Bret Bielema had two weeks to stew over the way Auburn ran roughshod over Arkansas two weeks ago.
“Coming out of that Auburn game, I didn’t care what we had to do, we were doing to stop the run,” he said Saturday after the Razorbacks held Florida to just 12 yards on the ground and came away with a 31-10 win.
The margin of victory probably wasn’t as surprising as how dominate Arkansas was over the No. 11 (or No. 10, depending on what poll you use) team in the country.
It helped that Rawleigh Williams ran for 148 yards and the Hogs as a team got 223 on the ground. That was against the No. 2 defense in the SEC.
“Our offense — especially the run game — did the things we asked them to do,” Bielema said later.
Maybe the thing that helped the most was the bye week that let some offensive linemen heal a little.
“I’ve had a lot of good offensive line coaches, and Kurt Anderson might be the best I’ve had,” he said of the first-year coach who had the fans chirping at him for two weeks. “We don’t have a lot of depth there.”
Arkansas faced an opponent that, well, really didn’t seem that interested in playing.
Gators coach Jim McElwain apologized afterwards to the fans for “having to sit through that.”
“I just feel horrible for the Gator Nation,” he said. “Just the way everything kind of played out.”
You got the impression from the outset that Florida just wasn’t that into the game. Nothing they did was very crisp or inspired.
“I thought they were prepared,” McElwain said when he was asked if he saw that coming.
He didn’t try to sugarcoat the Razorbacks’ domination on both sides of the line, either.
“Look, they just took it to us upfront,” he said. “I think the line of scrimmage on both sides was a definitive win for the Razorbacks.”
It’s the kind of game Bielema likes, running the ball, winning the game in the trenches.
Still, the final motivational message came from wide receiver Drew Morgan.
“Basically, I told them they are giving us the game,” he said later. “We are peeing down our own legs.”
Yes, the Hogs won this game by dominating the line on both sides of the ball. It’s not a qualifying statement to say Florida just didn’t seem that interested. It’s a fact.
That’s not something to be discounted.
Arkansas has caught some breaks with that in scheduling in recent years and have also had it work the other way, too.
Let’s face it, it would be better to play Alabama the week after they played LSU or somebody like that, although getting the Tigers the week after they play the Tide has worked to the Hogs’ advantage the last couple of seasons.
Now the schedule sets up where Arkansas could end up 9-3. As they say about the Presidential election, there is a clear path for them to do that.
LSU will come to Fayetteville next week after their annual bloodletting with Alabama. It’s a game that has left the Tigers in a mood of disinterest for the Razorbacks.
That plays into Bielema’s hands.
On paper right now, the Hogs should be favored in two of the three, although let’s not forget Mississippi State has found a way to beat Arkansas four years in a row now and seem to have the lucky rabbit’s foot in that game.
Forget Missouri. That one shouldn’t be close.
That’s the path to 9-3, which should never be the goal for the Hogs or the fans. Sorry, maybe I’m living too far in the past, but anything less than 10 wins should not be acceptable for the Arkansas program.
That’s not possible now, though. Getting to 9-3 is the best option possible.
And in the post-mortem following the Auburn debacle, nobody had that thought in their mind.
At least those being honest.