The Fight in Fayetteville: An initial review of the Razorbacks’ season opener


The Razorbacks opened the season with a grueling, hard hitting battle against the Cincinnati Bearcats in their home opener in Fayetteville. In a physical bout that was in doubt until the final driver, the Razorbacks were able to lean on their high powered run game to ink out a 31-24 win over the Bearcats. The victory marks the first time the Hogs have beaten a ranked opponent in an opener since their victory over USC during the 1975 campaign. While a well earned win over an extremely talented opponent is reason to celebrate there still areas that needed improvement. With that said let’s touch on some of them as well as the facets of the game that showed promise.

Concerns in the secondary

The final box score does not tell the full story when it comes to the struggles the Razorbacks’ secondary had in today’s matchup. There were multiple times that they allowed receivers behind the defense and they were overthrown. If any of these opportunities were capitalized on it would of likely changed the outcome of the game. Even with the numerous wide open receivers that were missed the Bearcats still threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. This coupled with injuries to defensive backs Jalen Catalon, Myles Slusher, and Jayden Johnson further exasperates the issues on the back end.

Burks is missed but Knox is legit

The wide receiving core for the Hogs struggled to find their footing early in the absence of Treylon Burks, who departed in the NFL draft in April. Converted tight end Trey Knox was able to step up and lead the way for revamped passing attack for the Razorbacks finishing with 6 receptions, 75 yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns; all team highs.


His size and explosiveness makes him a valuable asset for the offense going forward especially with the question marks surrounding the other play makers on the roster. His continued progression as a play making tight end will be crucial to the success of the offense going forward.

The run game is still elite

The Razorbacks’ rushing attack picked up where it left off last season, bludgeoning Cincinnati for 224 yards on the ground. Rocket Sanders led the way with 117 yards followed by quarterback Kj Jefferson who pitched in 62 yards and a rushing touchdown. Their ability to win up front on a consistent basis became the deciding factor with only holding penalties proving capable of stopping the Arkansas offense.

Kj Jefferson continues his ascension

Kj Jefferson balled. The second year starter completed 18/26 of his passes for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with his stellar rushing performance. His running ability caused problems for the Bearcats defense all afternoon, gashing them for several long runs and extending plays on multiple occasions. His 4 touchdown performance against this defense should further solidify his place as one of the best quarterbacks in not only the SEC but in all of college football.


The Razorbacks started their 2022 campaign the right way by outlasting a team that was viewed as a potential title contender coming into the season. While the secondary struggled the defensive line played exceptionally well, the offensive line imposed it’s will, and Kj Jefferson proved to be to big of a mismatch for the opposing defense to solve. This is win can a stepping stone to propel the Razorbacks through the coming weeks. Hopefully some of the defensive backs that were lost during this outing will return to fortify the back end of the defense but, the Razorbacks handled their business in front of their home crowd and in the end that is all you can ask for.


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