It’s back to Fayetteville as the Razorbacks take a week off from the SEC gauntlet and welcome UAB to town.
”Arkansas has the biggest line that we have seen all season, and that is including Mississippi State”
Date: Saturday, October 25
Time: 11 a.m. CST
Place: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
TV: The SEC Network
Radio: IMG Razorback Sports Network, 107.7 FM Alabama
What Arkansas must do to win- Just run baby! The Hogs have to get back to their bread and butter this weekend by keeping the offense on the ground. The last two games haven’t produced much in terms of a rushing attack and as a result, Brandon Allen has been forced to throw 40-plus passes per game. Arkansas is not an effective passing team, but they can go back to utilizing the play-action if Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins get going early.
What UAB will try to do to win- Just run baby! You read that right, the Blazers will employ their own dynamic running back tandem in Jordan Howard and D.J. Vinson. The two have combined for nearly 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. UAB comes off a tough loss to Middle Tennessee State in which the Blazers ran the ball 60 times. Defensively, we can expect UAB to load up the defensive front and pressure the Razorbacks to put the ball in the air as much as possible.
The Razorbacks’ motivation- While chasing that first SEC win in forever, the Hogs have managed to drop three straight games. More chances lie ahead to shatter the in-conference win-less streak but first, the Razorbacks need to use the home again against UAB to get back on track with a big win. Bret Bielema is no doubt ready to move past last week’s drudging and get back to his kids believing they can beat every opponent on any Saturday.
The Blazers’ motivation- They were looking like a legit contender for the C-USA title and then last week’s road defeat dropped UAB to three losses on the year. The Blazers lost a 47-34 game to Mississippi State back on September 6th, but not before out-gaining the Bulldogs with 548 yards of total offense. Similar offensive production this Saturday in Fayetteville can spell trouble for Arkansas and make a big statement on behalf of Alabama-Birmingham.
Arkansas player to watch- Alex Collins is the player who stands gain the most from Saturday’s game. Collins came out a monster performance at Texas Tech with a grass-roots Heisman campaign, but has struggled since. His suspension for part of the Alabama game seemed to be a point where things had gone sour for the sophomore. Collins has lost fumbles in back-to-back games and continues to lose carries to Jonathan Williams. Look for Collins to hit Razorback Stadium with a huge chip on his shoulder.
UAB player to watch– Jeremiah Briscoe has taken all the first unit snaps this week and appears set to make the first start of his young, collegiate career. The redshirt freshman from Houston, TX steps in for Cody Clements who will make the trip to Fayetteville but is unlikely to play. Clements was injured on the final play of last week’s game against Middle Tennessee State and has been listed as day-to-day since. Briscoe is a two-sport athlete at UAB who went head-to-head with Clements for the starting quarterback position over the Spring.
Razorbacks’ Wildcard- Much like any other, this game is won by Arkansas if the O-Line shows up to play. Blazers head coach Bill Clark admitted his team has yet to see an opponent with such mass along the offensive front:
"”Arkansas has the biggest line that we have seen all season, and that is including Mississippi State,” Clark said in an interview. ”I have never seen a 6-foot-10 offensive lineman, but they are just massive humans.”"
Blazers’ Wildcard- Jamari Staples was one of the best freshman wide receivers last season and despite a slow start to 2014, the Lineville, AL native remains one of the most dynamic players in C-USA. Staples caught four balls for 83 yards and a touchdown last week.
Final Outlook- Arkansas gave everything they had in the Alabama game and seemingly had nothing left in the tank against Georgia. Those who don’t understand the SEC’s aura should look no further than Arkansas. What the Hogs have endured this season is a microcosm of just how tough it is to win in the nation’s toughest conference.
This is a ‘recharge the batteries’-type of week as the Razorbacks take on an inferior opponent and should take a big win in the comforts of home.