Opinion: Morris out as Razorback coach, who’s next?

November 10, 2019

Who do you want to see become the next University of Arkansas coach?

  • Mike Norvell, Memphis (33%, 44 Votes)
  • Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic (23%, 31 Votes)
  • Hugh Freeze, Liberty (8%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 10 Votes)
  • P.J. Fleck, Minnesota (6%, 8 Votes)
  • Matt Campbell, Iowa State (6%, 8 Votes)
  • Mike Leach, Washington State (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Matt Rhule, Baylor (4%, 5 Votes)
  • Eliah Drinkwitz, Appalachian State (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Dave Clawson, Wake Forest (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Luke Feckell, Cincinnati (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Chris Klieman, Kansas State (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 133

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Chad Morris was fired as head coach of the University of Arkansas football program one day after a disastrous 45-19 home loss to Western Kentucky.

The loss dropped the Razorbacks to 2-8 on the season and 4-18 under Morris in just under two seasons. Long-time Arkansas assistant and former player Barry Lunney Jr. has been named interim coach for the two remaining games on the schedule, a Nov. 23 date at No. 1 LSU and a game in Little Rock against Missouri on Nov. 29.

The news began circulating last night after the loss but was made official by the university this morning in an official release. No details of the buyout were included in the release.

For Razorback fans, this will be the second coaching search in as many years and the third since 2012. Arkansas is 1-21 against Southeastern Conference opponents since 2017 and with the program floundering, going 4-4 against non-Power 5 schools under Morris’ watch, the next hire will come at a pivotal time in Razorback football history.

With all of that said, many local and national pundits have already released lists of who they think Arkansas should hire, many are the same names that were bantered about two years ago when Morris was hired. The difference between that hire and this one is the man now in charge of the athletics department at the University of Arkansas — Hunter Yurachek.

So to be perfectly honest, many of these people don’t know what they are talking about, just like me. They can only make guesses and assumptions, like me.

It should noted, that one should not expect a hire until after the completion of the regular season and that many names are going to appear and disappear. Agents will use the Arkansas job to get their clients raises (and will intentionally float their client’s names), boosters will float and leak names in an effort to get momentum for someone of interest to them or to gauge the interest of the fans and out of work coaches will express interest publicly because they have nothing to lose.

With that said, the only tangible evidence that we have to go by into what Yurachek might be thinking is the two hires he has made since taking over the department – Eric Musselman for men’s basketball and Jordyn Wieber for gymnastics.

Musselman came to Arkansas from Nevada where he lead a mid-major program to success. He had previously been an assistant at LSU after years in the professional ranks where he followed his father’s footsteps into coaching at the professional level. Musselman is a high-energy guy that is detail oriented and consistently studies the game.

Wieber is young and without head coaching experience, but was hired after helping guide UCLA to a 2018 national title as a volunteer assistant. She has competed and excelled at the highest levels of her sport, winning a Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics as well as being the U.S. all-around champion in 2011 and 2012. Her name is well-known and well-respected in the gymnastics community instantly creating a buzz for the Razorback program when she was hired.

So what can we take from these hires? Obviously the basketball hire was well-followed by the fans and the media. Musselman was not near the top, nor was he on many of the lists, when the news broke that Mike Anderson had been fired last spring.

Though football is the “cash cow” for the athletic department so the parameters may vary to some degree, but with a mindset along Yurachek’s previous hires, here are a list of candidates, keeping in mind with my analysis that is nothing more than an educated (insert jokes here) guess going on the assumptions that fit that bill of previous Yurachek hires at Arkansas (high energy, competed or coached at highest levels, well-respected in profession, attention to detail).

SILLY NAMES, CROSS THEM OFF NOW

ANAYSIS: I am not going to their backgrounds, Razorback fans should already know them, so I am going to give you a list of names to scratch off now because they are not going to happen, Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino. Sure many long for the good times with those coaches, but not going to happen with either one. And just like last time, I am sure Jon Gruden will be seen in Fayetteville, but not going to happen.

