At 5-3 with four games remaining, Arkansas is an a-bit-above-average team, even if it doesn’t feel like it this week.
Look where the Razorbacks are statistically. They are all over the map. Some things are surprisingly fantastic (see: Austin Allen). Some things are surprisingly brutal (see: sacks against Austin Allen). A lot of things are in-between.
Let’s take a quick check at where Arkansas ranks nationally and in the SEC after eight games. Some of the difficulties are well-established. Some of the positives haven’t been getting a lot of play. Here’s a rundown with national ranks listed first parenthetically then SEC ranks.
Passing offense: 256.4 yards per game (43rd/3rd)
Rushing offense: 160.38 yards per game (83rd/12th)
Scoring offense: 30.9 points per game (56th/6th)
Passing defense: 206.3 yards against per game (36th/5th)
Rushing defense: 221.75 yards against per game (111th/13th)
Scoring defense: 31.4 points per game (88th/T-12th)
A couple things stand out. First, the rushing offense. Rawleigh Williams III is second in the SEC in yards rushing and the Razorbacks are still bottom three in the SEC. At first blush it suggests Devwah Whaley, his back-up, has done nothing. That isn’t the case. More it’s a product of those yards Williams gained coming in chunks. He’s going for 120 a non-conference games, but just 82 in the SEC. Those 82 are bolstered by his season-high 180 yards against Ole Miss, which, by the way, has the worst rushing defense in the SEC.
Remember when the pass defense was the big concern? Louisiana Tech got off lots of quick plays and folks were a little concerned. TCU had some big plays and more doubt came. But flash-forward to the two-third mark of the year and fifth in the SEC isn’t bad. Considering how bad the safety play has been, the cornerbacks have been pretty excellent.
The run defense on the other hand has been atrocious. The No. 111 ranking is nothing short of miserable. The timing couldn’t be worse, either. This is the first year since in at least the last eight that eight different teams are running for more than 190 yards per game. The last two years the SEC had only six teams reach that threshold. Three teams, by the way, left on Arkansas’ schedule fall in that top eight in gaining more than 190 yards per game (Missouri, Mississippi State and LSU). That doesn’t bode well for the future.
But if the offense, namely Allen and the receiving corps, can continue scoring points at the rate they have been, perhaps Arkansas can simply outscore its opponents.
Ultimately, what all of it means is, well, nothing. No one has figured out what Arkansas is this year and we might not know for the rest of the season.