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2014 Texas Bowl final score: 3 things we learned from Arkansas' 31-7 domination

Arkansas laid one of the season's most complete beatdowns on Texas, and here comes the 2015 hype for the Hogs.

SB Nation 2014 College Football Guide

The Arkansas Razorbacks rode a pounding running game and stifling defense to a comfortable 31-7 victory over Texas in the Advocare Texas Bowl Monday evening.

The Razorbacks built a 17-point halftime lead with a pair of Brandon Allen touchdown passes and a fumble recovery in the Texas end zone.

That lead was more than enough for the Arkansas defense, which held Texas to just 59 yards, nine away from breaking the 71-year-old record for Texas' worst offensive outing ever (vs. Southwestern in 1943, a 14-7 Texas loss impacted by World War II). A fourth quarter touchdown briefly gave Arkansas more points than Texas had yards.

Arkansas followed its usual blueprint: Build an early lead, dominate time of possession and slowly kill the clock. The Razorbacks' top two backs, junior Jonathan Williams and sophomore Alex Collins, combined for 181 yards on 40 carries, Arkansas outgained Texas by 296 yards, and Bielema's offense held the ball for 40 minutes. Quarterback Brandon Allen finished 12/23 for 160 yards and two scores through the air.

Three things we learned

1. Arkansas is pretty good now... The Razorbacks improved immensely in their second season under Bret Bielema. In 2013, Arkansas lost all nine games it played against major conference opponents, including all eight SEC games, and was rarely competitive. This season, the Razorbacks lost five games to teams ranked in the national top 17 by a total of 34 points, shut out No. 17 LSU and No. 8 Ole Miss in back-to-back November games, and got Bielema his first bowl win since 2009. The defense did not give up more than 20 21 points in its last six games and only gave up more than 30 points in regulation once, despite facing some of the nation's most talented offenses. It was a far better season than anyone had expected from Arkansas.

2. ...and could be scary good in 2015. On offense, Bielema is likely to return his quarterback, both of his 1,000-yard halfbacks, three of his top four receivers and four starters on the offensive line. While there are five senior starters on Arkansas' defense, 16 underclassmen are in the two-deep. Bielema also has a chance of signing a top-20 recruiting class in February. It's never easy to climb the ladder in the nation's toughest division, but if there is a dark horse in the 2015 SEC West, it's going to be Arkansas.

3. Texas has a long way to go. The problems that plagued Texas all year -- inept offense in general and poor quarterback play in particular -- were its undoing Monday night. Texas went 0-6 this season in games where quarterback Tyrone Swoopes threw for fewer than 200 yards and 6-1 in games where he topped 200 passing yards. Monday night was arguably his worst performance of the year, a 13/25, 57-yard clunker that left Texas incapable of generating any rushing attack. Even if Charlie Strong gets his defense installed, Texas cannot survive in a world where its offense doesn't top 300 yards.