FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley has been suspended indefinitely following his weekend arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and won’t play on Saturday when the Razorbacks host No. 17 Mississippi State.
Kelley, a freshman who has seen considerable action this year with senior Austin Allen injured, was arrested early Sunday after an officer noticed the truck Kelley was driving hit the curb with both passenger-side tires, according to a report filed by the Fayetteville Police Department.
The 20-year-old Kelley refused to take a breath test before being arrested, police said, and he has court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Kelley started four games in a row for Arkansas (4-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) before Allen returned from a shoulder injury in a 33-10 loss to LSU last week. Kelley did play in the fourth quarter of the loss, and he’s thrown eight touchdowns and four interceptions this season.
“He’s going to have to do a lot of growing up in a short amount of time,” coach Bret Bielema said Monday. “For however long the suspension is, through this week for sure, through Saturday, I think he’s got to understand what life is like without football and also address all the other (legal) issues.”
Bielema said he made Kelley come to the Arkansas football complex on Sunday for meetings after his release from jail because he “wanted him to face everybody.”
With Kelley out, the quarterback situation become clear against the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3): Allen will be back under center as he enters perhaps the final two games of his collegiate career, something that was no guarantee prior to Kelley’s arrest — not after the freshman replaced the senior in the fourth quarter of the loss to LSU .
Allen completed only 12 of 23 passes for 140 yards against the Tigers, and he’s completed 56.4 percent of his passes for the season while throwing eight touchdowns and four interceptions. A year ago, h was second in the SEC in passing efficiency when he competed 61.1 percent of his passes.
Bielema said Allen felt physically fine on Sunday following his first game since injuring his throwing shoulder against South Carolina on Oct. 7, joking that Allen said his only sore body part were his legs from all the running he did against LSU.
The senior did misfire on several throws to open receivers against the Tigers, leading to Kelley entering the game late.
“The fortunate thing (is) I’ve seen Austin throw those balls a lot, I’ve seen him have great success,” Bielema said. “That was the first time he had played in a long time, and obviously it was not exactly the easiest play to cue into … I think you’ll see a big spike in him this week.”
Arkansas needs to win its final two games to make certain of its bowl eligibility, as well as ensure Bielema avoids the second losing season of his career. The Razorbacks went 3-9 in his first year in 2013, and the former Wisconsin coach is now 29-32 at Arkansas, including 11-27 in the SEC.