SAME NAMES, PART DEUX

MIKE NORVELL, MEMPHIS

Seemingly the leader out of the gate this time around, Norvell has Arkansas connections having played under Clint Conque at the University of Central Arkansas and starting his coaching career at UCA. His wife is also from the state. After serving as an assistant at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State, Norvell has led Memphis to a 34-15 and two American Athletic Conference Championships. BACKGROUND: Offensive: PROS: Young and energetic. Has Arkansas connections. Continued the success of his predecessor, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente. Reportedly has a low buyout. CONS: Hasn’t built a program from the bottom nor does he have any professional experience. There were rumors floating when his name was bantered about when Morris was hired. Could they still be out there? ANALYSIS: He could wind up in Fayetteville.

MIKE LEACH, WASHINGTON STATE

Leach was a hot name the last time around with many pundits linking him to the Arkansas job. The same this time around. Leach has a career record of 137-88, with a current record of 53-45 in Pullman. He was successful at Texas Tech becoming the school’s all-time wins leader there before controversy ended his tenure in Lubbock. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Leach has only had two losing seasons as a head coach. His first and third seasons at Washington State. Led the Cougars to 11 wins in 2018. CONS: A sub-par 2019 campaign has the Cougars in danger of not reaching a bowl game (only one win in conference). Controversy has also followed him at both stops. ANALYSIS: Too much controversy, to make him the right fit for Arkansas.

GUS MALZAHN, AUBURN

An Arkansas high school coaching legend, was linked to the job the last time around. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: SEC experience. Very well-known in Arkansas. CONS: Used the Arkansas job the last time to get a raise from Auburn. ANALYSIS: Not going to happen. His name is thrown out there because pundits need names to fill copy.

LANE KIFFIN, FLORIDA ATLANTIC

Currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic where his teams have won 11 games in 2017, 5 games in 2018 and set at 7-3 this season. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: SEC experience at a head coach at Tennessee. Head-coaching experience in the NFL. Has some experience in the state having lived in Fayetteville before the age of 5 while has dad, Monte Kiffin, was serving as defensive coordinator under Lou Holtz. CONS: Kiffin is another controversial figure. Hasn’t coach anywhere longer than four seasons. ANALYSIS: Kiffin definitely fits the criteria with NFL experience. He could end up as coach at Arkansas, but much like Leach, will the controversy will cost him a chance in the end?

MIKE GUNDY, OKLAHOMA STATE

It seems that Gundy’s names has been mentioned in every coach in the past decade, probably because it has. ANALYSIS: If hasn’t happened yet, don’t see that changing now.

HIRE HIM IF YOU CAN GET HIM CANDIDATE

BOB STOOPS, DALLAS RENEGADES

The former Oklahoma coach, and current XFL Dallas Renegades coach. BACKGROUND: Defensive. PROS: Won a National Title at Oklahoma. Experience. CONS: Retired from Oklahoma stating he was tired of recruiting. Was linked to Florida State job earlier this week and turned it down. ANALYSIS: Stoops is mentioned because you at least make a call to see if he is interested. If he wants the job, throw the bank at him. Not going to happen though.

LOOKING FOR SECOND-CHANCE CANDIDATES

HUGH FREEZE, LIBERTY

Former Arkansas State and Ole Miss head coach, currently at FBS Liberty University, 5-3 record up to this point. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Did well at Ole Miss including beating Alabama. Coached in the state. CONS: Controversy surrounded his tenure at Ole Miss. ANALYSIS: Freeze would jump at the opportunity to take the job. As with Leach and Kiffin, will the controversial past be what the program needs? He could end up on the Hill, but I don’t see it though Yuracheck was part of the committee that brought Kelvin Sampson to Houston.

RICH RODRIGUEZ, OLE MISS ASSISTANT

Former Arizona and Michigan coach is only mentioned because he was in a national pundit’s top 5 candidates. BACKGROUND: Offensive. ANALYSIS: Going to save the space, he is only being mentioned because he would jump at the opportunity. Name floated and bait taken by pundit. Not going to happen.

GREG SCHIANO, UNEMPLOYED

The former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach appears primed to return to Rutgers. ANALYSIS: Not going to happen.

SONNY DYKES, SMU

The former Louisiana Tech and California coach took over for Chad Morris at SMU. BACKGROUND: Offensive. ANALYSIS: SMU gave Dykes a second chance and he has rewarded the program nicely, I just can’t see Arkansas going back to SMU for this coaching hire.

