TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Heading into Alabama’s road matchup against No. 16 Arkansas, we enlisted a little help to get a feel for the Razorbacks ahead of the game Saturday.
Jason Kersey is the Arkansas beat reporter for SEC Country. Kickoff at Razorback Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Top-ranked Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) is coming off a 34-6 win against Kentucky. Arkansas (4-1, 0-1 SEC) defeated Alcorn State 52-10 in Week 5.
Jason Kersey, SEC Country
Question: We hear about how Arkansas is still a tough running team. Is that still the case this season or has the offense changed some with Austin Allen at quarterback?
Kersey: Arkansas has a very good running back in Rawleigh Williams III and a potential superstar in true freshman Devwah Whaley. But the Hogs offensive line has been a real problem this season, both in terms of running the ball and keeping Austin Allen protected. Allen could be a great quarterback — he’s got a lot of good receivers at his disposal — but that doesn’t mean a thing if he can’t stay off his back.
Q: Alabama opened as a 13-point favorite. Is that too high, too low or just right?
Kersey: Based on how good Alabama is and the glaring questions about Arkansas — the O-line and run defense — I would say 13 seems about right to me.
Q: What happened to Arkansas in the second half against Texas A&M? And what have the Razorbacks done since then to avoid another letdown like that?
Kersey: It felt like Arkansas was in control of the game through most of the first three quarters until the Hogs failed to convert a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1. Two plays later, Trevor Knight threw a 92-yard touchdown pass, and things unraveled from there. It was a little surprising because two weeks before that, they lost momentum when TCU rallied and took control of the game. But the Hogs responded well to that and ended up winning in overtime. Part of that, I’m sure, is that Texas A&M is a lot better than TCU.
Q: Outside of the obvious, who are some Arkansas players Alabama fans should know?
Kersey: Junior defensive back Henre’ Toliver has been a really excellent player this season, effectively switching between nickelback and cornerback. I’d also keep an eye on senior receiver Drew Morgan. He hasn’t necessarily put up big numbers this year but is very reliable in clutch moments.
Q: What’s your feel for the game and prediction?
Kersey: I like Alabama to win 34-17. I think the game might stay relatively close through the first two-and-a-half or three quarters before the Crimson Tide’s talent edge becomes too much late.