A word of advice for opponents looking to face Bret Bielema, head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, in opening games: don’t go there. Bielema, at his new home in Fayetteville, won his eighth-straight opening game on Saturday when the Razorbacks beat Louisiana-Lafayette 34-14.
Bielema, the former head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, had a fairly easy time in his first game as a head coach in the SEC. Arkansas scored first and never trailed in this game, while rolling up 522 yards of total offense.
Many questioned why Bielema would leave a great situation in Madison to come to the mighty SEC, but if Saturday’s game is any indication, he is up to the challenge. While this wasn’t an SEC opponent that the Razorbacks were facing, Arkansas was able to handle their Sun Belt Conference opponent with relative ease.
Arkansas got a solid effort from new quarterback Brandon Allen, who hit on 15-of-22 passes through the air for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Arkansas also did a lot of damage on the ground, which has been Bielema’s calling card throughout his career. Both Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins rushed for more than 100 yards in the contest. Williams carried 18 times for 151 yards and a score, while Collins, in his first collegiate game, rushed 21 times for 131 yards.
Bielema would love to be able to establish such a running game in the SEC. If he is able to do that, and the Razorbacks can play solid defense, Bielema could have a formula for winning in the nation’s best conference.