The Arkansas Razorbacks survived a scare last Saturday as they defeated the Samford bulldogs 31-21 in Little Rock. The Arkansas football team played some seemingly uninspired football as Samford was in the lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Now, they did have a few key players out on defense, but Arkansas should not have that much trouble with a FCS team. They look to re-establish Hog fans’ expectations this weekend when they take on the winless Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in Fayetteville.
- Running back Alex Collins received SEC Freshman of the week honors after his performance in the Samford game. Collins leads the SEC and ranks 6th in the NCAA, 1st among freshman, in rushing, averaging 151.5 yards per game. The freshman ran for 172 yards and 1 touchdown on 24 carries in the win and had zero negative carries in 24 rushing attempts.
- Despite the unimpressive win, the Razorbacks still received 16 votes in the coaches’ poll; however they did not have any votes in the Associated Poll after having one from a week ago.
- The attendance at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock for the Samford game was the lowest in 11 years. There were only 47,348 fans at the game and this doesn’t help out those who want to keep playing some games there. The contract with War Memorial runs out in 2016.
- Linebacker Otha Peters (arm) has been cleared to play and will most likely see some playing time in order to get back in the groove of things.
- Tight end Austin Tate (shoulder) has another week until he will be back to full contact and should be ready to go by the Rutgers game.
- Trey Flowers, who missed last game is back at full-strength and ready to play.
- Safety Rohan Gaines is listed as questionable for the upcoming game so Alan Turner may start again in Gaines place.
Knowing your opponent:
The University of Southern Mississippi is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and is a member of Conference USA. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, they hold the nation’s longest losing streak at 14 games; they went winless last season and started off 0-2 this year. After firing Ellis Johnson last season for going 0-12, the Eagles hired Todd Monken as their head coach who was previously Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator. In their first game, Southern Miss lost to the Sun Belt’s Texas State 22-15 and then got destroyed at Nebraska last weekend 56-13.
Arkansas will more than likely come out with a small chip on their shoulders after an almost embarrassing game last weekend against an FCS team.
Although the offense had a few drives that seemed totally out-of-sync last game, expect to have those kinks worked out this game.
Brandon Allen will need to work on a few small problems that became apparent in the last game. Allen became somewhat antsy in the pocket when pressure came last Saturday and he made a couple of questionable decisions with a couple of passes. Other than that, the quarterback should have another great game because of the Golden Eagle’s young secondary.
Don’t be surprised if both Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins both go over 100 yards each for the third straight game.
As far as the defense goes, it will be a tremendous help to have Trey Flowers and Jarrett Lake and possibly Rohan Gaines back this game it will go a lot better than last. If Otha Peters can get a dozen or so snaps and get him back to playing mode, it will provide much needed experience and depth to the linebacking corps that is a weakness for this team.
Southern Miss averages just around 300 passing yards per game and this could be problematic for the Razorbacks’ back seven, which has been exposed in pass coverage. Don’t be surprised if the Golden Eagles scrap up a few points because of this, but nothing that would be too much trouble for the Hogs to handle.
If Arkansas plays like they are capable of doing, then this game should be a blowout in the second half, but if they struggle like last week it could get interesting again. This will mark the first time that the Hogs and Golden Eagles have met on the gridiron. The line for the game is Arkansas by 22 and they should be able to cover that.
If the team learned anything from last week it’s that no game is a gimme and that they are going to have to fight in every single game and for every single win. The players did show toughness and a willingness to fight back in the fourth quarter which was not the case a year ago.
Honestly, Arkansas probably would have lost the game to Samford given that same situation last year which shows of the change that Bret Bielema and his staff has made and how much the players have bought into their system. This should be another tune up game before the Razorbacks hit Rutgers next week then start the gauntlet of their SEC schedule. Kickoff for Saturday is set for 11:21 a.m. in Razorback Stadium and the weather is set up to be a gorgeous day for Arkansas football.