The Second Half of Arkansas vs Kent State Should Give Rise to a New State Holiday

Jacolby Criswell, Arkansas football, Arkansas vs Kent State

God forbid the Razorbacks Chad Morris this game away. Improv actor and comedian Matt Besser, also a Little Rock native, is back at it again, this time giving us his prediction for Saturday’s Arkansas vs Kent State game in the only way he knows how – a “standup” bit.

In it, he can’t help but take a jab at Chad Morris after Clemson’s ugly 28-7 opening week loss at Duke. After all, Morris’ name has “become a verb for screwing up.”

Unfortunately, though, they’ve pulled shenanigans like this before. One look at 2015 and oh… oh no. Hey, at least the Hogs were only favored by 22.5 against Toledo, so perhaps they can be excused.

According to BetSaracen, they’re favored by 38.5 points this time; it’d be even more embarrassing if they decided to pull a Chad Morris on Saturday. It’s the largest pro-Arkansas spread against an FBS school since it was a 41.5-point favorite against Florida International in 2007 (which it did cover in a 58-10 win).

Establishing a New Holiday in Arkansas vs Kent State

Hog fans have standards in the Sam Pittman era. A win is not merely enough – not only must they cover the spread to make all of the Razorback betting kingdom happy, but also keep Kent State from scoring at all. The “lion not only has to kill the human, we don’t want the human getting any tugs on the human at all,” as Besser puts it.

Considering that Kent State came out of Week 1 with no touchdowns and the most total yards allowed on defense in the nation, that just might be achievable. As long as nobody calls a timeout just before time expires to kick a field goal when the team is down by 46. No one would ever do that.

Maybe after KJ Jeffries, Arkansas’ starting quarterback according to Kent State head coach Kenni Burns, is done tormenting the Golden Flashes in the first half, we can all celebrate the newly minted state holiday “Criswellmas” — a day of celebration and merriment in which junior backup quarterback Jacolby Criswell gets to play the entire second half and hopefully keep his 100% completion percentage (2-for-2 in the opener).

Taking More Shots at Kent State Football

Next, we have the topic of the nickname: the almighty Golden Flashes. Besser points out that we should “just call it a lightning bolt. ‘Golden Flashes’ sounds like a symptom for a stroke.” Which is what will happen to half the fanbase if they Chad Morris this game, I imagine anyway.

Finally, for celebratory purposes, maybe Criswell and the Arkansas football team will make a pit stop at the Tropical Smoothie Cafe. That’s the sponsor of the only bowl game that Kent State has ever won. Officially, it was called *clears throat* The Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, which “is too many words for a bowl when it used to be (things like) Cotton, Orange and Sugar.” 

So Razorback Nation, Merry Criswellmas. Let’s all raise our smoothie glass to good health and covering the spread with a 70-0 margin of victory that may actually qualify as not a joke.

LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Kent State

Arkansas won the coin toss and deferred. That means Kent State will open the game with the ball.

3:24, 1Q – Kent State 3, Arkansas 0

It’s been an ugly start to the game for the Razorbacks. They went 3-and-out on their first offensive possession and Kent State responded by marching down the field. A false start put the Golden Flashes behind the chains, though, and Arkansas came up with a third-down sack to limit the damage to a 48-yard field goal by Andrew Glass.

1:12, 1Q – Arkansas 7, Kent State 3

After another uninspiring possession that ended with a punt by Arkansas, Antonio Grier picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. It was his first snap with the Razorbacks and also the first incompletion by Mike Alaimo.

END of 1Q – Arkansas 7, Kent State 3

Facing a team that gave up 723 yards to UCF last week, the Razorbacks managed just 21 in the first quarter.

6:29, 2Q – Arkansas 7, Kent State 6

Arkansas committed a couple of penalties to aid the Kent State offense, but the Golden Flashes still moved the ball relatively easily until getting into the red zone. The defense finally got a stop and once again limited the damage to a 38-yard field goal, which pulled Kent State within 7-6.

2:20, 2Q – Arkansas 14, Kent State 6

It took more than 1.5 quarters, but the offense finally woke up. A couple of nice runs by AJ Green got the Razorbacks into Kent State territory and then an incredibly throw and catch from Jefferson to TeSlaa got them into the red zone. It seemed like Green had a touchdown run, but he was ruled short of the goal line.

Arkansas brought in its jumbo package in a unique formation on third-and-goal from the 1, but was called for a delay of game. Instead, they had to call a pass play. Jefferson dropped a low snap, but managed to pick it up and turned the busted play into a touchdown with a 5-yard pass to Armstrong.

HALF – Arkansas 14, Kent State 6

Thanks to that touchdown drive, the Razorbacks ended up with 105 total yards of offense in the first half. They gave up 126.

5:50, 3Q – Arkansas 21, Kent State 6

It hasn’t been much better for Arkansas in the third quarter, as it failed to convert a fourth-and-1 to open the half, but it did put together a 12-play, 91-yard drive that included three third-down conversions to score its second offensive touchdown of the day. A 1-yard run by Rashod Dubinion capped it.

END of 3Q – Arkansas 21, Kent State 6

KJ Jefferson was sacked on the final play of the third quarter.

10:16, 4Q – Arkansas 28, Kent State 6

Despite that sack, the Razorbacks still put together a 15-play, 73-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. It was capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Armstrong, who made a nice catch and just got his foot down inbounds for the score.

6:05, 4Q – Arkansas 28, Kent State 6

A long completion gave Kent State a first-and-goal at the 2, but Arkansas got four straight stops to keep the Golden Flashes out of the end zone.

FINAL – Arkansas 28, Kent State 6


Check out the reasoning for Besser’s Arkansas vs Kent State prediction and far, far more here:

Make sure to follow Matt Besser on Twitter here.

How to Watch Arkansas vs Kent State

Date: Saturday, Sept. 9

Location: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)

Kickoff Time and TV Schedule: 3 p.m. CT (SEC Network)

Announcers: Dave Neal (play-by-play), Derek Mason (analyst), Taylor Davis (reporter)

Kent State’s Rankings: NR (AP) | NR (Coaches) | No. 133 (SP+) | No. 129 (FPI)

Arkansas’ Rankings: RV (AP) | RV (Coaches) | No. 19 (SP+) | No. 36 (FPI)

ESPN FPI: Arkansas has a 94.7% chance to win

SP+ Projection: Arkansas has a 100% chance to win, favored by 48.8 points (proj. score: 49-0)

Odds/Betting Line: Arkansas, -38.5 | O/U 58.5 (BetSaracen)


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