2012 College Football: No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Jacksonville State


Fayetteville, Ark. – When the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks take the field against Jacksonville State at Reynolds Razorback Stadium Saturday evening at 6 p.m. one national storyline will end for the Hogs football team and a whole host of others will begin for the most highly anticipated college football season for Razorback Nation since 1980.

Arkansas takes the field against a FCS opponent that brings a unique storyline of its own. Gamecocks head coach Jack Crowe was the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1990 through the first game of 1992 before he resigned after a 10-7 loss to I-AA Citadel in Fayetteville. Now Crowe has an opportunity to bring his life full circle by being the underdog in Fayetteville looking to unseat a promising Arkansas season 20 years later.

The Arkansas vs. Jacksonville State game adds yet another interesting thread knowing that in 2010 the Gamecocks beat another SEC team, Ole Miss, 49-48 in double overtime. The Rebels were led by another former Arkansas head coach at that time, Houston Nutt.

When Crowe, an Alabama native, left the Arkansas program in 1992 he took a position with the Baylor Bears as offensive coordinator from 1993 through 1995. After a five year hiatus from football he returned to college athletics in 2000 as head coach of one of his home state teams, Jacksonville State.

Since taking over the Gamecocks’ program Crowe has won four conference titles (2003, 2004, 2009, and 2011) only to have his 2009 title removed because of his team’s poor academic record. In 11 seasons with Jacksonville State he has posted an overall winning record of 81-52.

Jacksonville State is coming off a 7-4 2011 season that includes being ranked in the Top 25 of FCS polls all season, as high as No. 9 to start the season.

The headline grabber for Jacksonville State’s 2012 team is former Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Ealey, a senior, rushed for 1,588 total yards with 14 touchdowns while with the Bulldogs from 2009 through 2010.

In 2011 Ealey rushed for 1,082 yards on 178 carries with eight touchdowns for Jacksonville State. His 6.08 yards per carry average is worth noting along with his 98.36 total yards per game average.

Ealey will get all the snaps he can handle in the Gamecocks option offense against the Razorbacks on Saturday. In 2010 Ealey faced the Hogs rushing for 87 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown in a 31-24 win for Arkansas.

The Razorbacks counter with several storylines of their own including the start of two Heisman Trophy campaigns – Knile Davis and Tyler Wilson.

Junior running back Knile Davis makes a highly anticipated return to the field after missing all of 2011 with an ankle injury. In 2010 Davis was a first-team All-SEC performer after rushing for 1,322 with 13 touchdowns.

Wilson returns for his senior year as Arkansas’ only first-team All-SEC performer at quarterback. Wilson threw for 3,638 yards with 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2011. Gone are three receivers that were drafted by NFL teams, but the next wave of talented Arkansas receivers are ready to make their mark on college football.

The defense will get a much need test after facing the same offense week after week in practice since the beginning of August.

The Gamecocks run an option offense similar to what the Hogs saw against Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl making the adjustment to Jacksonville State’s game plan a little bit easier for defensive coordinator Paul Haynes.

The defense is breaking in two new starters at linebacker, outside linebacker Jarrett Lake and middle linebacker Tenarius Wright. Wright was a starter for the Hogs during the 2011 season at left defensive end. Lake replaces graduated linebacker Jerrico Nelson at the Razorbacks’ Star position.

Returning outside linebacker Alonzo Highsmith missed practice time along with Wright during fall camp. The three linebackers will use the season opener as a much needed opportunity to learn how each plays on the field in game time situations.

The bigger storyline for the Hogs is recovering and adapting to life after Bobby Petrino. Petrino set a tone and culture for the Razorbacks over the last four years including 21 wins over the past two seasons.

Will Bobby Petrino’s play calling on offense be missed? Returning offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has an opportunity to set his own course for a Razorback team that is in the hunt for a national championship in 2012. The shakeup in play calling should actually work in the Hogs favor; Bobby Petrino’s play calls had become somewhat predictable.

Arkansas is looking for their first National Championship in football since the 1964 season. The Razorbacks were last ranked in the preseason Top 10 in 1989. In 1980 the Hogs opened the season as the nation’s No. 6 team. The last time Arkansas had a Heisman Trophy contender on campus was during the 2006 and 2007 seasons when Darren McFadden ran wild on SEC defenses.

The 2012 Arkansas Razorback football team brings a highly anticipated offense to the field with a favorable schedule. Once the ball is kicked off much of the distracting storylines of motorcycle crashes and player arrests will be behind this team.

Jack Crowe may bring his own storylines and hopes to Arkansas but the Hogs have more riding on the line than what Ole Miss brought to the table in 2010.

Game Prediction

Arkansas has a lot to prove with a lot of angry pent up emotions. Look for Knile Davis to will himself to 100 plus yards rushing in the first half with a couple of break away runs.