THE PROVEN UP-AND-COMERS (SUCCEEDED A MORE THAN PROGRAM)

P.J. FLECK, MINNESOTA

The current University of Minnesota and former Western Michigan coach is a hot name everywhere. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Led Western Michigan to the Cotton Bowl and 12-win season before taking over Minnesota where he has led the Gophers to an undefeated mark this season. High energy guy. Former NFL assistant coach. Checks all of the Yurachek boxes. Built programs up. Young. CONS: Just signed a contract extension with a $10 million dollar buyout. ANALYSIS: Just signed a contract extension, so if he name gets mentioned, then you would know he was a serious candidate. He should top every AD’s wish list and with that he could end up in Fayetteville if wants to end up in Fayetteville.

MATT RHULE, BAYLOR

The current Baylor coach has remarkable turnarounds at both Baylor and Temple. BACKGROUND: Multiple. PROS: Turned a once dormant Temple program into a conference champion before taking over a Baylor program that was rocked by scandal. NFL experience. CONS: Could be waiting to take over at Penn State, which could be happening soon if rumors connecting current Penn State coach James Franklin are true. ANALYSIS: Proven to rebuild programs quickly, just what Arkansas needs. Another candidate that if he wants the job, you give it to him. I don’t think it happens because I think the dominoes will fall and ends up in Happy Valley.

MATT CAMPBELL, IOWA STATE

Razorback fans may remember Campbell when his Toledo team came into Little Rock and downed the Razorbacks in 2015. He used that season to get the Iowa State job. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Turned around Toledo and has made Iowa State respectable. Definitely a high energy guy, runs the student section before home games. CONS: Hasn’t pushed Iowa State past the eight-win mark, but not many have. ANALYSIS: Campbell played at Division III powerhouse Mount Union, so there isn’t the lure of coaching at his alma mater. Turned down a chance to interview for the New York Jets in 2018 so seems content in the college game. If he wants the Arkansas job, would be his.

DAVE CLAWSON, WAKE FOREST

Clawson has worked his way through the college ranks and currently has Wake Forest at 7-2 and ranked this season. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Has won conference titles at Fordham, Richmond and Bowling Green. Coached one season as OC at Tennessee. Has taken Wake Forest to three consecutive bowl games. CONS: Never coached west of the Mississippi so his recruiting ties would be on the east coast. ANALYSIS: Not the splashiest as some of the other proven up-and-comers, but would be a solid hire if Arkansas were to gauge his interest.

BRYAN HARSIN, BOISE STATE

Harsin’s name appears because he coached one season at Arkansas State before landing at Boise State, and by default gets mentioned. ANALYSIS: Harsin is from Boise, played quarterback at Boise State and seems to be at home. Yuracheck would surely listen if Harsin was interested, but just can’t see him leaving home.

CHRIS KLIEMAN, KANSAS STATE

Going 69-6, including four FCS National Titles, at North Dakota State got Klieman the job at Kansas State, where he has the Wildcats at 6-3. ANALYSIS: Paid his dues in the lower levels of college coaching before finally getting the opportunity at Kansas State. It would be hard to see Klieman leave after one season at the helm.

LUKE FICKELL, CINCINNATI

Fickell is an intriguing candidate having served as head coach at his alma mater, Ohio State, on interim basis (replacing Jim Tressell). After his one season in which the Buckeyes went 6-7, Fickell stayed on the staff at Ohio State before landing the Cincinnati job in 2017. His Bearcats went 4-8 his first season before going 11-2 in 2018 and 8-1 this season. ANALYSIS: Would be a very intriguing hire to say the least, could he be waiting for Ohio State again if Ryan Day decided to turn his attention back to the professional ranks or would he like an opportunity to prove that Buckeyes wrong? Cincinnati is a future nonconference opponent for Arkansas.

THE UNPROVEN UP-AND-COMERS

TOM ALLEN, INDIANA

Spent one season as assistant head coach at Arkansas State before heading to Ole Miss. ANALYSIS: Has Indiana at 7-2 on the year and that is enough to garner attention, but that is coming back-to-back 5-7 campaigns. He would be reach at this point.

