ARLINGTON, Texas — Arkansas football will likely be without star freshman Luke Hasz for the rest of the season.
The tight end was lost early in the Razorbacks’ 34-22 loss to Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium, leaving Saturday’s game after just three plays.
Head coach Sam Pittman revealed afterward that Hasz had a broken clavicle and said it was likely a season-ending injury, but did leave the door open for a potential bowl game.
“I had a running back when I was coaching at Trenton High School that got it in the first game and he came back for the last two or three in a 10-game season,” Pittman said. “If anybody can come back faster, it will be (Hasz). But now we’re sitting in Week 5 with one bye, eight weeks. If we’re fortunate enough to get bowl-eligible, he might could be back for that maybe.”
Hasz got hurt on the third play of the game, breaking the clavicle when he was tackled on a 14-yard reception that moved the chains on third down.
Coming into the day, he was ranked second among SEC tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards, behind only Georgia’s Brock Bowers, and was well on his way to surpassing Hunter Henry’s freshman statistics.
That definitely won’t happen now, as he’ll likely end the year with 16 receptions for 253 yards and three touchdowns — figures that rank second on the team.
In his absence, North Texas transfer Var’keyes Gumms got his first extended work at tight end and caught his first pass with Arkansas football, gaining just 2 yards. That is the only reception by an Arkansas tight end other than Hasz this season.
Other Arkansas Football Injury Updates
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, Luke Hasz wasn’t the only notable injury Saturday afternoon. They also lost preseason All-SEC cornerback Dwight McGlothern because of a concussion midway through the second quarter.
It’s the second injury of the season for McGlothern, who missed all but the first play of the Kent State game because of turf toe. He was replaced by former starter Jaheim Singletary.
Two other defensive starters — linebacker Jaheim Thomas and cornerback Jaylon Braxton — were shaken up at various points, but both of them were able to return to the game.
The most serious injury came in the fourth quarter, when defensive end John Morgan III was carted off the field in a stretcher.
“He had movement everywhere,” Pittman said. “Good spirits isn’t the word, but he was communicative. He visited with me, said ‘Coach, I’m fine.’ But he did have some soreness in his neck. So they took the precaution, which they should, and they’re good at what they do and they took care of him. But he had movement everywhere and he’s at the doctor.”
There is no silver-lining to losing to Texas A&M for the 11th time in 12 tries, but if there was one positive from Saturday, it was the fact that Arkansas didn’t commit a single penalty.
That’s a dramatic improvement from the previous two games, when the Razorbacks were flagged 14 and 11 times against BYU and LSU, respectively. They came into the matchup with the Aggies as one of the most penalized teams in the country, ranking 128th in penalties (9.0 per game) and 127th in penalty yardage (78.5 per game) out of 133 FBS teams.
Arkansas is now tied for 105th and tied for 104th in those categories.
It’s also just the second time the Razorbacks have gone an entire game without a penalty since joining the SEC in 1992. The only other occurrence was on Oct. 26, 2019, when they did so in a 48-7 blowout loss at Alabama.
According to Sports Reference, Arkansas is just the fifth FBS team to play a game without a penalty this season. Army (vs. UTSA), Iowa (vs. Iowa State) and Michigan (vs. Nebraska) each won their penalty-free game, while Georgia Tech lost to Ole Miss despite not being flagged.
There have been 184 penalty free games by FBS teams since 2000, according to Sports Reference, and those teams have a combined record of 103-81 (.560).
Eventful Day for Special Teams
Looking at just the kicking and punting numbers, it was a good day for Arkansas football’s special teams.
Not only did Cam Little go 3 for 3 on field goals and make both of his extra points, but two of his kicks were from 52 and 50 yards. The former was a career long, surpassing the 51-yarders he’s made against Mississippi State the last two seasons, while the latter made it an even more historically significant performance.
The last time an Arkansas kicker made two field goals of at least 50 yards in the same game was Sept. 18, 1976, when Steve Little booted kicks of 53 and 57 yards in a 16-10 win over Oklahoma State.
In the punting game, Max Fletcher had six punts for 328 yards — a 54.7-yard average, which ranks seventh on the UA single-game list. Making that even more impressive is that everyone else on that top-10 list did so on four or fewer punts.
That also improved his season average to 46.9 yards, which would place him second on the UA’s single-season list. He’d rank just ahead of Steve Cox’s 46.5-yard average in 1980 and just behind Greg Horne’s 47.2-yard average in 1986. That figure also ranks third in the SEC and 10th nationally this season.
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, Fletcher’s last two punts — which went 61 and 64 yards — were so long that he actually out-kicked the coverage. That resulted in an 82-yard return for a touchdown and a 43-yard return by Ainias Smith.
