Arkansas vs Texas: Breakdown



Arkansas -7 and o/u 44.5

Arkansas Breakdown –

Season highlights: The Razorbacks picked up their first SEC win since 2011 and their first under head coach Bret Bielema when they shut out LSU 17-0. This ended a 17-game conference losing streak and a 3-game losing streak in the Battle for the Golden Boot. The Hogs followed up the victory with a 30-0 pounding of No. 8 ranked Ole Miss. The win gave the Hogs their second straight shutout and Arkansas became the first team ever to shutout back-to-back ranked opponents. It took nearly 11 quarters of football before the Razorbacks gave up a point. They also allowed just 38 points in their last 4 games combined against 4 teams that were ranked inside the top 25.

Season lowlights: Arkansas lost 3 nail biters this season! An overtime loss to Texas A&M came first, but the 17-10 loss to former No. 1 ranked Mississippi State and the 14-13 loss to current No. 1 Alabama hurt the most. The Hogs controlled each of these games, but simply didn’t pull them out. Arkansas’ worst performance came against Georgia, when they fell behind 38-6 at half. Eventually they fought back, but still lost 45-32. The Razorbacks would lose all six of their games to ranked opponents this season and became the first team to ever play all eight of their conference games against ranked teams.

Motivation factor: Arkansas was only 3-4 after the Georgia loss and had games remaining against UAB, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss and Missouri. The remaining schedule didn’t look promising, but the Razorbacks reached their goal before the Missouri game. Despite losing their final game, Arkansas has plenty of momentum heading into the Texas Bowl. They’ve reached their first bowl game in 3 seasons and feel like they’re the best team in the nation with 5 or more losses. The Razorbacks could very easily be a 9-3 team this season.

Players to watch: Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins give Arkansas one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. Williams led the team with 1,085 rushing yards and ran for 11 touchdowns. Collins isn’t far behind with 1,024 rushing yards and 12 scores. Watch for tight end Hunter Henry to get many looks on passing downs as well. His numbers aren’t frightening, but Henry can really extend the defense; especially if Texas is forced to use a linebacker to cover him.

Sep 20, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Jonathan Williams (32) gets past Northern Illinois University Huskies defenders during a game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated NIU 52-14. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Breakdown –

Season highlights:  First year head coach Charlie Strong turned the Longhorns’ defense into a top-15 unit nationally in yards per play, pass defense, sacks and goal-line stops. Texas was just 3-5 before knocking off three straight opponents and becoming bowl eligible. The Longhorns won two of those games on the road against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. They won all three games by 17 points or more and beat a West Virginia team that just handed Baylor its first loss.

Season lowlights: It’s been an up and down season for the Longhorns. “Texas lost quarterback David Ash to a career-ending concussion. Center Dominic Espinosa and nose tackle Desmond Jackson were lost for the season in non-conference play. Expected starting offensive tackles Desmond Harrison (suspension) and Kennedy Estelle (dismissal) were gone too,” as stated by Big 12 reporter Max Olson. In their six losses, Texas averaged only 11 points per game. They were blown out at home by BYU, Baylor and TCU. They would also lose their rivalry game against Oklahoma and get shutout by Kansas State two weeks later.

Motivation factor: The Longhorns are coming off a loss, but have plenty of momentum after finishing the season with a 3-1 record in their last four. Texas is having what many consider a down season for the program, but will be extremely motivated to pick up their first bowl win for new head coach Charlie Strong in their home state.

Player to watch: Texas’ players to watch for come on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Malcolm Brown and linebacker Jordan Hicks are tremendous players on defense and will be challenged when they take on two 1,000 yard rushers and the biggest offensive line in all of football. Hicks led the team in tackles with 138. He also added 3.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Malcolm Brown emerged as an explosive pass rusher, racking up 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.