49-14 Vanderbilt losses like the one the Commodores suffered Saturday at Arkansas haven't been that uncommon over the years. By the time the victor has finished padding their stats and the usual condescedning platitudes about the Vandy effort have been written, it's typically time to simply move on to the next potential 'Dore drubbing. (Up this week: Florida !)
But this has proven to be one blowout with surprisingly long -- and acrimnious -- legs. For one thing, the game has proven to be the final one of the year for key contributors on both sides, as both Razorback receiver Greg Childs and Commodore running back Warren Norman have been ruled out for the rest of the season with a patellar tendon injury and a dislocated right wrist , respectively. This space has already commented on the impact of the loss of Childs on the Hog attack, but Norman's injury could be an even greater blow for the already-struggling Commodore offense; the SEC leader in all-purpose yardage a year ago, Norman was Vandy's leading rusher, kickoff returner, ball-carrier, and touchdown-scorer.
But at least those injuries occurred during the normal run-of-play of the game (though Bobby Petrino has had to answer questions about why Childs was still playing in the fourth quarter of a three-touchdown game). Petrino is of the opinion that the same can't be said of the knock taken by freshman Arkansas defensive tackle Byran Jones :
For their part, it's doubtful Vandy will be expressing too much symapthy. The Hogs were called for a pair of chop blocks during the game, and the 'Dors are claiming the rude reception in Fayetteville went well beyond the scoreboard :
Petrino said Monday defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured on a “dirty, bad play” in the Razorbacks’ win over Vanderbilt Saturday.
Jones, a freshman, went down on the Commodores’ first offensive possession and didn’t return with an ankle injury. His status for this weekend’s game against South Carolina is uncertain.“It was a bad-looking play,” Petrino said. “It’s a shame, because the guy blocked him and Byran took off running and the guy clipped him from behind on his ankle. Terrible way to get hurt because it was a dirty, bad play, and it’s unfortunate.
Vanderbilt equipment manager Luke Wyatt confirmed that the two ball boys (college students) that the Commodores provided to work on the Arkansas sideline required protection after being verbally abused and physically pushed by a member of the Razorbacks' support staff in the early stages of the game.Coaches sniping at the opponents? Season-ending injuries? Chop blocks? State troopers called in to keep the ballboys safe? This is not your typical Vanderbilt rout. And after all of this, it's highly likely that next year's rematch in Nashville won't be either. It's rare that any Commodore game makes for appointment viewing, but that one just might.
Wyatt notified state troopers on the field of the situation at halftime to make sure they were not bothered or touched the rest of the way. Vanderbilt coaches are aware of the situation.