Game Day Preview: What you need to know about Arkansas-Tennessee
There are still eight games on the Arkansas football schedule, and each one will be big.
The Razorbacks dug themselves into a 1-3 hole, and need to win five of those contests to become bowl eligible. It’s not an easy stretch, but they can turn things around this weekend with a win over Tennessee.
Arkansas (1-3, 0-1 SEC) at Tennessee (2-2, 0-1)
Kickoff: Sat., Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Weather: 58 degrees with a 90 percent chance of rain (Weather.com)
Line: Tennessee is favored by 7 points
By the numbers
4-13: That is Arkansas’ lifetime record against Tennessee. Although, the Razorbacks did pick up a 49-7 win over the Vols the last time the two faced off in 2011.
7.8: Arkansas is has been the second-most penalized team in the SEC this season, averaging 7.8 per game. The Razorbacks have 31 penalties on the season, including 11 against Texas A&M last weekend.
66.67: The Razorbacks have converted just 66.67 percent of their red-zone opportunities, ranking them second-worst in the SEC. They trail only Vanderbilt (60 percent) in this category.
Storylines to watch
Who wants it more?
This is a huge game for both teams. Tennessee is coming off a devastating loss to Florida, which only brought up further reminders of the Vols blowing a 17-point lead against Oklahoma in Week 2. Arkansas is on a three-game losing streak and desperately needs a win to turn things around. Expect both teams to play as if their seasons depend on it.
The running backs
If you’re a fan of talented running backs, Saturday’s contest is for you. Arkansas’ Alex Collins ranks third in the SEC in rushing while Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd comes in as the Conference’s sixth-best running back. Collins has racked up 502 yards on the season while Hurd collected 402 through four games. Look for both backs to get a heavy workload on Saturday, especially if the skies open up.
Can Brandon Allen take advantage or a poor Tennessee secondary?
While Collins is going to get his touches, quarterback Brandon Allen could have a big day against the Vols’ secondary. Tennessee ranks as the second-worst passing defense in the SEC, giving up 248.3 yards through the air per game. Florida quarterback Will Grier threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns against the Vols last week, and the redshirt freshman ranks No. 9 in the SEC in passing. Allen is the second-best passer in conference based on pure yardage (1,141 yards), and could add a bunch to that total Saturday.
Prediction: Arkansas 21, Tennessee 17
Arkansas has been improving each week, but hasn’t put together a complete game this season. This will be the week they do it behind Allen. The senior quarterback has been impressive all season, but has been criticized for some big mistakes, including a critical fumble late in the game last week. I think he silences the doubters this week against a weak Tennessee secondary.