The Arkansas Razorbacks are done dwelling on the losses to Texas A&M and Alabama. This Saturday the Hogs march into the Little Rock War Memorial to take on the 10th ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
The Hogs will have to get the ground game going in order to wear down the SEC’s No. 2 ranked rush defense
Date: Saturday, October 18th
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Place: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, Arkansas
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network, Razorback Sports Network
What Arkansas must do to win-
Few would argue Arkansas needs to be as close to perfect as possible in order to win this game. Georgia has seen ups and downs but they remain a powerhouse program who promptly trounced Mizzou in a game without their best player. We still don’t know if Todd Gurley will be reinstated by kickoff, but this contest is all about the execution of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ offense. The Hogs will have to get the ground game going in order to wear down the SEC’s No. 2 ranked rush defense of Georgia. Arkansas controls the clock if they run well and should the play-action open up, expect Brandon Allen to have himself a bigger day. Above all, the Hogs cannot fumble away scoring opportunities at the goal line.
What Georgia will try to do to win-
Georgia knows they’re in for a dog fight, (no pun intended), when they step into the War Memorial but should be up for the tasking. Shaking off an early season loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs have relied on their own ground game to wear down the opposition and win battles within the trenches. We can expect Georgia to take a page out of Alabama’s book by pressuring Brandon Allen in an attempt to flush him out of the pocket and force errant throws. The Bulldogs’ offense held the ball for over 42 minutes while running 87 plays and gaining 379 yards last Saturday. Georgia’s game-plan completely wore out Mizzou and could spell trouble for the Razorbacks if they don’t come ready to play.
The Arkansas Razorbacks’ motivation-
The Razorbacks need an SEC win, plain and simple. Close calls in the last two weeks have garnered the Hogs national respect and in a strange way, Arkansas has a certain momentum. There’s no doubt the entire SEC West will be behind the Hogs on Saturday and should they pull out the “W,” a lot of fans will storm the field. This is all about ending the longest in-conference losing streak in all of college football and being able to turn the page for Bret Bielema’s program.
The Georgia Bulldogs’ motivation-
The Dawgs have done an outstanding job bouncing back from the early loss to South Carolina. Georgia is not only the strong favorite to win the SEC East but also a dark horse to sneak into the College Football Playoff picture. A loss to Arkansas can dramatically change all of this. Kentucky also carries a 5-1 record and is one more in-conference win away from claiming a share of the SEC East lead. Should the Dawgs go down, the Wildcats are the new division leader with a win at LSU. Even worse for Georgia fans is the potential for Florida to get back into the hunt with a Dawgs’ loss.
Arkansas Razorback player to watch-
For the second week in a row, Brandon Allen is the man. Allen wasn’t good or bad against Alabama, but his inability to orchestrate drives in the 4th quarter ultimately doomed the Hogs. When South Carolina defeated Georgia on September 13th, it was quarterback Dylan Thompson who made all the difference for the Gamecocks. Thompson didn’t necessarily dazzle with his 271 yards on 21 completions, but he threw three touchdown passes and sustained drives late in the game. Brandon Allen will be successful through the air if the Hogs are running, but there are times he’ll need to make quick reads and short throws in order to ease the pressure and open up holes along the defensive front.
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Georgia Bulldog player to watch-
Nick Chubb touched the ball 42 times last Saturday and put the Dawgs on his back as they pummeled Missouri on the road. Asking a true freshman to shoulder the complete load is something Georgia head coach Mark Richt wouldn’t usually prefer, but its not like he has a choice. Still, Chubb has already come up big in one SEC game and will most likely be asked to do it again on Saturday. The more experienced and aggressive Arkansas Razorbacks’ defense poses a much bigger challenge for Nick Chubb.
Arkansas Razorbacks’ Wildcard-
Alex Collins didn’t see too much playing time last week and hopefully comes into Saturday with a chip on his shoulder. Listed on the Hogs’ depth chart as the alternate backup to Jonathan Williams, Collins will have to make every carry count if and when he gets the ball. Collins can play a huge role as the change of pace back and if things go right, he breaks off one of two big plays that serve as a momentum swing when the Razorback offense needs it most.
Georgia Bulldogs’ Wildcard-
This is a completely different game if Todd Gurley is on the field. We still don’t know his status for Saturday, but should he play, the Bulldogs become much bigger favorites to win. Gurley took over games before his suspension and its obvious Mark Richt would rather rely on one of the nation’s best to shoulder 40-plus carries instead of a true freshman.
Everything just feels right for the Arkansas Razorbacks as they head towards Saturday’s game. Media outlets continue to give Bret Bielema all the credit for turning around the program and the consensus is the Hogs are finally ready to get over that SEC hump. The War Memorial will be rocking with Sooie Nation and many eyes will be tuned in. Few doubt the Razorbacks want this game more than anything but they have to play disciplined football at all costs. We’re looking at a situation where losing a third consecutive nail-biter or worse, being blown out keeps the program stagnant or potentially a step back.
After so much momentum leading to this point of the season, losing is simply not an option for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.