Hogs offense struggles in loss to No. 23 TCU

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Arkansas Razorbacks offense just never found its rhythm.

The No. 23 TCU Horned Frogs (2-0) limited the Razorbacks (1-1) to just 267 yards of total offense in a 28-7 victory Saturday in front of a sold out crowd at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. TCU called this a revenge game of sorts. The Hogs defeated the ex-Southwest Conference rival in overtime last season.

“Just didn’t have a connection, had some dropped balls, had some guys that needed to correct," said Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema after the game about his offense. "So as coaches, first, I’ve got to own every minute of that film. As coaches we’ve really got to self-assess what we’re asking our guys to do, especially in the second half offensively and figure out what we can do better, because obviously it didn’t work."

Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen finished the game just 9-23 for 138 yards and a touchdown pass. The TCU defense chased him out of the pocket on many of his throws.

“We will be fine," said Allen of his team's offensive performance "We'll look at the film. I have all the faith in those guys. We will be better."

Arkansas’ defense kept TCU’s high-powered offense in check for much of the game. The biggest play of the game came with 3:56 to go. TCU led 14-7 with the ball on Arkansas’ 46-yard line with third-down and 12 to go. Quarterback Kenny Hill wound up and threw deep down the sideline. He missed his target. However, the referees threw a flag against the Hogs' defense for pass interference. That extended the drive. A few plays later, Darius Anderson broke several tackles, scoring on a 14-yard run. That made the score 21-7 with 2:18 to go in the game.

TCU tacked on a touchdown late after Arkansas fumbled the kickoff to put the game away.

Kenny Hill finished 21-31 for 166 yards and an interception. He rushed for another 41 yards on 11 carries.

Arkansas’ defense limited the Horned frogs to just 361 yards of total offense. The Horned Frogs excelled on fourth down, finished the game 10-of-14. The Hogs struggled on the all-important third-down, converting just 4-of-14.

"Third down is the money down," said Arkansas safety Santos Ramirez. “We have to get off the field. There are no excuses."

Arkansas’ lone touchdown answered TCU’s first touchdown midway through the first-quarter. Allen found Jonathan Nance for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Nance finished with three catches for 75 yards. Allen hit only four receivers with receptions.

"I have to play better," said Allen. "We just never found that rhythm. We were not clicking at all. We got in third-and-longs and it is difficult to operate in third-and-long.

The Razorbacks’ offense twice punched in into the red zone. Twice they came up empty on points. Cole Hedlund missed field goals of 27-yards and 23-yards.

“Kicking game, we may either just go for it all the time, or I’ll put in a guy -- again, what you see in practice is what you believe is going to happen," said Bielema. "We have a kicker that was kicking over 95-percent all the way through fall camp and the first two weeks of the season, and then to go out there and miss two chip shots, especially the second one."

Arkansas has two week to think about the tough loss with a bye next weekend. The Hogs then will play in Arlington, Texas the following week in the Southwest Classic against Southeastern Conference rival Texas A&M.

"So we’ve got a bye week," said Bielema. "We’ll really take self-inventory. I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to be the most-improved football team in the country from this next week until we play Texas A&M. Their team is very similar to the one we just played, and get a lot better at the details, especially in the critical moments."