5 keys to an Arkansas victory over Mississippi State
It was a disappointing Saturday inside Razorback Stadium against Alabama. Following the game, Arkansas fans found out the bad news of star quarterback KJ Jefferson missing a couple of practices due to an injury last week. If he is a no-go, it’ll put a wrench into the plans. Will Arkansas’ offense be effective without its guy under center?
Alabama did what it seemingly does to 98 percent of SEC and out-of-conference opponents. It suffocates the life out of an opponent until it’s dead in the water before pouncing on its prey for the remainder of the matchup.
Something to also remember is that this will be Arkansas’ first true road game of the season. How will the Razorbacks respond following back-to-back losses? Will they be able to withstand the injury bug this week? Here are the keys to the game regardless of what’s happening inside the locker room.
The run game
This week will be huge for Arkansas if its plans on being competitive against Mississippi State. The Razorbacks currently sit 6th in all of Power 5 with 232.4 yards per game.
Without Jefferson at quarterback, the Razorbacks will need to have all backs on deck when they play the Bulldogs. If Jefferson can’t play, Cade Fortin will likely get the start.
That means Rocket Sanders, Dominique Johnson, AJ Green and Rashod Dubinion will be heavily depended on to control the time of possession. Keeping Will Rogers, who is tied for the national lead with 19 touchdowns, off the field as much as possible will be key to a victory.
Arkansas suffered a down week when it came to rushing the passer against Alabama. The Hogs were active but were able to record only 1 sack. They still lead Power 5 in sacks and will need to figure out a way to slow down the Air Raid offense.
In every game this season when a big play has been needed or a run started, the Hogs have been able to do so. Down 28-0 to the Crimson Tide, the Razorbacks went on a 23-0 run in the 3rd quarter to get back in the game.
Down 23-14 against Texas A&M and needing a huge 4th-quarter comeback, Arkansas was able to come within a missed field goal of winning the game.
This Razorbacks team will need to stay focused for a full game this week in order to overcome the absences of key players. During the 2020 season, Arkansas was able to overcome injuries and lack of depth to upset the Bulldogs inside Davis-Wade Stadium.
Being able to stop the Air Raid is key to a Hogs victory, and they’ll need the middle of the defense playing sound, fundamental football.
That means no missed tackles and keeping receivers in front of them most of the game. The Bulldogs’ offense will use a lot of short routes, especially with their running backs out of the backfield.
Success against The Pirate
Since Sam Pittman and Mike Leach have been head coaches at their respective schools, the series has been one-sided, with Arkansas winning both games.
Arkansas won its 1st conference game in 20 tries in Starkville. The Hogs followed it up with another win at home last season.