Razorback Defense Out Of Excuses

FAYETTEVILLE -- Matt Hewitt would hear none of it. Nor would Freddie Fairchild.

And defensive coordinator Reggie Herring? He brushed the question aside.

Sure, Arkansas' defense was dog tired in the late stages of its 42-29 loss against No. 21 Kentucky. But if you ask Hewitt, Fairchild, Herring and probably everyone else associated with the Razorbacks' defense, that was no excuse.

"We had them, we had them," said Hewitt, Arkansas' starting strong safety. "Just little mental breakdowns keep happening. Just little things we give up and we keep letting teams win easily."

While nothing really came easy for Kentucky's offense, the fourth quarter comeback made it look that way. After falling behind 29-21 following a Felix Jones free kick return for a touchdown, Kentucky began its march toward the improbable win.

With an effective running game from backup tailbacks Derrick Locke and Tony Dixon, mixed with the sharp passing of quarterback Andre Woodson, Kentucky was hitting on all cylinders in the fourth quarter.

And Arkansas defense was running on fumes for the second week in a row.

"The fourth quarter, we flat just weren't there," Herring said. "And that's not the sign of a good defense and that's not the sign of a good coach.

"We're all to blame for that."

No matter where the blame needs to go, Arkansas' defense isn't putting the fault on anyone other than itself. But even though the defense seemed to sputter at the end, there were some Razorbacks who felt they deserved a break.

"People are probably talking down to our defense and stuff," Arkansas fullback Peyton Hillis said. "But when you put them on the wrong side of the field, or you make too many dumb mistakes, you're going to screw up a lot. And when you have a great quarterback like they've got and there's six minutes left on the clock, it's almost meant for them to score.

"You just have to give it up to him and their team. They did a great job."

Still, no matter how good Woodson and the No. 21 Wildcats are, the Razorbacks' defense knows for the second game in a row, they let one slip away.

Now, the question is if they can recover from a second straight fourth-quarter collapse.

"We're a tough team," Fairchild said. "You see how we came out fighting after a loss.

"We're just going to keep coming out fighting."

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