Here’s everything you need to know about the season-opening meeting between the Nicholls State Colonels and Arkansas Razorbacks today on SEC Network.

When: Today, Sept. 6
Where: Fayetteville, Ark. – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Game Time: 4 PM ET
TV: SEC Network (alternate)
Current Line: Arkansas (-39.5)

Game Buzz: Today’s game marks the 2014 home-opener for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Bret Bielema and the Hogs are coming off a 45-21 loss to Auburn and looking to snap their 10-game losing streak, dating back to last season. Today’s opponent, Nicholls State, won’t be a tough challenge for the Hogs and it should be a blowout in Fayetteville.

Saturday Down South previews

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Players to watch:

  • QB Brandon Allen
  • DE Trey Flowers
  • WR Keon Hatcher
  • S Alan Turner
  • RB Alex Collins
  • RB Jonathan Williams
  • RB Korliss Marshall
  • LB Brooks Ellis
  • S Rohan Gaines
  • TE AJ Derby

Freshmen to watch:

  • CB Henre’ Toliver
  • S Josh Liddell
  • LB Dwayne Eugene
  • OL Brian Wallace
  • OL Frank Ragnow
  • WR Jared Cornelius

Keys for Arkansas:

  •  Limit Nicholls State passing attack. The Hogs’ secondary was exposed last week against Auburn. It’ll be a much easier opponent this week for Arkansas, but the secondary needs to have a strong game as they prepare for tougher opponents in the next few weeks. Today will be a perfect opportunity for Arkansas to shore up some weaknesses.
  • Establish running game. It’s no secret. Arkansas offense is predicated on the success of the running game. A successful game on the ground will also open things up for quarterback Brandon Allen on the deep ball and play action. Alex Collins, Korliss Marshall and Jonathan Williams should be able to overpower Nicholls State this afternoon, especially behind their big offensive line.
  • Build confidence of wide receivers. Last week wasn’t a banner day for the Arkansas wide receivers. They dropped five passes, including a deep ball that would have been a touchdown. Reports out of practice suggest that the wide receivers have had a great week working on catching the football. They also need a strong game today to build confidence before the Texas Tech game next weekend. Arkansas needs their wide receivers at their best during the season.

Razorbacks’ glaring weakness to watchSecondary – The Arkansas defensive backs must work on shoring up their tackles. Too many guys were trying to strip the football against Auburn and it cost them as the Tigers racked up numerous yards after contact. Safeties Alan Turner and Rohan Gaines will need to quarterback the secondary and a strong performance from the two of them will be an encouraging sign for future weeks.

Most interesting part of the game: Arkansas hasn’t won a football game since Sept. 14, 2013, nearly a year ago. They’ll look to snap their 10-game losing streak today.

Team buzz: Arkansas lost last week, but the general consensus is that the Hogs are an improved squad. With a serviceable quarterback in Brandon Allen and a dominating run game, they have the pieces on offense, but the secondary continues to be a question. If the defense improves, the Hogs could be going bowling this year.

NICHOLLS STATE COLONELS

Players to watch:

  • WR Darryl Watson
  • RB Michael Henry
  • RB Tobias Lofton
  • QB Beaux Hebert
  • QB Kalen Henderson
  • LB Davin Bovie

Keys for Nicholls State:

  • Control time of possession. Nicholls State will be overwhelmed in this game, so the one way they can stay competitive is controlling the time of possession. Keeping the ball out of Brandon Allen and Arkansas’ running backs will be crucial to the Colonels’ success today.
  • Attack the secondary. The Hogs’ secondary is the weakest area of the team and the one area where Nicholls State could have success. They’ll need to fend off defensive ends Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise, among others, but the Colonels have the weapons at quarterback to do some damage in the passing game.

Nicholls State’s glaring weakness to watch: Run defense – Air Force’s triple option run game gashed the Colonels’ defense. The Falcons picked up an NCAA-best 539 yards on the ground last week against Nicholls State. Arkansas doesn’t run a triple option, but their three-headed rushing attack should dominate today’s game.

Most interesting part of the game: Much has been made of Arkansas’ 10-game losing streak, but the Colonels are in the midst of a losing streak of their own. Nicholls State has lost seven games in a row.

Team buzz: Nicholls State is easily the worst team on Arkansas’ schedule this season. They are middle-of-the-road Southland Conference team and will be outsized and outplayed in virtually every area of the game. The Colonels will collect their check from Arkansas today, but they don’t want do much else. Razorbacks win in a blowout.