Following Cole Kelley’s off-field troubles, Austin Allen is officially returning to the starting Arkansas quarterback job for this week.
Head coach Bret Bielema dropped Kelley from the starting quarterback position on his weekly depth chart Monday, one day after the redshirt freshman’s arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Washington County jail records show that Kelley was booked at 8:47 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of DWI, and released on bond later that morning.
Bielema has not yet publicly announced disciplinary actions against Kelley, who is still listed as a second-string quarterback for now alongside Ty Storey.
In October 2016, fullback Hayden Johnson was dropped from the depth chart entirely after his arrest for public intoxication.
Last week, Allen and Kelley were shown as co-starters at quarterback before the game against LSU. Allen took the opening snap, but both quarterbacks saw action in the 33-10 loss.
Allen, the incumbent senior starter, had not started a game since sustaining a shoulder injury on October 7 against South Carolina.
Neither quarterback performed especially effectively against LSU, although Allen posted the superior numbers. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 140 yards, while Kelley connected on only 3 of 10 passes for 36 yards with an interception.
Both failed to find the end zone.
However, Kelley stood out in the October 28 comeback victory against Ole Miss, in which he led the Razorbacks from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Rebels 38-37. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in that game, and was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his effort.
Should Kelley be suspended for this weekend’s matchup against Mississippi State, Storey is in line to back up Allen. The sophomore has only appeared in one game this season, the August 31 opener against Florida A&M, and has not yet thrown a pass in 2017. Storey played three times last year, in games against Texas State, Alcorn State and Auburn, completing one of four passes for three yards.
The Razorbacks must win their two remaining games against Mississippi State and Missouri to secure the six victories needed for automatic bowl eligibility. Arkansas has not failed to qualify for a bowl game since 2013, Bielema’s first season on the sidelines in Fayetteville.
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