The family of Garrett Uekman, the redshirt freshman tight end who died during the 2011 season, was honored in halftime ceremonies Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. The Catholic High star played his high school games at War Memorial. He died Nov. 20, 2011, the day after Arkansas defeated Mississippi State in Little Rock. He was found unresponsive in his dorm room and an autopsy revealed he had a previously undetected heart condition called cardiomyopathy. The family received a framed No. 88 jersey from UA Athletic Director Jeff Long. Also, T-shirts with No. 88 on the back were given to students, courtesy of the Garrett Uekman Foundation and the University’s Associated Student Government. The foundation raises funds for heart disease research and education and funds scholarships for deserving student-athletes.
A lot of questions were evident following the Razorback loss to Louisiana-Monroe, but none bigger than the injury report. Tyler Wilson did not come out of the locker room for the second half and the only information provided was that his injury was “above the shoulders.” That’s the same report that coaches provided after the season opener when Cobi Hamilton returned to the sideline in street clothes after a hit in the first half. Two Razorbacks — Tevin Mitchel and Kody Walker — were carted away. Mitchel also was reported to have an injury above the shoulders. TV personnel on the field said he was responsive to medical personnel when the cart left the field. As for Walker, it appeared to be a left ankle, although the official report was that he had a leg injury.
Wilson’s short night
Tyler Wilson, who got preseason mention as a Heisman Trophy candidate, probably lost that designation and a lot more Saturday evening. Wilson did not return after halftime with an injury, completing 11 of 20 for 196 yards in the first half. Going into the ULM game, he was tied for fifth in the nation in passing yardage per game at 367. He held the same spot in yardage per play with 12.17, which led the SEC. In total offense, his Jacksonville State performance put him at ninth in the nation with 365 yards. That was No. 1 in the SEC.
Wideout Cobi Hamilton kept his league-leading streak alive for consecutive games with a reception, making it 24 straight against the Warhawks of ULM. He had six catches for 99 yards on Saturday. Hamilton, who left the season opener with a neck injury in the first quarter, entered the ULM game tied for the 12th longest active streak for receptions in consecutive games. He went into Saturday’s game averaging 90.7 yards per game and 24.7 yards per reception. Hamilton, a senior from Texarkana, Texas, is a contender for the Belitnikoff Award.
Arkansas, No. 8 going into the ULM game, might fall out of the polls will fall this week after being ranked in the top 10 for 13 straight Associated Press polls dating back to Oct. 2, 2011. The Razorbacks were set for a match-up of Top 10 teams Saturday against Alabama in Fayetteville. The new rankings will be released Sunday.
Knile in the Rock
Junior running back Knile Davis managed only 62 yards on 16 carries on Saturday.
In his last Little Rock appearance, Davis rushed for 152 yards on 30 carries, which is tied for his most carries in a game. That was against then-No. 6 LSU in 2010. Davis missed the 2011 season with an injury. Despite a year off, Davis was named to three prestigious award watch lists prior to this season: the Doak Walker, Maxwell, and Walter Camp awards.
Two New Starters
Senior transfer Kaelon Kelleybrew earned his first start as a Razorback Saturday against ULM. Kelleybrew, a Central High product who played three seasons at Mississippi Valley State, replaced Darius Winston at cornerback in the season opener after Winston turned the wrong way on a long pass against Jacksonville State. The two battled for the starting spot all week. Kelleybrew said during the week he was looking forward to playing in his hometown for the first time since high school. Redshirt freshman Kody Walker earned his first start at fullback, filling in for injured Kiero Small. The senior suffered a “foot injury” during a non-contact drills during Wednesday’s practice and underwent surgery Thursday.
Wilson had an opening-drive turnover for the second straight week. Wilson, who lost a fumble on Arkansas’ opening possession against Jacksonville State, threw an interception on a deep pass intended for Cobi Hamilton. The ball, which wobbled out of Wilson’s hands, was underthrown and caught by ULM cornerback Vincent Eddie. ULM took over and marched 67 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Brandon Allen, who has assumed the role of backup to Wilson at quarterback after Brandon Mitchell moved to wide receiver this season, got his most action as a Razorback at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday following an injury to Wilson. It did not turn out the way Allen would have liked. He completed only six of 20 for 85 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The redshirt freshman made his collegiate debut in the home opener against Jacksonville State, completing four of seven for 30 yards.
Tight end Chris Gragg, a redshirt senior, already holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas. A candidate for the Mackey Award, presented to the nation’s top tight end, Gragg got his bachelor’s degree in sports management in May. Gragg caught seven passes for 83 yards in the ULM loss. With Cobi Hamilton sidelined with a neck injury much of the game against Jacksonville State, Gragg grabbed two touchdown passes from Tyler Wilson and had a team-high seven receptions for 110 yards.
Stays at 10
The number of consecutive victories in Little Rock halted at 10 Saturday. The Razorbacks’ all-time record in Little Rock is 166-66-4 and they are now 148-53-2 at War Memorial Stadium. War Memorial opened in 1948. The Razorbacks had won 20 straight nonconference games in Little Rock before being handed a 34-31 loss by Louisiana-Monroe.
—Dennis A. Byrd
Arkansas News Bureau