Pay the price to win: KJ Jefferson returns with a bruised knee to lead the win

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KJ Jefferson proved on Saturday in a 20-10 win over Texas A&M that he’s tough … and ready to play injured.

Everything you need to win.

When he fell hard in a scrum early in the third quarter, some Arkansas fans were almost hyper-ventilated. It wasn’t helping everyone could tell it was limiting him.

“He hit just above his knee,” coach Sam Pittman later said of Jefferson’s injury. “It’s just a bruised knee. They tried to put something on it to maybe numb it a bit. It takes a second or two, or a minute or two to get it where it numbs the knee.”

These were anxious minutes for Razorback fans. Malik Hornsby came in and showed his speed, but the attack wasn’t as smooth as it had been. It was really his first significant shots.

“It was great to see him come out and take the opportunity that was given to him,” said Pittman.

Mainly, he accomplished what the coaches wanted, which was not the game.

“I was in his ear and just telling him to be smart,” Pittman said. “Play ball and play your game. That was the main thing.

He did it all, not with big numbers (1 of 3 passes for 7 yards, 12 yards rushing) but he didn’t return the ball.

Jefferson returned in the fourth quarter with the Hogs backed by their own 11s and needing some early tries to put their first win over the Aggies in the Southwest Classic on the ice.

“It has finally started,” Pittman said of the numbing gel to ease the pain of the bruise.

Jefferson hit a key pass to Warren Thompson, who stretched for a first down on the time-consuming possession.

They got the ball back with 1:58 to go and had to get a first try to run the clock. They put the ball in Jefferson’s hands.

“Got you, Coach,” Jefferson said later, he told Pittman before the key play. “I’ll make sure I get it. When the coach called him I knew he was a quarterback the whole way. I knew I just had to go get him. Just put it down. head and drive and just go get the first one. “

That’s exactly what he did to cap another big day.

He threw just 15 passes, completing 7 for 212 yards, but no interceptions. Two of the completions were touchdowns and accounted for 133 yards.

Jefferson found Treylon Burks for the game’s first touchdown on an 80-yard, then AJ Green took a 48-yard pass for another score.

“The main thing I had to do was give my guy a chance to play with the ball,” Jefferson said. “That’s what I did.”

Doing this put the Hogs 4-0 to start the season. They haven’t been there since 2003.

Let it flow.

Pittman accomplished something that hasn’t been done since Houston Nutt was halfway through his decade with the Hogs. Not Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith, Bret Bielema or (go ahead and laugh) Chad Morris.

But now the pressure is on. Georgia is next week, ranked second in the country. The Hogs will likely be in the Top 10 when Sunday’s polls come out.

But they know they have a quarterback who is willing to pay the price to win.

“He’s tough,” Pittman said. “I didn’t want to let go guys. I think he’s beaten. We knew we needed another first try to be able to start the celebration.”

Now he’s going to have to deliver on a bigger stage again.


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