By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – From the outside looking in, the Arkansas offense has put up some pretty big numbers, but the Razorbacks have left points on the table, their quarterback says.
That’s what Tyler Wilson wants to change against an Ole Miss team that surrendered 52 points to No. 2 Alabama last week.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino replaced the rocket-armed Ryan Mallett with Wilson, last season’s backup, and the result has been a unit that ranks eighth nationally in passing and leads the SEC in passing offense and total offense.
At 39.17 points a game, the Razorbacks are about a half point out of the SEC lead in scoring offense as well. Arkansas has put up at least 38 points on each team it has faced except Alabama. The Crimson Tide dealt the Razorbacks their only loss, 38-14, in the SEC opener for both teams.
“I feel like there’s a lot (of offense) left out there,” says Wilson, a 6-foot-3 junior from Greenwood, Ark. “In the Auburn game, there were a couple of checks I missed, especially early in the game. That could have put more points on the board and given us a lead instead of having to fight from behind.”
The Razorbacks had enough in the tank to beat Auburn 38-14, largely because of Wilson, who completed 24 of 36 passes for 262 yards. He threw one touchdown pass and rushed for another.
Wilson’s 1,779 passing yards are 13th in the NCAA, first in the SEC. His 64.9 completion percentage ranks third in the league. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
During one stretch against Auburn Wilson completed 18 straight, a completions streak that ties for third-longest in SEC history.
Earlier this season Wilson passed for a school-record 510 yards against Texas A&M, the highest single-game total in the nation this year.
Wilson has shared the wealth in the offense with five different players with at least 14 catches, and another key target, wide receiver Greg Childs, getting healthier each week.
“I’ll tell you what, that is a pro offense, and they are very multiple in formations,” Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyone Nix said. “They understand the passing game. They do a great job of scheming. He is a heck of a coach. His record shows that, and they’re offensive statistics show that.”
Wilson brushed off the Rebels’ margin of defeat against Alabama because of the quality of the opponent.
Arkansas had an open date last week, and Wilson said he benefitted from watching Ole Miss on TV.
“You get to see some stuff on TV that you normally don’t see. You kind of see the flow of the game and that kind of stuff as you’re watching on TV that you don’t see in the film room,” he said.
Wilson played briefly against Ole Miss in relief of Mallett last year. He completed 3-of-5 passes for 71 yards in the Razorbacks’ 38-24 win in Fayetteville. It was Arkansas’ first win in three tries against their former coach, Houston Nutt.
Wilson sent notice last year that the transition from Mallett might not be too bad when he threw four touchdown passes at Auburn.
Offensive lineman Matt Hall, who roomed with Wilson at Arkansas before transferring to Ole Miss, knew about Wilson well before then.
“I’m not surprised,” Hall said. “I had no doubt about the type of person he is, the type of quarterback. He’s great. He’s put the time and effort into it.”