Arkansas looked to remain unbeaten as they traveled to Rutgers in the Razorbacks first road game of the season, but they were going to have to do so without starting quarterback Brandon Allen who was out with injury. Without the conference’s fifth-rated passer, the Hogs turned to junior college transfer A.J. Derby who made his first career start.
After four quarters with Derby under center and Arkansas’ first loss of the season it’s clear that Allen needs to get healthy — and soon — because Derby is not capable of guiding this team to victory when they begin SEC play.
Even with the terrific duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams entering Saturday’s game as the nation’s fourth and seventh leading rushers, they were unable to find much running room with defenses not having to respect the pass. The duo finished with 88 yards — 63 from Collins — on 28 carries as they were stifled for the first time all season.
Saturday’s defeat showed that Collins is in fact human after starting his career with an SEC-record three straight games with more than 100-yards rushing. With Derby unable to make plays on third down, the Razorbacks are vulnerable. The Razorbacks converted only three of 14 third down attempts.
Allen traveled with the team and will be closely evaluated this week to determine if he’ll be able to practice in full on Monday. With the schedule getting incredibly tough with four ranked teams on the docket the next four weeks, they need Allen back under center for the threat of an upset.