Oct 27, 2012; Little Rock, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorback running back Dennis Johnson (33) warms up before the start of a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at War Memorial Stadium. Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-US PRESSWIRE
Fayetteville, Ark. – However one likes their college football offense, either via a passing attack or with a dominate running game, both will be on display Saturday when the Arkansas Razorbacks host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
A fight for respect will be brewing in Fayetteville on Saturday when Tulsa (7-1) comes calling on the Hogs (3-5) during the Razorbacks homecoming game. Tulsa already has enough wins to qualify for a bowl game but has higher aspirations that a win over Arkansas could bring the team. Arkansas’ last second 30-27 loss to Ole Miss makes a bowl game mathematically possible but highly unlikely with South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU still left on the schedule.
Arkansas will try to counter a Golden Hurricane run offense with a pass happy attack to control the game and the scoreboard. Arkansas, as they have throughout the 2012 college football season will count on senior quarterback Tyler Wilson to lead the way.
Wilson is second in the SEC in total passing yards with 2,254 while completing 59.7 percent of his passes. Wilson has 16 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions but will have to look out for the Golden Hurricane pass rush that leads all FBS teams with a 4 sack per game average.
Arkansas’ run defense will have to limit Tulsa’s run offense, an offense that averages 248 rushing yards per game good for ninth in Division-I. With underclassmen and largely inexperienced players in the back seven of the Hogs’ defense playing the run might be easier for them than playing the pass but how will the upstart players respond to the pounding play after play?
The Golden Hurricane have three guys with over 500 yards of total rushing yards on the season; Ja’Terian Douglas (702), Trey Watts (507), and Alex Singleton (505).
Alex Singleton is a load and will get the ball on goal line and short yardage plays. At 6’1”, 260 pounds, he leads the team with 15 rushing touchdowns.
Tulsa quarterback Cody Green has not had to pass the ball too often for the team to be successful. Should Arkansas shutdown the Golden Hurricane running attack Green might have trouble carrying the load with his arm. Green is only completing 52.2 percent of his passes and has 1,329 passing yards on the year. He sports a touchdown to interception rate of 10/6.
Green also enters the game with a shoulder injury that could limit his effectiveness in the pocket.
DeAundre Brown is a name that should be called several times on Saturday. Brown leads the Tulsa defense from his linebacker position in total tackles (82), tackles for a loss (13), and sacks (8).
The other name Hog fans will want to know about before Saturday is Jared St. John. St. John is second on the team with seven sacks and is a disruptive force from his defensive end position.
Arkansas got a bump last week in the running game with Dennis Johnson’s 161 rushing yards. Johnson will not have to share snaps with running back Knile Davis, out with a hamstring injury, thus should be in for another big game for the Hogs.
Cobi Hamilton has been an unstoppable force for Arkansas all season. Hamilton is 100 yards shy of reaching the 1,000 yard plateau. His 58 receptions leads the SEC and his 4 touchdowns are a team-high in receiving TDs. The trouble with Hamilton’s success is Wilson rarely looks for any other receivers on the field.
The tandem has been successful but everyone on the field knows where the ball is going when Arkansas drops back to pass. That strategy caused problems for the Hogs against Ole Miss last weekend as Wilson forced throws into double coverage throughout the game.
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa’s head coach football coach, will have an easier time to preparing for the Razorbacks’ offense as compared to previous seasons as Tulsa saw a similar offensive style when facing UAB earlier this season. Tulsa won their matchup against UAB 49-42 in Birmingham.
The Razorback run defense has been very productive of late. If the team still has their head in the game and is not looking towards next season Tulsa could be in big trouble.
Tyler Wilson is still too good of a quarterback to have back-to-back let down games. Arkansas has been running the ball better not only because Dennis Johnson has been a tough downhill runner but he has had help from his fullback getting to the second level. Johnson should help the Hogs control the clock and open up passing lanes for Wilson.
UAB hung tough with Tulsa but UAB only mimics the Arkansas offense in style not in talent.
Arkansas 36 – Tulsa 28
News and Notes
Tulsa has several Arkansas prep athletes on their roster including:
DB Jeremy Brady, Pulaski Academy
QB Joseph Calcagni, Springdale
DB Hayden Carman, Little Rock Catholic
LB Colbert Nelson, Little Rock Catholic
Arkansas holds an all-time lead in the series, 53-15-2, and won the last meeting in the series 30-23 in 2008.
The Arkansas vs. Tulsa non-conference game will air on the SEC Network.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Arkansas Razorback Stat Lines:
Tulsa No. 95, 261.62 yards per game
Arkansas No. 116, 301.25 yards per game
Tulsa No. 85, 209.00 yards per game
Arkansas No. 17, 309.63 yards per game
Tulsa No. 26, 121.13 yards per game
Arkansas No. 30, 123.38 yards per game
Tulsa No. 9, 248.75 yards per game
Arkansas No. 100, 122.13
Tulsa No. 56, 25.63 points per game
Arkansas No. 87, 30.88 points per game
Tulsa No. 16, 39.50 points per game
Arkansas No. 69, 27.00 points per game
Tulsa No. 1, 4.38 sacks per game
Arkansas No. 31, 2.50 sacks per game
Tulsa No. 31, .50 turnovers gained per game
Arkansas No. 111, -1.25 turnovers lost per game