On the flip side, Isaiah Sategna had ball security issues as Arkansas’ return man.
His three kickoff returns totaled 82 yards and, more importantly, two of them got the Razorbacks past the 25-yard line and the third was to the 24. His longest was a 36-yarder that could have gone for more, but as he hurdled a Texas A&M player, his knee knocked the ball out of his hands and it went out of bounds.
Sategna got only one punt return opportunity and it was almost disastrous, as he fumbled after a 3-yard return, but teammate Brad Spence recovered it.
KJ Jefferson Record Watch
It was a tough day for the offense and KJ Jefferson did not play as well as usual, but a late 48-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Armstrong helped him break a pair of school records previously held by Matt Jones.
Coming into the game, Jefferson actually shared the UA record for career touchdown responsibility with Jones, but that score pushed him into the top spot by himself with 78. It also gave him 8,408 total yards in his career, moving him ahead of Jones’ 8,392 yards.
Jefferson finished the game 9 of 17 passing for 132 yards and, because of sacks, had minus-3 yards on the ground. Take out the seven sacks and he would’ve had 38 yards on 11 carries.
He is now 146 passing yards shy of becoming the fifth member of Arkansas’ 7,000-yard club, which currently includes only Tyler Wilson (7,765), Ryan Mallett (7,493), Brandon Allen (7,463) and Clint Stoerner (7,422).
The aforementioned score also broke a tie with Stoerner for third on the UA’s career touchdown passes list. He now has 58, which trails only Allen (64) and Mallett (62).
Lineup Changes for Arkansas Football
As expected, the Razorbacks made two changes to their starting lineup — one on each side of the ball.
On offense, redshirt sophomore Devon Manuel got the nod at left tackle for his first career start. He actually played far more snaps at that position against LSU, but came off the bench. Redshirt freshman Andrew Chamblee had started the first four games.
Defensively, true freshman Jaylon Braxton made his second career start at cornerback. He replaced Georgia transfer Jaheim Singletary, who gave up three touchdown passes last week against LSU. The pair had split reps in that game.
It’s also worth noting that Arkansas opened the game in 12-personnel (two tight ends, one running back, two wide receivers) for the second time this season.
Starting alongside true freshman Luke Hasz at tight end was super senior Nathan Bax, giving him his first start of the season. When the Razorbacks opened in that personnel grouping against BYU, Louisville transfer Francis Sherman got the nod. He has not appeared in the last two games despite being on the travel roster.
Arkansas Football Roster Check
Because it was an SEC game, Arkansas football was limited to a 74-man roster for Saturday’s game. (Prior to this year, it was capped at 70 players.)
Based on an attendance check by reporters during pregame warmups, the Razorbacks did not travel 18 scholarship players — the most notable of which was defensive end Jashaud Stewart.
The senior from Jonesboro missed a lot of fall camp and the first two games of the season with a heel injury and was not dressed out at Tuesday’s practice this week.
Two guys who did dress out after missing time with injuries were defensive back Malik Chavis (hand/wrist) and defensive end Quincy Rhodes Jr. (concussion).
The rest of the scholarship players who didn’t travel are either young players not in the game plan or dealing with previously known injuries:
- OL Luke Brown (undisclosed injury, true freshman)
- OL Cole Carson (redshirt sophomore)
- LB Carson Dean (true freshman)
- TE Shamar Easter (true freshman)
- DB Christian Ford (true freshman)
- OL Eli Henderson (redshirt freshman)
- DL JJ Hollingsworth (redshirt freshman)
- WR Dazmin James (true freshman)
- DL Kaleb James (true freshman)
- DB RJ Johnson (true freshman)
- WR Sam Mbake (knee — out for the year)
- DB Quincey McAdoo (neck — out for the year)
- DL Marcus Miller (undisclosed injury)
- OL Paris Patterson (true freshman)
- OL Joey Su’a (undisclosed injury, true freshman)
- OL Terry Wells (torn pectoral — out for the year)
- DB Dallas Young (undisclosed injury, true freshman)
Other Arkansas Football Tidbits
- Texas A&M won the pregame coin toss and deferred, so Arkansas received the opening kickoff.
- The Razorbacks broke out their white helmets with the chrome Razorback logo to go along with red jerseys and white pants. They are now 0-4 in that uniform combination.
- Former Arkansas running back Barry Foster was Arkansas’ honorary captain.
- Attendance was announced as 59,437, which was actually lower than last season (63,580) and ranks ninth out of 12 Arkansas vs Texas A&M games played at AT&T Stadium.
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