Arkansas Defense Redeems Itself In Second

FAYETTEVILLE -- Though it didn't make for many good, creative sound bites, the Arkansas defense was able to explain what went wrong early Saturday.

Razorbacks defenders saw the errors of their ways and corrected them before things got out of hand against Florida International.

"We got back to basics," Arkansas cornerback Jerel Norton said. "At the half, coach (Reggie) Herring (Arkansas defensive coordinator) basically came in and said, 'It's unacceptable. I'm not yelling, I'm not fussing. You're are grown men, this is your team, your defense. What are y'all going to do about it?'"

"He basically challenged us. We took it to heart."

Essentially, Arkansas got a checkup from the neck up and responded favorably en route to its 58-10 win.

Arkansas feasted on seven turnovers -- five of them were interceptions -- and finally found a way to bottle up FIU quarterback Wayne Younger.

While most redshirt signal-callers are carrying clipboards and standing on the sidelines, Younger was carrying his team on his skinny shoulders in the first half.

In that first 30 minutes, Younger rushed for 110 yards on only seven carries with carefully crafted and scripted plays.

"He is what I said he was, he's a great athlete," Herring said. "If we didn't come to play, he'd make our day miserable and he pretty much did.

"It was pretty embarrassing in the fact we had him sacked several times, or the fact we couldn't get him down."

Younger was never a factor in the second half, finishing with 124 yards rushing on 14 carries and completing only 9 of 25 passes for 93 yards and those five picks.

"We had to play catch-up in the second half," Younger said. "We got away from the running game. We just tried to throw the ball to get down the field and score some points."

Applying most of the pressure was the Arkansas defensive line.

"Coach Herring told us we might have some problems with him," Hogs defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell said. "He just told us to just lock down on his run and prepare for the draw. A lot of us just got lackadaisical and we shouldn't have gotten lackadaisical like we did.

"In the second half, we just came together and played as a team and starting balling."

Razorbacks free safety Rashaad Johnson nodded.

"Their quarterback was good, he gave us fits in the first half," said Johnson, who picked off two passes. "He was running around and we were missing tackles. We made some adjustments and started playing fundamental ball in the second half.

"At halftime, Reggie was the usual Reggie," Johnson said. "Get to the point and tend to your business. He said just wrap up and things will get better.

"That's what happened."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories