On Saturday the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3) will take on the #14 South Carolina Gamecocks (4-1) at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11:21 a.m and will be televised on the SEC Network.
Bret Bielema’s Arkansas football team has hit a slump. The Hogs have lost their last three games and are struggling to find an identity. While this may of been expected, it is still frustrating to the coaches, players, and fans.
There is hope however, that the Razorbacks can somehow turn this season around and it starts this weekend when the Gamecocks come to town.
South Carolina boast a 4-1 record and a top-15 ranking, but their wins haven’t been all that impressive.
The Gamecocks rolled over a lackluster North Carolina team, then lost by 11 to Georgia the following week for their one and only loss. They went on to beat Vandy by 10, but then only beat UCF by three and last week beat Kentucky by only a touchdown at home.
Carolina’s offense is dangerous though. Running back Mike Davis leads the SEC averaging a total of 122.8 rushing yards per game. Connor Shaw is back and the dual-threat quarterback can cause headaches for any defense with his scrambling ability and accurate throws.
The defense for the Gamecocks is good, but not overpowering and the Hogs, if they execute, should be able to move the ball.
One thing that the defense does have is a guy by the name of Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney, who will more than likely be the first pick in the NFL Draft this spring, sat out last week’s game with bruised ribs. This caused an uproar from college football analysts all across the country, each with their own speculation as if Clowney was really injured or just opted to not play for risk of any further injuries.
Head coach Steve Spurrier eventually came out earlier this week just to set matters straight and said that no one needs to be upset at Clowney and they should thank him for choosing South Carolina as his school.
It was just recently announced that Clowney will start Saturday, but all of the scrutiny and attention against him and Spurrier has helped the Hogs.
Anytime the opposing team under heavy media pressure it causes all of the coaches and players to be distracted from preparing for the game. While it might not be major, it just might be a small thing that Arkansas can take advantage of.
If we learned one thing from last week, it’s that the Razorbacks cannot play from behind. If the Hogs want to stay in this game and have a chance to win they must stay within at least ten points because the offense is just not made to put up points fast.
The Hogs need Brandon Allen to have a big game. No more bad throws to wide open receivers, no more misreads, and especially no more pick-sixes. Allen is definitely capable of having a good game, but like every other previous game, the Hogs’ offense cannot become one-dimensional, whether it be run or pass.
Defensively the Hogs stack up well against Carolina, but stopping Mike Davis will be a tough task. The run defense looked incredible for the Hogs last week against Florida, but the guys in the trenches will have to play their best game so far if they want to stop Davis and Shaw.
Cornerback Will Hines broke his arm during last week’s game, so redshirt freshman Jared Collins will have to step up to fill the spot. Coverage and tackling in the secondary, which was horrendous against Florida, is going to be crucial for the Hogs to execute this game or the Gamecocks will run away with this one.
Both teams have something to prove after last week’s performances, so it should be interesting. It comes down to Arkansas’ offense and if they can run the ball effectively, and the defense making plays.
The Razorbacks are hungry and tiring of losing, but can they pull off the upset?
South Carolina hasn’t won in Fayetteville since 2005 and have a 2-8 record in Razorback Stadium.
It’s homecoming in Fayetteville and everything finally comes together for the Hogs. They find a way to stop Davis and the Gamecock offense and get coach Bielema’s first SEC victory.
Arkansas- 31 South Carolina- 28
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