Arkansas football: The Hogs need a huge game from this player to beat Miss State

Trey Knox, Arkansas football (Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)
Trey Knox, Arkansas football (Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports) /
Arkansas football
Dominique Johnson, Arkansas football (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Arkansas football team hosts SEC rival Mississippi State today at 3 p.m. in a game that could determine whether or not the Hogs will make it to a bowl game this season.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-3), ranked No. 17 in the recent college football playoff rankings, have enjoyed success over the Razorbacks in recent years, winning seven of the past nine meetings.

Make no mistake, this game will tell Razorback fans a lot about where this team is headed.

Head Coach Sam Pittman knows this is one of the most important matchups in the season and has already announced some adjustments heading into kickoff.

Which Arkansas football player needs to step up in the game against Mississippi State?

Pittman announced that Dominique Johnson will get the start this week over the the team’s leading rusher Trelon Smith (459 total rushing yards, 4 touchdowns).

Johnson, the sophomore out of Crowley, Texas, is fourth on the team in total rushing yards behind Smith, Raheim Sanders and KJ Jefferson.

Despite being fourth on the the team in rushing yards, he’s still recorded 309 total yards. You could make the argument that Johnson could be an every-down back and starter for most college football teams.

This is precisely why Pittman wants to get Johnson more touches. He’s only recorded 36 carries this season, but is averaging 7.9 yards per carry.

If he can sustain that average, it’ll produce great results for the Razorbacks. However, Johnson and the offensive line will have their work cut out for them because Mississippi State has an excellent run defense.

The Bulldogs are giving up just 89.6 rushing yards per game, but they have yet to face a four-pronged run attack this season.

If Johnson can have one of his best games as a Razorback, the team will have a great chance at earning the win against a tough SEC opponent.