most of the game, usually leaving the Razorbacks with a tough third-and-long situation. Forced into obvious passing downs, the Razorbacks stalled frequently.

"I thought both Mitch and Casey did a good job, because they were able to make some good plays," quarterbacks coach Alex Wood said. "But right now, we've got to go back, see what we did wrong and start all over again and see if we can get better."


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