The Arkansas Razorbacks may have been too loose in pregame warm-ups ahead of their encounter with the San Jose State Spartans, which the Hogs dropped 31-24 Saturday night at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
According to coach Chad Morris, he could tell something inauspicious was in the air when he saw how some of his players were getting ready for the game on the field.
” I was a little concerned in pregame warm-ups to be honest with you,” Morris told reporters. “I thought we were a little too loose. I thought it was a little too giddy. And I made comment of that.”
The Spartans produced 503 yards of total offense along with 27 first downs and five takeaways. San Jose State edged Arkansas in time of possession 30:54 to 29:06, but more importantly, cashed in on their red zone trips going 3-of-4 compared to the Hogs’ 1-of-3.
Said Morris: “We’re not good enough. We’re not good enough to be able come out and just walk out on the field with a Razorback logo on your helmet and expect you’re going to win. You’ve got to show up and play and we didn’t show up and play, in no phase of it.”
Even though quarterback Nick Starkel threw five interceptions, which Morris acknowledged were “uncharacteristic” of the junior signal caller, as were his 50 pass attempts, the Argyle, Texas, product believed he was ready for the challenge.
“Personally, I felt like I was ready for the game, but I understand,” Starkel said. “[Morris] came up and he talked to us and he said that there were a couple of guys that were just messing around, might not have been ready to play and he tried to put us into check.
“Obviously, San Jose State, they were ready to play and they showed up from the first snap.”
Senior quarterback Josh Love picked apart the Hogs defense, completing 32-of-49 for 402 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. His favorite target was junior receiver Tre Walker, who hauled in 12 passes for 161 yards.
“I mean, I thought we was ready, but obviously we weren’t because from the start of the game, we was chasing them,” Arkansas safety Kamren Curl said. “We was down from the start of the game. So obviously we wasn’t ready.”
The Spartans jumped out to a 24-7 lead that the Razorbacks finally chipped away at with a 48-yard Connor Limpert field goal with 5:01 to go in the third quarter.
“I love the fight,” Morris said. “We come back and tie the game and here we go. I really thought, as bad as we played we’re fixing to win this football game. And we couldn’t finish it.”
The Razorbacks will get a chance to have more focused pregame warm-ups against the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium next Saturday for the Southwest Classic. Like Arkansas, Texas A&M is 2-2 and looking to notch their first win in Southeastern Conference play.