Tyler Wilson may get a little pressure from Jacksonville State early but he will find true freshman Mekale McKay for a 70-yard bomb on his way to 200 plus throwing yards before sitting out the second half with Davis on the sidelines.

Look for McKay to begin his Freshman All-American run along with his first-team All-SEC campaign as a true freshman from game one.

The Arkansas defensive line will make life easy on the field for the linebackers in the season opener. The Gamecocks offensive line will have a hard time adjusting to the Razorbacks “big uglies” up front. Expect Ealey to get loose for one long run but the rest of his night will be on his back.

Redshirt freshman Brandon Allen will start the second half giving Razorback Nation a glimpse of how good life will be over the next two to three years.

Final Score

Arkansas 49, Jacksonville State 10

News and Notes

The Gamecocks SEC opponent last year was University of Kentucky.

In the middle of the Wildcats dismal 5-7 2011 season they were able to defeat Jacksonville State 38-14.

Arkansas is ranked in the AP Top 10 for the 12th straight poll, dating back to Oct. 2, for the fourth longest stretch in school history.

The Hogs have played 167 college football games ranked in the nation’s Top 10. Their overall record as a Top 10 team is 105-60-2.

Arkansas Depth Chart vs. Jacksonville State



17 Brandon Mitchell (Jr., 6-4, 230)

2 Julian Horton (Jr., 6-1, 194)

4 Keon Hatcher (Fr., 6-2, 205)


11 Cobi Hamilton (Sr., 6-3, 209)

19 Javontee Herndon (Jr., 6-1, 204)


82 Mekale McKay (Fr., 6-6, 190)

81 Demetrius Wilson (Jr., 6-3, 180)

15 Keante Minor (So., 6-0, 205)


80 Chris Gragg (Sr., 6-3, 236)

87 Austin Tate (Jr., 6-6, 253)

46 Alex Voelzke (Fr., 6-6, 220)


69 David Hurd (Jr,. 6-6, 300)

70 Chris Stringer (So., 6-7, 304)


76 Tyler Deacon (Sr., 6-4, 300)

75 Luke Charpentier (So., 6-4, 305)


64 Travis Swanson (Jr., 6-5, 305)

65 Mitch Smothers (So., 6-4, 296)


67 Alvin Bailey (Jr., 6-5, 312)

75 Luke Charpentier (So., 6-4, 305)


74 Brey Cook (So., 6-7, 308) 71

Jason Peacock (Sr., 6-4, 305)


8 Tyler Wilson (Sr., 6-3, 220)

10 Brandon Allen (Fr., 6-3, 212)


7 Knile Davis (Jr., 6-0, 226) 33

Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)


20 Ronnie Wingo Jr. (Sr., 6-3, 231)


36 Kiero Small (Sr., 5-10, 255)

40 Kody Walker (Fr., 6-2, 240)


18 Zach Hocker (Jr., 6-0, 180)

43 John Henson (So., 5-11, 138)


14 Dylan Breeding (Sr., 6-1, 211)

18 Zach Hocker (Jr., 6-0, 180)


53 Alan D’Appollonio (So., 6-0, 201)

56 Will Coleman (Jr., 6-3, 253)



86 Trey Flowers (So., 6-4, 243)

41 Austin Flynn (Jr., 6-5, 260)


54 Byran Jones (Jr., 6-2, 312)

51 Alfred Davis (Sr., 6-1, 318)

57 Jared Green (Sr., 6-0, 315)


92 DeQuinta Jones (Sr., 6-5, 299)

98 Robert Thomas (Jr., 6-3, 308)


42 Chris Smith (Jr., 6-3, 251)

90 Colton Miles-Nash (Sr., 6-6, 261)


39 Jarrett Lake (Jr., 6-3, 223)

24 Daunte Carr (So., 6-3, 224)


43 Tenarius Wright (Sr., 6-2, 252)

36 Kiero Small (Sr., 5-10, 255)


45 Alonzo Highsmith (Sr., 6-1, 233)

25 Terrell Williams (Sr., 6-3, 232)


8 Tevin Mitchel (So., 6-0, 192)

13 Davyon McKinney (Fr., 6-3, 190)

9 Will Hines (Fr., 6-1, 185)


35 Ross Rasner (Sr., 6-0, 212)

27 Alan Turner (So., 6-0, 212)


14 Eric Bennett (Jr., 6-0, 206)

26 Rohan Gaines (Fr., 5-11, 190)


21 Darius Winston (Sr., 6-0, 191)

23 Kaelon Kelleybrew (Sr., 5-11, 180)



16 Brian Buehner (So., 5-11, 195)

14 Dylan Breeding (Sr., 6-1, 211)


33 Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)

22 Nate Holmes (Fr., 6-1, 175)

20 Ronnie Wingo Jr. (Sr., 6-3, 231)


33 Dennis Johnson (Sr., 5-9, 213)

15 Keante Minor (So., 6-0, 205)