ELIAH DRINKWITZ, APPALACHIAN STATE

Drinkwitz’ name will get a lot of attention just because of his ties to the state. The former Alma Airedale played at Arkansas Tech and was a coach at Alma and Springdale before assistant coaching stops at Auburn, Arkansas State, Boise State and North Carolina State. ANALYSIS: Took over a program that was on very solid ground when Scott Satterfield left for Louisville. In his first season as head coach, he has Mountaineers at 8-1 overall, including a win over South Carolina on Saturday. With only one season for a body of work, this probably not the right time for Drinkwitz.

BILL CLARK, ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM

Clark rebuilt the UAB program from scratch and has went 31-17 at the school, including 6-3 season. The long time high school coach has been in college coaching since 2008. ANALYSIS: Though Clark has done wonders at UAB, his extensive high school background might be a tough sell with Razorback fans after the Morris saga.

BILLY NAPIER, LOUISIANA

The Furman graduate has his Rajin’ Cajuns at 7-2 in his second season as head coach, after a 7-7 campaign last year. ANALYSIS: Spent time as an assistant at both Clemson and Alabama, but his limited experience will turn off many fans.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

This list above is just that, a list. It is like many that you see and read over the coming weeks. Names will be dropped, airplanes will be tracked and the craziness is about to ensue. Could the next coach at Arkansas not be on the list? Absolutely. A fired NFL coach could garner attention. Though I don’t think Arkansas can afford to go with an unproven assistant coach, it could be a hot shot college or pro assistant. One thing is certain, Yurachek will keep things close to his chest and odds are he is been putting together a list already. Other coaching changes will also effect things. One thing is certain, the next coach is going to have to hire a more complete staff, win the press conference with plain talk and not just Twitter hastags, and he is going to have to show a complete commitment to the program and the state. So just hang on the for the ride.

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Razorbacks blast SEMO, 5-0

September 1, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

OXFORD, Miss. – Razorback soccer (2-1-1) concluded their week at the Rebel Classic with a 5-0 win against the SE Missouri State Redhawks (1-2-0) on Sunday afternoon at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. Four different Hogs scored in the match with Arkansas outshooting SEMO by a 29-5 margin.

How It Happened

>> Stefani Doyle got the Razorbacks started early after she went one-on-one with the SEMO ‘keeper, side-stepping her before putting it away on the open goal in the 8th-minute.

>> After knocking on the door with a few opportunities, senior Tori Cannata beat her defender to the left side in the 17th-minute and slotted it to the back post for the 2-0 Razorback lead.

>> In the 37th-minute Kaelee Van Gundy drew a foul for the Razorbacks on the right-hand side setting up a Cannata free kick. Brooke Pirkle would redirect the cross with her head for the third Razorback goal of the half.

>> In the opening minutes of the second half, junior Taylor Malham made a run down the left side, sending in a cross that eventually found Anna Podojil for the goal. It was the freshman’s second-straight match with a goal.

>> Cannata picked up her second goal of the afternoon after going lower right corner on a free kick from a couple yards outside the box in the 57th-minute.

The Run of Play

After Doyle’s goal in the opening eight minutes put the Razorbacks on the board, SEMO countered in the 11th-minute with a shot that would eventually fall short of Arkansas’ far post. Haley VanFossen cleared it out of bounds for the Redhawks corner, but nothing came of it.

Cannata was able to get on the end of a Razorback cross with her head, but the SEMO ‘keeper made a diving save to her right to show it away. Cannata kept pushing in the 17th-minute, taking on a defender and putting a strike across goal for the 2-0 Arkansas edge. Pirkle snuck in her header before the end of the first 45 minutes.

Arkansas continued to pour it on in the second half, adding goals by Podojil and Cannata, her second, as the run of play stayed in the SEMO defensive half for most of the final 45 minutes.

Hear it from Coach Hale

“It was a good weekend and we will take away some confidence in some areas and identify areas we need to grow in others. The match today was improvement. I think the players will be pleased with their performance.”

Next Up

The Razorbacks will be back in Fayetteville for a home stint when they host Lamar and McNeese State next week. First kick against Lamar on Thursday will be at 7 p.m., while the match against McNeese State next Sunday is slated for 1 p.m. Both matches will be televised on SEC Network+.

