FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Any questions about Arkansas' ability to run the football with success were answered in Saturday night's 40-21 victory over No. 15 Texas.
Following a 333-yard effort later, the Razorbacks asserted that they are no longer a Southeastern Conference doormat like they were the last year of the Bret Bielema era and during Chad Morris' two-year stint with the program.
"Isn't that something? Coach (Cody) Kennedy comes in June. We rushed for 330 yards and averaged 7-plus yards a carry," Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said. "He's got some really hard-working kids. They took a lot of heat in the past. The way they played against a good Texas squad, it was outstanding. Beaux Limmer is a part of that, too, but we had the five starters back. I don't think they gave up a sack tonight either. They came to play and I'm really proud of them."
The output also was done without Arkansas having a single 100-yard rusher. Trelon Smith led the way with 75 yards and a touchdown, quarterback KJ Jefferson had 73 yards, while Rocket Sanders, AJ Green and Dominique Johnson all ran for scores.
"I feel great about our running backs, we have about 3-4 guys who can run the ball," Jefferson said. "That whole running back room did a great job."
Without the push they got against the Texas front seven, however, it wouldn't have been possible.
"It's a testimony to our hard work, running the ball hard," Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg said. "We were able to prepare these plays and execute in game. We're just a physical team and we're not scared."
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian attributed it to the defense having to be on the field way longer than he would have liked, and his offense's inability to chew up clock.
"I think over time they wore us out," Sarkisian said. "We couldn't sustain any drives offensively, so our defense was on the field to a point to where they kind of wore out. We never put any pressure on (Arkansas) to feel like they had to throw the ball. They were throwing the ball when they wanted to. I think part of that was we just didn't get it done offensively to take any pressure off our defense."
The Longhorns plan to join the SEC with Oklahoma by 2025, possibly sooner if contract negotiations occur, but Saturday's game was a rude awakening for what might be in store for them in the future.
"I felt like we were getting dominated especially the interior," Texas nose tackle Keondre Coburn said. "They would make a lot of cuts if they saw the holes weren't there. They were just making a lot of cuts, that's what I was seeing. That's all I could remember."