Second Half Woes Led To Bret Bielema’s Downfall

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)--What appeared as a small abrasion turned into the defining factor over Bret Bielema's final 14 games. Lack of success after halftime.

"[In the] Missouri game we had the ball inside the ten three times and got no points in the second half," offensive coordinator Dan Enos recalls.

"We went from moving the ball at will to not being able to advance a first down," Bielema said about the 28-24 loss that started a downward spiral for the program.

Just a month later, Arkansas fell to Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl 35-24 after leading 24-0 at half. The Razorbacks ended Bielema's fourth season shutout 56-0 in the second half of the final two games.

"Never seen anything turn the tide so quickly against us in all three phases," Bielema remembered about the Belk Bowl loss. "Offense, defense, special teams."

"Against Virginia Tech I recall we fumbled. We had a ball in the endzone or the six inch line, fumbled it out of the back," Enos said, referring to Drew Morgan's fumble at the start of the second half. "And we fell apart."

"On the same account, our lack of production in the second half offensively is something that's very real that we gotta be in tune with and have a plan," said Bielema prior to the 2017 season.

But the woes continued this year. In losses to TCU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Auburn, the Razorbacks were outscored 113-48 after halftime.

"Let's start with the worst, second half was an awful experience and the fourth quarter in particular," defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said of the Auburn loss, a 35-14 margin after halftime. "We physically got whipped."

"After the halftime, really like the look in the guys' eyes. Came out then they scored that opening drive and we never really responded well after that," said Bielema.

Arkansas's record before the collapse at Missouri was 7-4. Since that point the Hogs are 4-10 and Bret Bielema is out after five seasons, in large part due to the team's second half struggles.