So, now comes the hard part. Arguably the toughest four-game stretch in the history of Arkansas football is at hand, and the unfortunate reality is that it comes on the heels of a disappointing loss. The Razorbacks seemingly had it in the bag Saturday at Rutgers, but a four-quarter game on the road isn’t as simple as it sounds. Gone was the fourth quarter dominance of the first three games. Instead the Hogs rushed for just three yards in the final period while Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova offered an encore to his performance last year in Fayetteville. The defense struggled to keep receivers from running free, and despite consistent harassment from the Hog D-line, Nova was able to throw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s clear "the process" for Bret Bielema’s first Arkansas team will be a day by day, week by week quest for improvement. It won’t be easy as the level of competition improves dramatically over the next month.
One thing that is noticeable is that this team looks like they’ve been coached. And they are well prepared. The Hogs threw everything but the kitchen sink at Rutgers. A fake punt for a first down. A halfback pass for a touchdown. Both were expertly executed, and the lead wouldn’t have reached 17 points without them. Over time, this group will learn to close the deal. Victories are too hard to come by to give away. A hard lesson was administered late Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J. The trick now is to learn from it, make improvements, and find a way to regain confidence.
It’s a hard sell out this week for the Aggies. A night game means plenty of time for tailgating. Time to get ready for a new week.