Harris pep talk stopped bleeding in 55-34 win over Colorado State

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Linebacker De’Jon Harris had to give a quick pep talk to his younger Arkansas defensive teammates after Colorado State receiver Dante Wright caught a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game 34-34 with 2:26 in the third quarter.

The Razorbacks were leading by 10 early in the third quarter, and now the Rams had scored 10 unanswered points. Harris did not want a repeat of last year’s game at Colorado State when the Rams rallied from 27-9 to beat Arkansas 34-27 with eight seconds left in the game.

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“I had a pep talk with the defense at the end when 22 score,” Harris said. “And I was, like, ‘Man, it’s time to grow up. Too many excuses for a lot of players. We all played when we were younger.’ I appreciate those guys responding to me.”

The Hogs responded. After Arkansas went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, it was up to the defense. Freshman defensive end Mataio Soli hurried Rams backup quarterback Patrick O’Brien into a throw that fell incomplete on third-and-6 from the Arkansas 32-yard line. Colorado State sent kicker Cayden Camper for a 50-yard field goal that he missed and renewed the Hogs’ momentum.

“Scoota’s the leader of the defense, so when he talks, we listen,” said safety Kamren Curl. “He was telling us after that score, we’ve got to wake up. We’ve got to keep playing.”

Senior defensive tackle McTelvin Agim believes Harris is one of the better defenders in the entire Southeastern Conference, and his direction carries weight with him, and the rest of the defense.

“He’s basically pointing to us what [defensive coordinator John Chavis] is pointing to him,” said Agim. “He knows the defense. He knows what we need to be doing. So you can believe in him when he’s talking to you.”

The Razorbacks scored 21 unanswered points, capped off with a LaDarrius Bishop 25-yard scoop and score to establish the game’s 55-34 final score.

“The defense scoring, that’s very good,” Curl said. “When your defense is scoring, you know your defense is doing something good.”

The Hogs are hoping to keep the defensive momentum alive as they host the San Diego State Aztecs Sept. 21. Arkansas is 2-1 on the season.