Razorback Report: Injury History After Victory
FAYETTEVILLE — Unfortunately for University of Arkansas safety Jalen Catalon and the Razorbacks, his comeback season only lasted one game.
Catalon will miss the rest of the season, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman confirmed on Saturday after injuring his shoulder in last week’s opener against Cincinnati.
Arkansas’ 31-24 win over the Bearcats marked Catalon’s return to the roster after missing the final seven games last season following shoulder surgery.
Pittman said Catalon, a redshirt junior and a preseason Associated Press All-American, suffered another shoulder injury that will require surgery and cause him to miss the rest of the season.
“Catalon is having shoulder surgery – reconstructive surgery – so he’s not coming back this year,” Pittman said after the No. 16 Razorbacks beat South Carolina 44-30 on Saturday. “I feel for him.”
Catalonia was not in Saturday’s game.
“We’ve had conversations and I’m going to let him walk away from the building a bit,” Pittman said. “I mean, he’s down.
“You would be too if you put in all that work for two years and you’re not able to play.”
Catalon’s last full season dates back to 2020, when he had 99 tackles and 3 interceptions in 10 games, all against SEC teams. He earned first-team All-SEC honors.
Catalon had eight tackles last week before leaving early in the third quarter, giving him a career total of 159 in 21 games.
Junior safety Myles Slusher, who missed Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed injury he suffered against Cincinnati, is expected to return for next week’s game against Missouri State, the coach said. Sam Pittman.
“He was close to being back this week, but we just thought it was safer for him to come back next week,” Pittman said. “He will be back next week.”
Arkansas senior tight end Trey Knox came out of Saturday’s game with 48 seconds left in the third quarter and did not return.
“Trey had an ankle [issue] get into the game,” coach Sam Pittman said. “I think he’s held up pretty well, but we also need to get him back to good health.
“We’re a bit tired, but I think with our schedule, you’ll stay that way. We just have to understand it.
Nathan Bax, a fifth-year senior and former walk-on, played tight end with junior Hudson Henry after Knox left the game.
Knox had a catch for a 5-yard gain on a shovel pass from KJ Jefferson.
Senior safety Simeon Blair captained the Razorbacks for Saturday’s pre-game draw in place of injured Jalen Catalon.
“Blair was the second highest voter for captain, so we made him captain. [Friday] in our team meeting,” coach Sam Pittman said. “The team was delighted with that.
“I had also spoken to Cat about it, and Cat had spoken to me about it, that since [Catalon] won’t be able to come back this year, that it would be nice if Blair could be captain.
“It’s fair, because he was the next to get votes.”
The other Arkansas captains are junior quarterback KJ Jefferson, senior offensive tackle Dalton Wagner and senior linebacker Bumper Pool.
Lots of flags
Arkansas was penalized 10 times for 122 yards, including three calls for hands to the face.
Those 15-yard penalties went to defensive linemen Cam Ball, Luke Jackson and Jordan Domineck.
“Hands to face…I definitely haven’t seen that in practice and I watch every rep of everything – one-on-one, individual and team,” Pittman said. “I don’t believe we’ve had one before, but we need to clean it up.”
Senior Latavious Brini, a transfer from Georgia, made his first start at a Razorback, replacing Jalen Catalon.
Arkansas junior defensive back Khari Johnson made his second career start in place of Myles Slusher, who was also injured last week.
It was the second career start for Johnson. His first start was at Auburn in 2020.
South Carolina cornerback O’Donnell Fortune was called on target when he had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson with 1:53 left in the second quarter.
But after a video review, officials determined he wasn’t aiming, which spared South Carolina a 15-yard penalty and allowed Fortune to stay in the game.
If the penalty had stood, Arkansas would have had a first down at the South Carolina 13.
Instead, the Razorbacks had the ball at 25 from the Gamecocks, and the drive ended with a missed 50-yard field goal attempt by Cam Little.
Hornsby at RB
Arkansas backup quarterback Malik Hornsby lined up at running back in the second quarter and had a run for 8 yards.
Hornsby lined up at wide receiver last week against Cincinnati and got a side pass designed for him to pass downfield, but instead held the ball and ran for a 13-yard gain.
Arkansas got a safety in the fourth when South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler was called for an intentional grounding in the end zone.
Defensive end Jordan Domineck was credited with a sack on the play.
It was Arkansas’ first safety since 2015 against Toledo.
Junior offensive lineman Ty’Kieast Crawford got a few snaps at right tackle in the fourth quarter when senior starter Dalton Wagner earned a break.
Coach Sam Pittman said Crawford deserved to play and made sure he had shots on Saturday after he didn’t play on offense last week against Cincinnati.
Arkansas improved to 11-20 in SEC openers and won back-to-back openers for the first time since 2003 and 2004, as well as last season’s 20-10 victory over Texas A&M.
Versus. Caroline from the south
Arkansas improved to 14-10 against South Carolina, including 6-2 at Fayetteville.
Both teams joined the SEC for the 1992 season and played every year from 1992 to 2013 when Arkansas held a 12-10 advantage.
Missouri, which joined the SEC with Texas A&M in 2013, became Arkansas’ annual opponent from the East beginning in 2014.
Prior to Saturday, Arkansas had lost three straight to the Gamecocks.
The Razorbacks last win against South Carolina was in 2011 when they beat the Gamecocks 44-28 in Fayetteville.
Arkansas men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman received an 8-foot, custom-built, hand-built surfboard on the court during the second quarter in recognition of his team’s participation in the Maui Invitational this season.
Arkansas will face Louisville in the Razorbacks Maui Invitational opener on Nov. 21 at the Lahaina Civic Center. Tipoff will be at 4 p.m. Central with the game televised on ESPN2.
For the queen
The flags of the United States and Arkansas were lowered to half-mast on Saturday in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarch who died Thursday at the age of 96.
President Joe Biden ordered the flags lowered out of respect for the Queen’s memory.
not so special
South Carolina placekicker Mitch Jeter missed an extra run attempt in the second quarter after a low snap from Hunter Rogers and Kai Kroeger kicked a punt that went 21 yards in the first quarter.
South Carolina then had a kick in play after the Gamecocks closed at 35-24 with 6:25 remaining.
Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool lined up the kick at South Carolina’s 43 with no one on the covering team near him and returned it 34 yards to the Gamecocks’ 9.
Pool’s return set up a touchdown run by AJ Green that pushed Arkansas’ lead to 41-24 with 6 minutes to go.
The Gamecocks then recovered an onside kick for their final possession.
South Carolina’s errors came a week after the Gamecocks excelled on special teams in their 35-14 win over Georgia State.
The Gamecocks scored two touchdowns on blocked punts against Georgia State, had another touchdown set up by a fake field goal, and Kroeger was named Ray Guy Punter of the Week after averaging 49.1 yards in seven attempts.
Arkansas and South Carolina each have assistant coaches who previously worked at the other school.
Deke Adams, in his first season as the Razorbacks defensive line coach, held the same position with the Gamecocks from 2013-15.
Justin Stepp is in his second season as South Carolina’s wide receivers coach after serving in the same role at Arkansas from 2018-2020.