We now have two worst losses in the history of Razorback football. The Citadel in 1992 and, now, San Jose State in 2019. Which one is actually worse is splitting hairs. They’re both terrible.
The Citadel loss ended up costing then head coach Jack Crowe his job, right after the game. It’s doubtful current Hogs coach Chad Morris will lose his job immediately after this 31-24 embarrassment, but it will be cited as the worst loss of his last season if he gets fired later this fall.
Speculation about how far this program has fallen, even relative to the end of the Bret Bielema era — and what that should mean for the current staff — can wait for the coming days. For now, below is Chad Morris’ first interview after the loss to the Spartans at home on Saturday night.
It’s with the Razorback Sports Network radio team, including play-by-play man Chuck Barrett and color commentator Quinn Grovey.
Chad Morris: “Just disappointed. Totally disappointed. … you get what you deserve and we didn’t deserve to win that ballgame. We had too many turnovers. We had opportunities, too, on fourth down and couldn’t convert.”
“We allowed them to go down the field on us and have a quarterback have a career night. That is very disappointing, very disheartening. We got a chance, we fought back, we got the score tied and we allowed them to go down to score, go down the field in just under a minute and a half and, score a touchdown.”
Chuck Barrett: “You mentioned the fourth down plays. Do you feel like maybe those are the plays that that kind of gave San Jose maybe a shot in the arm, gave them a little more confidence?”
Chad Morris: “Well, I thought once tied it up, we were going to win the ballgame. I just I felt that. I felt that like we had the momentum, and we get a couple of calls that don’t go our way, but hey, that’s part of the game. We got them backed up and then let them convert… they made some plays and we didn’t.”
Quinn Grovey: “Nick Starkel had 50 passes tonight. The five picks I know are going to be lamented. Could you talk a little bit about his performance and what you feel like you have to do at that spot moving forward if you’re going to be where you want to be.”
Chuck Barrett: “I think about last week and the way you responded, the way you challenged your team after the Ole Miss ballgame. Do you do something similar now with them?”
Chad Morris: “I do think this is a big point and a big week for our program. I mean, we’re going to Dallas and going to play a really tough Texas A&M team, but again, it’s about us. I’ve said it from the get go. It’s about how we play, not who we play, and we didn’t play very well tonight.”
The above is the easiest interview Morris will do in the following days. In the coming week, he’ll get much harder questions from media and fans alike.
They deserve real answers, not dithering coach speak. Where are Morris’ admissions of his own coaching mistakes? Especially the defense’s inability to corral the curl routes that SJSU ran over and over all night?
If you aren’t accountable for coaching gaffes, how can you expect your players to be accountable for lapses in effort, execution and mental soundness?
Watch Morris try to explain everything in his post-game press conference below:
Live look inside club dub. pic.twitter.com/ilTAKwQ1DW— Derek Ruscin???? (@RuscinIsRanting) September 22, 2019
What are the Worst Losses in Razorback History?
This one’s up there. Wayyy up there. As beat reporter Andrew Hutchinson points out, San Jose State came into this game a lot worse than other Group of Five teams that have toppled the Hogs in the past.
“The Spartans had won just four of their previous 27 games. They came into the game No. 115 (Bill Connelly’s SP+), No. 119 (ESPN’s FPI) and No. 122 (The Athletic) by various 1-130 rankings for all the FBS,” Hutchinson wrote.
“The SP+ and FPI each gave Arkansas an 88 percent chance to win the game, while it closed as a 20.5-point favorite in Vegas. After seemingly turning a corner by pulling out a late victory over Colorado State, this was expected to be a warmup before playing Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium.”
Hutchinson lists the following as his “top” 10 losses in the SEC era of Hogs football history:
- Sept. 21, 2019 – San Jose State 31, Arkansas 24
- Sept. 15, 2018 – North Texas 44, Arkansas 17
- Sept. 5, 1992 – The Citadel 10, Arkansas 3
- Oct. 22, 2016 – No. 21 Auburn 56, No. 17 Arkansas 3
- Sept. 8, 2012 – Louisiana-Monroe 34, No. 8 Arkansas 31 (OT)
- Sept. 2, 1995 – SMU 17, Arkansas 14
- Sept. 8, 2018 – Colorado State 34, Arkansas 27
- Sept. 12, 2015 – Toledo 16, No. 18 Arkansas 12
- Sept. 26, 1992 – Memphis 22, Arkansas 6
- Dec. 29, 2016 – No. 22 Virginia Tech 35, Arkansas 24
You may quibble with the order here, but this is a pretty solid “worst 10.” The worst part of it all? Half of the list has come in the last four seasons.
“It’s amazing how far this once proud program has fallen,” Trey Biddy of HawgSports said. “And I don’t know that it’s going to recover at this point.”
“You can throw out any excuse you want — it’s a rebuild, it’s a young team, you got to get more players in here. You should never lose a game at the University of Arkansas, especially [at home], to a Mountain West team.”
“It should never happen. Not in year one or year two, but especially not in year two.”
“There’s no healthy way to look at this anymore. There’s not a healthy way to look at this situation. All that’s out the window.”
Longtime beat reporter Trey Biddy doesn’t pull any punches in his post mortem. commentary. Watch his on-point analysis in the video below:
Razorback players are already beginning to change their habits in response to this loss. Here’s the most dramatic example:
For more on the aftermath of the San Jose State loss, check my post: