Record 4-5, 1-4 in SEC
The Arkansas football game is usually a tough contest for the Purple and Gold. Arkansas follows Alabama on the schedule, and if the Tigers are physically and emotionally low, they are prime targets for the Razorbacks.
This year the Arkansas defense is bad. In league action they have given up 45.6 points per game. The Razorbacks have given up points by big plays, turnovers, and sustained drives. When they win, they yield many points.
The Hogs give up an average of 422 total yards per game, 190.2 yards on the ground, and 232.0 through the air. They do have the fourth leading tackler in the SEC in sophomore linebacker De’Jon Harris. He has 81 total tackles, and 51 solos, including an 11 solo performance against South Carolina. Harris has 7.0 tackles for losses (tfls), including 2.5 sacks on the season. Junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw is the second leading tackler on the team with 73 total, and 39 solos. Greenlaw has made nine solo stops three times. Junior strong safety Santos Ramirez is the third leading tackler on the squad. Ramirez likes to, and does, hit opposing players very hard.
Usually, for Arkansas, at this point in the season, they have one, or even two running backs approaching 1000 yards in rushing.
The Arkansas leading rusher is sophomore David Whaley, who has rushed for 428 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry this season, unusual for the Razorbacks. Last year the leading rusher for the Razorbacks was Rawleigh Williams, who ran for 1360 yards for the 2016 season. Williams averaged 104.6 yards per game last year. Whaley’s largest ground total in SEC play was against Ole Miss. It was 51 yards. Whaley would have to gain over 900 yards in the last three games to surpass Williams’ total for last year.
Freshman Chase Hayden was averaging 5.1 yards per carry with 326 yards before suffering a season ending injury against Auburn.
Senior quarterback Austin Allen and redshirt freshman Cole Kelly have been sharing duties at quarterback for the Hogs this year, primarily because Allen has been injured. Arkansas has allowed an average of four sacks per game in SEC action. Allen threw for a season high 264 yards and three touchdowns against New Mexico State, and Kelly threw for 200 against Alabama. Kelly is 6’7 inches tall, and weighs 260 pounds. Most of their time has been spent running for their lives while trying to pass.
A reason for a lack of decent pass protection, and a spotty running attack, may be Arkansas has started eight different offensive linemen this season, which is unusual for the Razorbacks. One of the premier offensive linemen in the SEC, Hog senior center Frank Ragnow, was lost to a season ending leg injury against Auburn.
Junior wide receiver Jonathan Nance was evolving into a pretty good receiver until Allen was hurt in the South Carolina game. Nance had 116 yards receiving in that game, as well as 100 yards receiving in the loss against Texas A&M, when Allen was the quarterback.
According to the Arkansas coaching staff, Allen will play Saturday.
Despite this report, Arkansas should not be taken lightly. They have a lot to play for, including avoiding a losing season, and still becoming bowl eligible.