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Razorbacks finish third at Carmel Cup

September 1, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Julian Perico fired three rounds in the 60’s to finish runner-up and Mason Overstreet carded a 66 on Sunday to tie for third as both Razorbacks had career-bests for scores in relation to par. Arkansas posted a final-round 13-under-par 347 to finish third at the Carmel Cup, played at historic Pebble Beach Golf Links (par 72 – 6,828 yards).

The -28 team score, which the Hogs posted at last year’s Carmel Cup, ties for fourth best in relation to par by a Razorback squad all time Arkansas’ score of -13 Sunday ties for the fifth best in relation to par in school history, matching the team’s second round score at Pebble Beach last season.

Texas Tech won the eight-team event with a three-round score of 1,045. Oklahoma, which led after rounds one and two, finished second (1,051), one stroke ahead of Arkansas (1,052). Rounding out the field was Georgia (1,063), TCU (1,080), Oklahoma State (1,083), Mississippi State (1,083) and Vanderbilt (1,089).

Perico finished runner-up with rounds of 68-68-67 for a 54-hole score of 203, which ranks sixth best in school history. However, Perico’s three-round total of 13-under-par ties his career best (shooting 13-under with a school-record 197 in winning the par 70 Jerry Pate Invitational last fall). The 13-under par total ties for third best in the Razorback record book. After 15 collegiate events, Perico had recorded four Top 5 finishes and 15 rounds in the 60’s.

The freshman shot a bogey-free 67 Sunday, carding four birdies on the front nine and one on the back. Like yesterday, he moved into the lead with his birdie on 12 but settled for a runner-up finish after finishing with six pars. He finished with 15 birdies and his 4.83 scoring average on the par 4’s was second best in the field for the weekend.

Overstreet, who tied for third with scores of 68-71-66 (205), carded two eagles on Sunday as he led the field in par 5 scoring (4.33) for the weekend. He finished the day with a 6-under-par 66 and ended the event at 11-under par, which is a career-best for the senior. The 11-under also ties for ninth on the Razorback all-time list in relation to par. Overstreet now has 27 career rounds in the 60’s and has posted a round of 66 or better seven times.

William Buhl climbed six spots to place 11th (tied) at -5 (71-72-67=210). Buhl, like Perico, turned in a bogey-free round of 67, posting four birdies on the front nine and one on the back. The 67 is Buhl’s best round in this his fourth trip to Pebble Beach as was his score of -6 (210). His score of -6 in relation to par is his second best while Buhl posted his 15th career Top 20 finish.

Tyson Reeder finished in a tie for 17th with a 2-under-par total of 214 (73-67-74). Dating back to last season, Reeder has finished an event under par in three of his last five tournaments. Luis Garza tied for 33rd (73-74-73=220) and Mauricio Figueroa was 42nd (79-78-75=241).

The Razorbacks return to action in seven days, playing in the annual Gopher Invitational Aug. 8-9. The Razorbacks have won the event twice and William Buhl is defending individual medalist.

For more information on Arkansas Men’s Golf, follow @RazorbackMGolf on Twitter.

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Razorbacks open season with Win over Portland State

August 31, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

FAYETTEVILLE — The Razorbacks (1-0) beat Portland State (0-1), 20-13, at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium Saturday. Touchdowns on the ground from Devwah Whaley and Rakeem Boyd, along with three Hog interceptions, were enough to grab a win in the season opener.

Big Plays

Arkansas 3 – Portland State 3

Following a six-play, 42-yard drive, senior K Connor Limpert knocked through a 34-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 9:40 left in the first quarter.

Arkansas 10 – Portland State 3

​Senior RB Devwah Whaley scored Arkansas’ first touchdown of the 2019 season, punching it in from one yard out with 3:19 left to play in the first quarter. It was Whaley’s 13th-career touchdown, and his first since Arkansas played at Colorado State (9/8/18) last season.

Arkansas 10 – Portland State 6

On third and long, Arkansas forced its first turnover on the young season, as junior SS Kamren Curl continued his excellent day by nabbing his first-career interception. Curl also had two sacks in the first half. ​​

Arkansas 10 – Portland State 6

Junior QB Nick Starkel connects with ​​freshman WR Trey Knox for 38 yards, the Razorbacks longest reception of the game. It was also the longest reception by a true freshman since Devwah Whaley hauled in a 43-yard pass against Florida back in 2016.

