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Catalon out for season and Hogs’ defense may be going with him

Arkansas’ defense has to pick up the pieces without Jalen Catalon, who is out for year with shoulder surgery.

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Most Arkansas fans were expecting a win against Auburn on Saturday.

And I use the word “most” because there will be some so-called experts that come out of the woodwork this week proclaiming they knew what was going to happen.

It’s doubtful many saw a 38-23 loss to the Tigers.

Especially when they couldn’t contain Auburn quarterback Box Nix, who came up with a career day against the Razorbacks, hitting 21-of-26 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns.

The Hogs’ defense never got a handle on him all day. He ran for first downs and a game-clinching 23-yarder in the fourth quarter.

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We didn’t find out until the game was over safety Jalen Catalon was going to miss the rest of the season after having shoulder surgery Monday.

“Catalon is going to have his shoulder worked on Monday,” Pittman said. “He had a little bit of a tear front and back that a lot of kids play with throughout the year. Then he broke his hand.

“Mentally, you could see he wasn’t playing his type of ball, tackling like he had earlier in the year and this, that and the other.”

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Nothing was slowing down Nix on Saturday.

Nix, who was replaced by a transfer in September, was 21-of-26 for 292 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver corps that couldn’t catch a cold previously didn’t drop many.

The Hogs were going to make Nix beat them, but they weren’t going to let him scramble. The wild antics he’s shown at times making big plays didn’t happen.

He didn’t have to.

The Hogs’ defense was torched by Ole Miss last week after we heard for a week they were working to fix a defense that suddenly fell apart after a 4-0 start to the season.

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Now they are going to have to pick up the pieces without Catalon, one of the biggest leaders in the defense, certainly in the secondary.

“I think it’s time for him to get that shoulder fixed,” Pittman said after the game. “It was a decision that he came and talked to me and that’s what we came up with. I think it’s best for Cat that he gets fixed, and that’s what he is going to do on Monday.”

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