What Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman told Matt Landers before big game vs. Missouri State

Christina Long
Fort Smith Times Record

FAYETTEVILLE — Wide receiver Matt Landers was down on himself before No. 11 Arkansas football's 38-27 win against Missouri State on Saturday. The week prior, he had dropped a pass against South Carolina. It was a deep ball that might have gone for a score, and the mistake was weighing on him.

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman recognized the Toledo transfer was being hard on himself. He spoke to Landers to tell him to keep his head up — in the most Pittman way possible.

"I told him, I said, 'You’re going to drop another one eventually,'" Pittman said after Saturday's game. "'But it ain’t because you don’t want to and it’s not because you can’t catch it. You dropped it, so get over it and move on. The good Lord is perfect. Nobody else is.'"

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It looked like Pittman's pep talk worked. When Arkansas (3-0) beat Missouri State (2-1), Landers had a career-high seven catches for 123 yards.

Quarterback KJ Jefferson said he also had spoken to the receiver during the week about moving on from last week's drop.

"Any drop he has in practice or in the game, he’s extremely hard on himself," Jefferson said. "Being the leader that I am, I talked to him, like, ‘Next play, next play. I’m not losing confidence in you. I know I still can go to you in any given moment, deliver a great ball to you. I know you’ll make the play.’"

Jefferson threw for 385 yards in the win. Landers was Arkansas' leading receiver, with four of his seven grabs going for at least 18 yards. His longest was 47.

"For him to bounce back like that, it’s big," Pittman said. "He’s going to help us throughout the year. I’m awful proud of him and for him."

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks for the Southwest Times Record and USA Today Network. You can follow her on Twitter @christinalong00 or email her at