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The Bearcats came into this game having only lost two games over the past two seasons, both to SEC foes in Georgia, and Alabama. While Arkansas is respectable under Sam Pittman, there is a pretty wide gap between his Hogs and the titans of the SEC, however, at least at the moment.  The Bearcats were coming off a playoff run, and the Razorbacks off a strong nine-win campaign, this was certainly one I had circled going into the year, and it did not disappoint. 

The physical defensive start, Arkansas out in front early

The defenses were king early in the game. The 'Cats miscues were a highlight, two missed field goals, a fumble, and an interception. This would be a trend that continued, as Arkansas cashed in the interception for an early 7-0 lead given the short field. Arkansas would drive down the field following a missed field goal to take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Everything was going the Hog's way, but you just had a feeling that things could change quickly, after all, Cincinnati was moving the ball, and they had 182 yards of offense and had a few trips into Razorback territory. It did not have a feel of a 14-0 game. 


The Bearcats cut the Razorback lead to just four

In the third quarter, Cincinnati got on the board with a Corey Kiner five-yard scamper, on a four-minute 12-play drive. Arkansas would counter-punch with a clutch 19-yard touchdown pass from KJ Jefferson to Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood on 3rd and 7.

 However it would be the Bearcats who would score the next ten points, Ben Bryant would connect with Nick Mardner for an explosive 35-yard touchdown pass, then the Bearcat's defense would recover a KJ Jefferson fumble, though they would not do much with the possession, they did finally make a field goal. It was 21-17 Arkansas, but momentum appeared to be with Luke Fickell's bunch.

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Back and forth we go!

The affair between two ranked foes was going to come down to execution and willpower. Each team would get a couple of possessions to put their finishing touches on the game. The Razorbacks would score a touchdown, to go up a full touchdown 24-17 going into the final quarter. 

The two would then trade punts, then Jordan Domineck, the Georgia Tech transfer would get to Ben Bryant forcing a fumble on the sack. In two plays, Jefferson found Trey Knox for a 32 yard touchdown with just nine minutes to play. 



The Bearcats were not ready to surrender yet however, as they would score on a Ben Bryant to Leonard Taylor touchdown pass for 15 yards. With 5:49 left. Arkansas 31 Cincinnati 24.


KJ Jefferson does his best Vanilla Ice impression

Ice Ice baby, the Razorbacks got the ball back with just a shade under five minutes to play, and they would refuse to relinquish control of the football! Jefferson would convert two 3rd downs with his feet, one being a 14 yard scamper on 3rd and 9. At the end of the day, the team that made the fewer mistakes and tripped over their own feet less won this game. Arkansas took care of the football better than the Bearcats, they ran the football better than the Bearcats, and they executed on critical plays better than the Bearcats. 


Final Thoughts

Arkansas to me is the second best team in the SEC West, and the Bearcats are still legit, though it will take a year or two for them to threaten another CFP berth, at least while it remains a four-team invitational. Luke Fickell and his young team will have alot to build on, and alot to learn from in this road loss. The Razorbacks can keep building upon this win, as they face on of the nation's most difficult schedules, if not the most difficult.