2012 College Football: A Statistical Midseason Look at the Arkansas Razorbacks


Oct 6, 2012; Auburn, AL, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach John L. Smith watches warm-ups before the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-US PRESSWIRE

Fayetteville, Ark. – There’s no denying that the 2012 college football season has been extremely difficult for everyone associated with the Arkansas Razorback football team; the school administration, players, coaching staff, fan base, even for the media members tracking the team’s every move. Everyone has been affected by the Hog’s play on the field this year.

Finger pointing can get fans and interim coaches so far, but how good or bad is this year’s Arkansas Razorback team? How can a story be told outside of the final scores and 2-4 overall record the Hogs carry at the midway point of their season?

Some statistics are telling while others will lead one to what they want to see. Not all college football schedules are equally balanced by strength of schedule allowing some teams an easier road through their season while other teams have to grind out every win possible making statistics what one wants to make of them.

The following is a breakdown of the Arkansas Razorback football team statistically. Most of the stats are very telling without need for final scores or a midseason recap of events.

Each ranking will include Arkansas’ spot among all 120 FBS/Division-I programs in college football.

The Razorback Offense

Total Offense

No. 60: 413 plays, 2,457 total yards, 5.95 yards per play, 409.50 yards per game

Third-Down Percentage Ranking

No. 108: 79 attempts, 25 conversions, 31.65 percentage success rate

Fourth-Down Percentage Ranking

No. 113: 11 attempts, 2 conversions, 18.18 percentage success rate

Fewest Penalties Per Game

No. 34: 31 penalties, 244 total yards lost, 5.17 penalties per game, 40.67 yards per game

Kickoff Returns

No. 66: 14 returns, 296 total yards, 21.14 yards per return

Punt Returns

No. 88: 10 punt returns, 56 total punt yards, 5.6 yards per return average

Passing Offense

No. 24: 1,794 total passing yards, 11 passing TD, 299.00 yards per game, 14.83 ypc

Red Zone Offense

No. 112: 23 drives, 15 scores, 89 points, 7 rushing TD, 4 passing TD, 4 FG, .65 percent

Rushing Offense

No. 107: 188 attempts, 663 total yards, 3.53 ypc, 7 TD, 110.50 yards per game

Scoring Offense

No. 93: 140 total points, 23.33 points per game, 18 TD, 17 XP, 5 FG

Turnovers Lost

Tied No. 118 with Auburn: 17 total turnovers; Idaho leading nation with 18

Time of Possession

No. 113

The Razorback Defense

Total Defense

No. 110: 2,872 total yards allowed, 6.12 yards allowed per play, 28 TD, 478.67 ypg

Third-Down Conversion Defense

No. 61: 92 attempts, 35 conversions, 38.04 conversion rate

Fumbles Recovered

Tied for No. 85: 3 fumbles recovered

Passes Intercepted

Tied for No. 65: 4 total interceptions

Passing Defense

No. 118: 155 completions on 242 attempts, 64.05 completion percentage, 13.08 ypc, 2,028 total passing yards allowed

Red Zone Defense

No. 19: 32 drives, 22 scores allowed, .69 percent; 10 rushing TD, 10 passing TD, 2 FG

Rushing Defense

No. 53: 844 rushing yards allowed, 3.72 yards per attempt, 140.67 ypg


No. 32: 15 total sacks, 160 yards lost, 2.50 per game average

Scoring Defense

Tied for No. 102: 28 TD allowed, 5 FG allowed, 35 points per game allowed average

Tackles for Loss

No. 51: 36 total TFL, 213 TFL yards

Turnovers Gained

No. 92: 7 total turnovers gained

Turnover Margin

No. 117: Lost 17 turnovers (9 fumbles, 8 INT), 7 TO gained (3 FR, 4 INT), -1.67

The statistics tell a few stories, many most Arkansas Razorback fans already know. The offense has been sloppy with the ball giving away 17 drives in six games while the running game has been anemic.

The defense has not been opportunistic until playing Auburn last weekend. The Hogs entered the game with two takeaways but forced five Auburn turnovers to skew the midseason numbers.

The passing defense has been is among the worst in the country. This is without benefit of playing West Virginia, Baylor, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Clemson, etc…

One can make excuses for the secondary with safety Eric Bennett and cornerbacks Tevin Mitchell and Kaelon Kellybrew missing extensive game time, all starters. Plus Darius Winston has been in the doghouse and off the field most of the season putting the back four without three starters for much of the year, but still…

The rushing defense has solid numbers but are those numbers skewed because the opposition knows they can pass on Arkansas? The Arkansas defense is allowing 8.38 yards per pass attempt. Why run it if they do not have to?

The offensive line has been porous again this year. The Hogs have given up eight total sacks (Wilson 4, Allen 3, and Mitchell 1). One could argue the poor play up front is what caused one of the biggest collapses in college football history.

When Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the UL-Monroe game due to a concussion the charade that was the Razorbacks preseason No. 10 ranking was over. With Wilson under center the Hogs more than likely do not lose game two and have a 3-3 record with a legitimate shot at going bowling in 2012. Now, who knows?

What happened to kicker Zach Hocker? His special team’s coach is still on the payroll, so what gives?

Hocker has hit five field goals but missed four. He has missed in the 20-29 range, 30-39 range, 40-49, and 50 plus. The 50 plus is tough even for NFL guys, but it is hard to make excuses for 39 and in for someone with Hocker’s ability. Last season Hocker missed six total field goals while connecting on 21 including a 51-yarder.

Senior punter Dylan Breeding led the SEC in 2011 with a 45.3 punt per average. To date Breeding is out distancing himself from last year averaging 46.3 yards per punt. With stalled drives Breeding has more room to air it out.

Injuries have ravaged the Hogs, 11 total starters have missed game time due to injuries. That seems like a crime and a punishment no team should have to suffer. The O-Line, and running backs, has to miss fullback Kiero Small blowing open holes and helping out in pass protection.

One has to wonder if Tevin Mitchell had never been injured could the Hogs have slowed down Rutgers and Texas A&M a little?

The loss this week of Alonzo Highsmith will hurt the run defense the rest of the year. That leaves Ross Rasner as the only preseason starting linebacker still holding down his job.

Even with all that has transpired on and off the field the Razorbacks are still a very talented and dangerous team in key areas. Will the Auburn game be a springboard towards a second half season success story or just a one-game mirage of what everyone associated with the Razorbacks had dreamed of before a Sept. 8 loss to Louisiana-Monroe?