FAYETTEVILLE – Ashdown frowned as Montaric Brown went down.
Known more in his native Ashdown, or anywhere he else he goes, as Buster than Montaric , Arkansas Razorbacks cornerback Brown went down from a leg injury during the second half of last Saturday’s game vs. Colorado State.
With two pass breakups, a fumble recovery and four tackles, third-year sophomore Brown represented Ashdown and the Razorbacks well last Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. But Brown was out and the game definitely on with Colorado State rallied from down 27-14 tying it 34-34 by the fourth quarter.
Ashdown rose again. Yet another Ashdown Panther, redshirt freshman LaDarrius Bishop, took Brown’s place. Bishop nearly intercepted a pass he broke up then applied the capper. Recovering the fumble that Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry jarred loose from CSU running back Marvin Kinsey, Bishop scooped and scored a 25-yard touchdown. It marked the last of Arkansas’ 21-0 fourth-quarter scores sealing the 55-34 victory. With a 17-0 fourth quarter, those same CSU Rams overcame Arkansas, 34-27 last year in Fort Collins, Colo.
Ashdown took notice.
“The town was pretty pumped up about that,” Bishop said. “After that touchdown celebration, everybody was blowing my phone up saying, ‘So proud of you.’ It really lifted me up.”
And he was already sky high.
““It was unreal, big,” Bishop said. “I feel like I helped the team out a lot doing that. It felt pretty good.”
Especially excelling on fellow Ashdown Panther’s Brown behalf since Brown was an influence in Bishop choosing the Razorbacks after first committing to Mississippi State before Morris replaced Bielema.
“It did, it did,” Bishop said of Brown and Ashdown influencing his recruiting choice. “That’s family. And Coach Morris came in and he said ‘We want you really bad and we need you.’ That really sold me.”
Brown, originally a safety, and Bishop have traveled similar Arkansas paths.
Recruited by the Bret Bielema regime, Brown redshirted in 2017.
The Chad Morris regime arrived bringing defensive coordinator John Chavis and defensive backfield coaches Ron Cooper and Mark Smith in 2018. Brown opened as a reserve and finished with three starts among playing all 11 games. Brown totaled nine tackles and one pass breakup for all 2018.
Brown for these 2-1 Hogs already has seven tackles, two pass breakups and the fumble recovery touchdown..
Called “Dae Dae” by his teammates and coaches and deemed bearing speed rivaled on the team only by currently injured junior receiver Jordan Jones of Smackover, Bishop weathered a wait your turn pay your dues redshirt year under Morris in 2018 that Brown did under Bielema in 2017.
Ashdown Coach Matt Richardson became proficient in “be patient” counseling. He was among Bishop’s Ashdown well-wishers Saturday.
“I still talk to him like every day,” Bishop said. “ He is kind of like a second father to me. He told me to ‘stay positive and your time will come.”
Bishop’s time certainly came last week.
“ Just throw me in the water,” Bishop said. “Put me in deep water. It’s getting me better and ready for better competition later in the season. It was unreal. Sosa (senior defensive tackle McTelvin Agim of Hope) making the ball go back inside, Hayden coming in and making the big hit and me scooping and scoring and just seeing the green grass and just running to the end zone.”
Brown coming off the injury and Bishop both are prepping for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. SEC Network televised nonconference game with the San Jose State Spartans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
How much does Bishop believe he will play?
“I really don’t know yet,” Bishop said. “When the time comes, we’ll see.”
Brown remains the starter if fit, but Morris now has game evidence that Bishop stands ready.
“I think Dae Dae came in and did a good job,” Morris said. “He’ll continue to provide some depth there for us. He’ll continue to improve. He’s just a young player that has got a big future ahead of him. I thought he made a couple of really good plays on the ball on our sideline late in the game. And obviously the scoop and score was big for him, a big confidence boost.”
Between them, Buster Brown and Dae Dae Bishop played a game stoking spirits up in Ashdown.
The Razorbacks wrapped Thursday’s game week preparations with a light practice entirely closed to media.