Arkansas 10 – Portland State 6

Sophomore CB Jarques McClellion nabbed his first-career interception playing with 7:25 to go in the third period. The second INT of the day for the Hogs shifted second half momentum back to the Razorbacks.

Arkansas 10 – Portland State 6

Sophomore WR Mike Woods put him on SKATES! The 15-yard reception was the long on the day for the second-year player, and drew quite the reaction from the Razorback faithful.

Arkansas 17 – Portland State 6

Junior RB Rakeem Boyd scored Arkansas’ second touchdown on the day, breaking through from two yards out with 2:20 left to go in the third quarter. The score would give the Hogs an 11-point cushion over Portland State as the two teams headed down the stretch.

Arkansas 20 – Portland State 13

Sophomore FS Joe Foucha sealed Arkansas’ opening day win, intercepting Portland State for the third time in the game. It was Arkansas’ first three interception performance since 2014, when they picked off Ole Miss three times.

For more information on Arkansas football, including in-game updates, follow @Razorbackfb on Twitter.

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Three Hogs in Top 10 at Carmel Cup

August 31, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – For the second consecutive day, Arkansas sophomore Julian Perico fired a 4-under-par 68 while senior Tyson Reeder carded a bogey-free, 5-under 67 at the Carmel Cup, played at Pebble Beach Golf Links (par 72 – 6,828 yards). The Razorbacks were 8-under in round two and stand in third place with a 36-hole score of 705 (-15).

Oklahoma holds the lead after two rounds, shooting a 10-under 350 Saturday and stands at 21-under (699) through 36 holes. Texas Tech turned in the best round of the day (-17) and moved up one spot to second with a score of 701. The Razorbacks (-15) and Georgia (-6) are the only teams under par after two days.

Perico is one stroke out of the lead after posting his second straight 68. He shared the lead most of the back nine after recording birdies on holes 10, 11 and 12. He finished his round with six straight pars and leader Garrett Reband (Oklahoma) had a birdie on the 17th hole to take the one-stroke lead. Overall, Perico had five birdies and leads the field on par 4 scoring with an average of 3.80.

Reeder was the big mover for the Razorbacks Saturday, climbing 11 spots into a tie for 10th thanks to his bogey-free round of 67. The senior got off to a strong start with an eagle on the par 5, second hole. He then birdied the fourth hole. He added birdies on holes 10 and 13 and finished with 14 pars. He has 26 pars through 36 holes – the third-best total in the field. Reeder, like Perico, is one of the field’s best playing the par 4’s with a scoring average of 3.85.

Mason Overstreet used four birdies to shoot a 1-under-par 71 Saturday. He remains in the top 10 with a 36-hole score of 5-under-par 139.

William Buhl offset four bogeys with four birdies for an even-par round of 72. He is in 17t place with a 36-hole total of 143 (-1). Luis Garza turned in a 2-over-par 74, collecting 16 pars and two bogeys on the day. Despite being tied for 29th place standing, Garza leads the field with 28 pars through 36 holes. Freshman Mauricio Figueroa is tied for 46th (79-79-158).

The third and final round will be played Sunday (Sept. 1).

For more information on Arkansas Men’s Golf, follow @RazorbackMGolf on Twitter.

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Razorbacks battle Back to Complete Weekend Sweep

August 31, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

FAYETTEVILLE – Trailing by two sets in its final match of the Arkansas Classic, the University of Arkansas Volleyball team ignited a fire and battled back to win the final three sets and defeat opponent Montana State, 3-2 on Saturday morning. The Razorbacks’ win helped them claim the tournament title for the second consecutive year after defeating Northwestern State and Little Rock on Friday.

FINAL
Arkansas 3, Montana State 2 (20-25, 28-30, 25-15, 25-18, 15-13)
Attendance: 405 | Time: 2:30
Barnhill Arena

Quick Hits
Stat Leaders vs Montana State
Kills: Jillian Gillen – 26
Digs: Gillen, Rachel Rippee, Gracie Ryan – 13
Double-Doubles: Gillen (26 kills, 13 digs), Rippee (31 assists, 13 digs), Ryan (26 assists, 13 digs)

Notables
Freshman Jillian Gillen joins the elite list of 25+ kill performances, she is one of 22 players all-time at Arkansas.
Sophomore Ellease Crumpton posted 11 kills behind a match-high .688 hitting percentage.

