FAYETTEVILLE — While Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema hasn’t named the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks, Brandon Allen certainly seems to be it after Saturday’s spring wrap-up scrimmage.
The sophomore from Fayetteville played exclusively with the first-team offense in the first half Saturday at Razorback Stadium. Senior Brandon Mitchell only took snaps with the second team offense during the first two quarters.
“You know, I’ve not named any starters yet,” Bielema said. “He started this game and played the entire first half with the ones. So I think we feel good about that.”
Allen completed 11-of-16 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown against the first team defense. Mitchell completed 12-of-17 for 138 yards with one TD and one interception mostly against the second-string defense.
Both QBs led four first-half drives. Against the first-string defense, Allen put together two scoring drives. The first was a nine-play, 75-yard effort that ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Demetrious Wilson. The other was a six-play, 55-yard drive in the final minutes of the second quarter capped by a 37-yard Zach Hocker field goal as time expired.
“I thought our No. 1 offense got clicking at times with all the key personnel, obviously converted a touchdown and some significant drives,” Bielema said. “But the best one was at the end of the half to walk out of there with points on the board.”
Mitchell led three scoring drives against the second-team defense in the first half. The first covered 60 yards in 10 plays for a 48-yard John Henson field goal. Hocker kicked a 27-yard field goal after a seven play, 31-yard drive. Then Mitchell led the second-string offense on a 13-play, 90-yard drive for a 26-yard TD pass to Jeremy Sprinkle.
But Mitchell also commited the only turnover in the first half. On second-and-7 at the defense’s 11-yard line, Mitchell tried to squeeze the ball into a receiver. But safety T.Q. Coleman stepped in front of the receiver in the end zone and returned it 49 yards before wide receiver Keon Hatcher made a touchdown-saving tackle.
“I thought Brandon Allen has continued to move forward,” Bielema said. “Brandon Mitchell does a lot of really good things. He does some things that’ll set you back at times. … I’ve got to have a conversation with Brandon Mitchell about as a senior I want to be able to let him to know he’s a contributor. He’s a competitor and I love his leadership skills.”
Bielema did not make either Allen or Mitchell available to the media following the scrimmage.