College Football News Preview 2020: Arkansas Razorbacks Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Arkansas Razorbacks Offense
If you’re going to run the high-powered, up-tempo passing game, it had better keep the chains moving.
The time of possession stat doesn’t matter all that much when you’re moving at a quick pace, keeping a defense on its heels, and scoring in a hurry. But when you go three-and-out, or when drives stall way too quickly, that equals disaster.
The Hogs were 13th in the SEC and 111th in the nation in time of possession – only having the ball for 27:47 a game – because the passing game just couldn’t connect. The quarterbacks combined to hit just 49.6% of their passes, and worse yet, there wasn’t anything happening whatsoever deep.
The Hogs failed to hit the 50% completion mark in each of the last seven games, and that was with throwing a whole lot of short-to-midrange passes. There just weren’t enough long drives, failing to covert more than 35% on third downs in each of the last six games.
Biggest Key To The Arkansas Razorbacks Defense
Stop the run. The SEC’s worst defense has to start somewhere, and it needs to begin with being a whole lot stronger against everyone’s ground game.
The secondary needs to come up with more stops and big plays, and the D as a whole needs to be a whole lot stronger in the red zone, but up front, allowing 222 yards per game on the ground – Vanderbilt was second-worst in the SEC, allowing 209 per game, and no one else allowed more than 158 – is the gut punch the team can’t get past.
Mostly, when teams didn’t run well, it was because they were too busy throwing it all over the yard. However, there was a brutal run of five SEC games in six when the D allowed 260 rushing yards or more – and the one outlier was against Alabama, who took target practice through the air.
Arkansas has allowed 200 rushing yards or more in 11 of its last 19 games – it went 1-10.
Key Arkansas Razorbacks Player To A Successful Season
QB Feleipe Franks, Sr.
Nick Starkel, Ben Hicks, Jack Linsey, John Stephen Jones, Ty Storey, Cole Kelley, Connor Noland, KJ Jefferson.
Eight players attempted at least 26 passes for the Hogs over the last two seasons.
For the good of the program over the next several years, it would be a bigger plus if Jefferson could rise up and become the quarterback to work around, but Franks – assuming his leg is healthy – would be what the program needs just to start being more competitive.
Franks was always maddening for Florida. He has all the skills and talent in world, but he couldn’t seem to put it all together on a consistent basis. He’s an SEC starting quarterback, though, and it’s been a while since Arkansas has had one who could shine at a high level.
Key Game To The Arkansas Razorbacks Season
Ole Miss, Oct. 17
Arkansas has won just two games over FBS teams over the last two seasons. It lost to San Jose State last year, dropped the dates to Colorado State and North Texas in 2018, and it can’t take any win for granted.
Even the 2019 opening win against Portland State was a 20-13 fight. This year, there’s nothing but SEC games on the slate after losing the last 19 conference battles and going 1-25 in the last 26. That one?
The home game against the Rebels and the date against Missouri appear to be the two shots the Hogs have a reasonable shot to pull off.
– Arkansas Razorbacks Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Arkansas Fun Stats
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 154 – Arkansas 42
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:13 – Arkansas 27:47
– Total Yards: Opponents 5,408 – Arkansas 4,081