Cam Little continues to provide spark for Hogs

on 2023-10-08 05:13 AM

By Jason Pattyson

Over the last four weeks, the bright spots on the offensive side of the football have been few and far between.

The one bright spot has been the special teams play of junior placekicker Cam Little. The offense has had well-documented problems of drives stalling out inside the 20-yard line, and he keeps tacking points on the scoreboard.

Little has been a saving grace for the offense in putting points on the board to keep the Razorbacks in close games this season. In the four-game losing streak, Arkansas has had a chance on their last drive of the game to either tie or take the lead, all in part to Little. He booted five field goals inside the 20 during this stretch.

He sent a ball between the uprights in the loss to Ole Miss from 56 yards, a career-long, to keep the Hogs within a score. Little has improved each year in field goal percentage; this past offseason, he set a goal of keeping his rate at or above 90%. He is successful 92% of the time through six games, so he is staying on track with that goal.

“When we were fourth-and-6, I was going for it, and then we couldn’t get lined up, so we had to use a timeout,” head coach Sam Pittman said. “In the timeout, Cam said, ‘Coach, I got enough wind here, I can make it.’ We were down 10, I believe, and I said, ‘Okay.’ I mean, if he tells me he can make it, he can make it. So I said okay, and he kicked it. The other way was the 33-yard line, and I think we were on the 37, maybe.”

To think about where this team would be if Little had not been so accurate to this point of the season would lead a person down a dark rabbit hole. Coach Pittman touched on his importance in turning the momentum for the Razorbacks and giving the team a much-needed spark.

“I think it was big,” Pittman said. “You know, the disappointing thing, we’re up three in the fourth (quarter), and we just couldn’t make the play. But I did think it gave us a big spark.”

One of the remarkable stories on the team over the last couple of years is Little’s donations to the Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas. This off-season, he announced that he would donate $50 per successful kick made throughout the season. That running total is starting to add up, as he is 12-13 on field goal attempts this season.

One side note: the offense attempted and was successful in a short-yardage situation. KJ Jefferson lined up under center for a quarterback sneak on a 3rd-and-1; he converted the on the play and gave the fanbase a little ray of hope this staff is feeling the flow of the game and not just basing decisions on numbers and analytics. Pittman was pleased with the call and the result.

“I did,{” Pittman said. “It was better. We had the sneak in there that we got. So yes.”

Arkansas cannot keep trading field goals with touchdowns, especially hitting the road again; this time, Tuscaloosa is a tough place to play, if not impossible to win. Arkansas has lost the last 18 meetings against the Tide, and Nick Saban is 116-1 against unranked opponents. Is it possible for Arkansas and Pittman to pull out a victory next week? Yes, but a lot has to go right to pull out the improbable.

Arkansas and Alabama will kickoff at 11 a.m. and televised on the SEC Network.

(Last updated: 2023-10-08 05:13 AM)