Fearless prediction: Arkansas vs. Georgia Southern
The 2021 season is off to a spectacular start for Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Although the Hogs came out flat against Rice, they were anything but this past week against Texas. The defense was stifling. The running game dominated for 333 yards. Arkansas led 16-0 at halftime and won 40-21.
Now the attention turns to Sun Belt Conference foe Georgia Southern (1-1). After winning their season opener against Gardner-Webb, the Eagles lost 38-6 to Florida Atlantic in Week 2. But Georgia Southern could be returning 2 important players in this game against the Razorbacks.
Starting quarterback Justin Tomlin is back from an academic suspension. He will replace Cam Ransom, who filled in during his absence. Running back J.D. King, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament, may also return.
So the Hogs defense will have to take that into account when preparing for the Eagles.
Arkansas held Texas to just 3.4 yards per carry Saturday. It also limited starting quarterback Hudson Card to 8-of-15 and 61 yards passing. It recorded 3 sacks and 10 tackles for loss and forced a fumble.
During the Texas game, the Razorbacks laid out the blueprint for this season. They are going to attempt to win games with a smash-mouth running game and a swarming defense.
The Hogs have a number of running backs plus a rushing quarterback to attack opposing defenses with. Four players finished with a rushing touchdown against the Longhorns. Quarterback KJ Jefferson rushed 10 times for 73 yards. He was not sacked a single time.
Jefferson’s ability to avoid pressure and take off makes Arkansas an extremely difficult team to defend. We haven’t gotten to see Jefferson’s passing ability on display much this season, but it’s there as well. He threw for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns in his lone start against Missouri last year.
Junior receiver Treylon Burks has also yet to have a big game in 2021. Pittman said during his weekly press conference that that’s because Arkansas hasn’t been forced to throw much. And as long as the Hogs can move the ball on the ground, that’s likely what they will do.
Still, it would be nice to see the preseason Biletnikoff Award candidate get a bit more involved this week.
There is always the possibility of a letdown game, especially coming off such a monumental victory. With No. 5 Texas A&M looming next week, Arkansas could get caught looking ahead.
But when this was brought up to Pittman, he noted that the team had no issues after snapping its 20-game SEC losing streak against Mississippi State last year. It came out and nearly won again the following week against Auburn.
Despite 2 of its most vital players possibly set to return, Georgia Southern simply doesn’t have the talent to compete with Arkansas. The Eagles are giving up an average of 481 yards per game in this season’s small sample. I would expect the Hogs to have no trouble getting exactly what they want once again.
Expect Pittman to have his team prepared and the Hogs to get to 3-0 without much difficulty.
Fearless prediction: Arkansas 48, Georgia Southern 10