Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
CORRECTION: Now, Ryan Mallett has set every single-season passing record on the books. The frozen-rope slinger has zipped the ball to various receivers for 2,882 yards so far this season, surpassing Clint Stoerner's former record by 253 yards. He'll easily pass 3,000 before the regular season is all said and done. And with this past weekend's sack of poor little Troy, he'll have a shot at getting 3,500 when we go bowling. Yep, he's pretty good. I reckon we'll keep him.
(As long as he doesn't let anybody talk him into cashing in early. Even in a year unusually rich with talent at the quarterback position, he could go early in the first round. I just hope he realizes that he won't get what he's actually worth just yet. All those former Heisman contenders are gonna dilute the really big spending. He probably wants his suitors a tad more desperate.)
Dennis Johnson set his own record on Saturday, but this one's a little two-faced. The only way you get your return man to 1,749 yards by his sophomore season is by giving up a silly amount of points to your opponents. I think most SEC competition will grant you that record and thank you kindly. You have to grant Johnson his field vision, though. Even if he hasn't made good on his promise from early this season to take one all the way home every game (he hasn't run one back since the opener), he routinely gets us back into games with 40- or 50-yard returns. Plus, he's just a fun guy to watch, running with counter-intuitive power and fierceness for a guy who might be the 5'9” he's listed.
Troy didn't put up much of a fight. In fact, after Matt Harris of all people robbed Levi Brown of his bid for Trent Dilfer's record of 271 pass attempts without an interception, the long-haired senior coughed up a couple more without registering much disappointment on the sidelines. Maybe Larry Blakeney's week-long back-pedaling over his supposed comments to some radio guy got into his team's heads. I mean, you wanna avoid giving your opponent bulletin board material, but wouldn't your first concern be building up your team? Blakeney sounded like a wimpy kid who got caught in some schoolyard boasting.
Florida certainly misses new Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Their offense has been awfully stagnant under the new offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio, so much so that you have to give Mullen a lot of credit for those last two national championships. Whether he can transfer that talent for play calling to his new role calling all the shots remains to be seen, as the Bulldogs haven't seen much success this year. Their 4-6 record is a mirror reflection of our own, but two of those losses were hard fought against quality nonconference opponents (matchups that other Mississippi team wouldn't know anything about). Familiarly, a spotty defense seems to be the root of the problem. Even Addazio's offense rolled them for 29 points.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs can score against generous defenses, and Anthony Dixon is rightly touted as one of the conference's most dangerous running backs. Willy Robinson has been effective when scheming against the spread, and he'll surely be looking for revenge after last year's heartbreaking loss late in the season, a nailbiter that kept us out of bowl contention. Dixon had a career game against the Hogs last time around (handing them out seems like our only specialty at this point), and even middling quarterback Tyson Lee didn't look too shabby, tossing two TDs. However, if Robinson recovers in time to put together a scheme like he did against Auburn, we should be able to put a cork in them. It bodes well that we're playing them in an early game at home. That's been our recipe for success most of the season.
P.S.: Dexter McCluster should be a Heisman candidate, right? Why is he not going to New York? You'd think maybe his head coach shouldn't have squandered his talents early in the year.
P.P.S.: Kudos to Rotnei Clarke for finally giving Razorback basketball fans something to cheer about.