It was a slow start for the Razorbacks on Saturday morning, always within a few points of the Bobcats, Arkansas just couldn’t manage to pull ahead of Montana State. MSU dominated the entire first set as Arkansas was unable to make up for its errors, both offensively and defensively. Eight service errors and double-digit attack and reception errors would prevent the Hogs from ever starting a rally.

Things began to turn in favor of the Hogs in the third set, as Arkansas recorded 16 kills and a .367 hitting percentage. Arkansas took the first two points of the set with back-to-back kills from Gillen and freshman Maggie Cartwright. Gillen and Cartwright would each contribute four kills apiece in the third set and the Razorback defense held Montana State to only five kills total in the third, hitting only .030 at the net.

Arkansas kept the pressure on the Bobcats, throwing down 17 kills and recording four service aces, one each from Rippee, Crumpton, Gillen, and Cartwright. After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Hogs looked to have the fourth set in the bag, but five unanswered points by Montana tied the score at 16-16 late in the set. Arkansas maintained its composure and closed out the set on a 9-2 run.

The Hogs and Bobcats went back and forth in the fifth set with Montana State holding onto an 8-6 lead at the break. Leading 14-13, down to the wire, Cartwright served up the only Razorback ace in the set, helping the Hogs secure the 15-13 final set win.

Arkansas will practice early next week as they prepare for a trip to the west coast for the SDSU/USD Challenge in San Diego, Calif. hosted by San Diego State.

ResultsSet ScoresBox Score
Montana State 3 – Little Rock 025-11, 25-11, 25-21Box Score
Arkansas 3 – Northwestern State 225-18, 25-20, 25-18Box Score
Northwestern State 3 – Montana State 225-22, 16-25, 16-25, 28-26, 15-13Box Score
Arkansas 3 – Little Rock 025-20, 25-21, 25-12Box Score
Arkansas 3 – Montana State 220-25, 28-30, 25-15, 25-18, 15-13Box Score
Northwestern State 3 – Little Rock 025-20, 25-17, 25-17Box Score
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No. 8 Arkansas wins Hurricane Invitational

 Pos.ArkansasTime
1Abby Gray12:46
2Isabel Van Camp12:58
3Quinn Owen13:00
8Adoette Vaughn13:02
14Greta Taylor13:31
 Pos.Team ResultsScore
1Arkansas28
2Tulsa46
3Oklahoma69
4Oklahoma State81

August 31, 2019

By ARKANSAS SPORTS INFORMATION

TULSA, Okla. – The No. 8 Razorback women’s cross country team wrapped up the first meet of the season claiming the team title with a score of 28-points, paced by individual champion Abby Gray, Saturday morning at the Hurricane Invitational hosted at Mowhawk Sports Complex.

“I was super excited to see them get out there and compete today,” said head coach Lance Harter.

“We had a lot of new faces, but the one veteran that reappeared was Abby Gray. Today’s meet was a great breakthrough for her to be able to take command of a race midway through the meet, and being able to capitalize on a win and hopefully that gives her confirmation of how much she worked this summer to get back to her old form and the payoff started today and hopefully it’ll continue in the weeks to come.”

Abby Gray had a breakthrough performance, leading the Razorbacks with a first-place finish needing only 12 minutes, 46 seconds to complete the two-mile course in Tulsa.

“Isabel Van Camp, Quinn Owen, and Adoette Vaughn were three freshmen who made their debuts in uniform and had very positve efforts on the course.  The whole theme of the race was to just be competitive. I didn’t care about time or place really, I just wanted them to go out and be competitive,” Harter continued.

“Overall I’m very pleased with our performance today. We’ll go back to work for a few weeks and rejoin their teammates and hopefully, everyone rises to the occasion for our next meet on Sept. 21.” Harter finished.

Following Gray, were the aforementioned Van Camp (12:58) and Owen (13:00) who finished second and third, respectively. Rounding out the scoring for the Razorbacks were Vaughn (13:02) and Greta Taylor (13:31) in eighth and 14th-place.

Next up for the Razorbacks will be a split trip to the site of the 2019 NCAA Championships, The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, for the John McNichols Invite on Sat, Sept. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. and the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo.

For more information on Arkansas Cross Country including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.

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