FAYETTEVILLE — Some in the national media have been somewhat critical of No. 10 Arkansas’ 38-27 comeback win against Missouri State on Saturday night in Fayetteville.
Sam Pittman made a fair point that on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, Oklahoma State defeated Missouri State 23-16 in Stillwater. The Cowboys finished the season 12-2, lost to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game and then downed Notre Dame 37-35 in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Well, I mean, they had a good scheme on us,” Pittman said. “We came out of the gate not covering and not tackling, is what happened. But they had a really good scheme, and their quarterback was fantastic. Really good player. This team, Missouri State got beat 23-16 at Oklahoma State last year. They got beat by seven. And Oklahoma State was No. 7 and went to the Fiesta Bowl, beat Notre Dame. Might be they’ve got a pretty good team.
“Now, we can’t turn the ball over, and we’ve got to get better at tackling, get better at covering and all those type–We have to. But it might be you take the logo off and you put somebody else’s logo on there and you’d say, ‘Man, we didn’t play very well, but thank God we got the win.’ I’m pretty sure it didn’t flaw Oklahoma State’s season when they went to the Big 12 Championship and to the Fiesta Bowl. I think they’re a good team with a good– It shouldn’t have been that way. But but you’ve got to give them credit. They were well-coached. They came out, they had a Thursday night game so they had a couple extra days. It’s like anything in sport: If you have a reason, and they had a reason. It was, ‘We’re down the road, not very far, Coach (Bobby) Petrino.’ You have a reason, they’re hard to beat if you don’t play well, and we didn’t. A lot if it was because they made us look bad as well.”
Pittman added to his thoughts from Saturday night about the game after watching film.
“I thought our defensive line played well,” Pittman said. “I’ll put it in a nutshell for you: We didn’t tackle well as a team. We’re having a hard time covering opponents. We’ve had that the entire year. On offense, you can’t turn the ball over three and get none on defense. So, three to nothing took that 99 percent computer winning to 11, and that’s about what it felt like out there. On offense, we had a lot of really good performances. I thought our line played well. We have to throw a little better and catch a little better, but we can’t turn the ball over. That’s what we did. In a nutshell, our special teams helped us. We still have a couple penalties in there hopefully we can get fixed. We’ll try our best today to get that fixed, but that’s really what I saw. We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t tackle well. On offense, we turned the football over. That’s kind of what happened. Luckily, we got out with a win.”
Arkansas will be in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday to take on No. 23 Texas A&M at 6 p.m. in AT&T Stadium and televised on ESPN.