FAYETTEVILLE — The last time the Arkansas Razorbacks were nationally ranked in the Top 25 in September, they were touted 21-point favorites over Toledo.
They lost to Toledo last year in Little Rock.
That hasn’t been forgotten by coach Bret Bielema’s now 24th-ranked, 2-0 Razorbacks reigning as 31-point favorites over the 1-0 Texas State Bobcats in Saturday night’s 6:30 game at Reynolds Razorback Stadiuml.
Even some Razorbacks that weren’t then Razorbacks remember it well.
Arkansas freshman backup defensive tackle McTelvin "Sosa" Agim was earning 5-star recruit status in Hope when the Hogs slipped, 16-12 on the Toledo banana peel at War Memorial Stadium.
"Coach B says the past is an indication of the future," Agim said. "We lost to Toledo. So we try not to overlook anybody. Texas State is a good team."
The Razorbacks forged into the Top 25 because they upended then 15th-ranked TCU, 41-38 in double overtime at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.
However if they get too full of themselves for hopping over the Horned Frogs, they need only remember two weeks ago.
Arkansas was favored by 26 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. The Razorbacks needed quarterback Austin Allen’s fourth and goal touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and Cole Hedlund’s PAT with 6:37 to win by one, 21-20.
Texas State is a 31-point underdog, primarily because first-year coach Everett Withers’ Bobcats are from the Sun Belt Conference and on the road against a team from the SEC, generally regarded the best of the Power Five conferences that dominate college football.
Somebody forgot to pass that information along to the 2012 nationally ranked Razorbacks. They lost in September at Little Rock to 30-point underdog Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt en route to a disastrously disappointing 4-8 season.
So ULM "Sun Belting" them out of the rankings four years ago and Toledo’s MAC sack of the Razorbacks from last year’s Top 25 should have the Hogs taking precious hold of the 24 ranking they finally achieved in both the AP and Coaches polls.
"It took a long time to get that to where they need to be," Bielema said. "They’ve got a little bit of respect and now they have to continue to earn it week by week."
The Razorbacks would gain far more respect winning their SEC opener Sept. 24 against the 17th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
But that wouldn’t recoup the respect lost if they get upset Saturday by not respecting these Bobcats coming off an open date after beating Ohio University, 56-54 in overtime the Saturday before Ohio U. defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 37-21 in Lawrence, Kan.
Though at the bottom of its league, Kansas hails from the same Big 12 housing TCU.
"Texas State had a really, really impressive first game," Bielema said. "They beat a Power Five conference school."
The Bobcats did so with senior quarterback Tyler Jones completing 40 of 55 for 418 yard and four touchdowns against two interceptions. Four Bobcats receivers, led by Eric Luna’s 10 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Elijah King, 7 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns, combined for 29 catches against Kansas. Texas State takes only an average 16 seconds between plays in its hurry-up Spread offense that Bielema says operates at a faster clip than hurry-up Spread teams Louisiana Tech and TCU.