Leading up to this week’s showdown with Nicholls State, Saturday Down South’s Drew Laing breaks down the battle between the Colonels and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Nicholls State
Week 2 at Arkansas (4 p.m. ET; SEC Network)

THE SKINNY: Nicholls State comes into this game in the midst of a seven-game losing streak and off of a 2013 season in which the Colonels struggled. Last week, Nicholls State fell to Air Force 44-16 as they weren’t able to handle the triple option offense. They failed to really dominate in the run game or through the air and only racked up 263 yards of total offense.

KEY PLAYER: Senior linebacker Davin Bovie leads the Nicholls State defense. Until he suffered a season-ending knee injury towards the end of the 2013 season, Bovie had played in every single game since arriving on campus as a freshman in 2011. He’s a tackling machine and once recorded 21 total tackles against Stephen F. Austin last year. His year got off to a great start against Air Force. The Waggaman, La. native tallied 11 tackles against the Falcons, including 0.5 tackle for loss. He’ll be tasked with suppressing the talented Arkansas running backs this Saturday.

WHAT TO WATCH: After a disappointing display against Auburn, this will be a prime opportunity for the Razorbacks’ secondary to improve before playing Texas Tech next week. Nicholls State didn’t have much offensive success last week, but their best area was the passing game. Quarterback Kalen Henderson is returning from a leg injury in 2013, but he’s not a prolific passer. This game also gives the Hogs a chance to play their younger guys in the secondary. The performance of the defensive backs will be arguably the most scrutinized aspect of the Razorback this weekend.

FINAL SAY: This should be no more than a tune-up game for Arkansas. Nicholls State is easily the worst team on the 2014 schedule for the Hogs, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A strong performance by the offense and a shut-down game from the secondary will help build confidence for Bret Bielema’s team before facing Texas Tech and Northern Illinois in the coming weeks.