Razorbacks To Bring Explosive Offense to Jordan-Hare Stadium
Arkansas Quarterback Austin Allen (Photo: Arkansas Athletics)
The 17th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks enter Saturday’s game with Auburn with a 5-2 record and are 1-2 in the SEC. Much like Auburn, the Razorbacks’ two losses have come to teams who are currently undefeated (Alabama and Texas A&M). When you look at this season’s Razorback team, offense immediately comes to mind. Arkansas has proven to be a balanced team that controls the clock. The Hogs are ranked 2nd nationally in time of possession, averaging 35:41 seconds per game. Arkansas averages 445.6 yards per game, which ranks 6th in the SEC. The talent at the skill positions are to thank for their success. First-year starting quarterback Austin Allen is second in pass efficiency, by completing 138 of 219 pass attempts. He also ranks first among SEC quarterbacks, with 18 touchdown passes in 7 games. To complement the balanced attack, running back Rawleigh Williams leads the SEC with 785 rushing yards on 140 attempts. How does the rest of their team line-up? Quarterback: “Their quarterback is pretty accurate. He is a tough guy. He gets hit a lot. He stands in there and throws it at the last second, and throws it very accurate.” That is what Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said Wednesday of Arkansas quarterback, Austin Allen. Allen is in his first year as starting quarterback for the Hogs, taking over for his older brother, Brandon. He has played very well since assuming the role. Allen has thrown multiple touchdown passes in each game this season and has thrown for over 200 yards in each of the last six games. Allen has completed 138 passes this season, for 1,861 yards and 18 touchdowns. His touchdown to interception ratio is 3:1. Running Back: Rawleigh Williams is another threat that Arkansas brings to the table. He leads the SEC in rushing with 785 yards in seven games. 785 yards through seven games is the 4th most all time by a Razorback ball carrier in that time frame. Darren McFadden holds the record, he ran for 932 yards through seven games in 2007. His career high came a week ago against Ole Miss when he rushed for 180 yards. Freshman Devwah Whaley will see carries as well. In the Hogs week five win over Alcorn State, Williams and Whaley combined to rush for over 100 yards a piece, which was the 39th time in school history that feat was accomplished. Wide Receiver/Tight End: Drew Morgan, Jared Cornelius, Keon Hatcher, and Cody Hollister are the wide receivers that should see the most playing time on Saturday night. Morgan has reeled in 37 passes this season, which is the same number that Ole Miss’ Evan Engram has at this point of the season. Morgan, as well as Hatcher and Tight End Jeremy Sprinkle, are among the top-10 active leaders in career touchdown receptions. Hatcher is second with 16 career catches, Morgan is tied for 4th with 13, and Sprinkle has 11 career touchdown receptions, which is tied for 8th. Last week, Jared Cornelius had 100 yards receiving for the third consecutive week, which matched a record that was set 20 years ago. Cornelius also rushed for the game-winning touchdown last weekend against Ole Miss. Offensive Line: The Razorbacks offensive line is balanced as far as experience goes. Left tackle Dan Skipper is the lone senior on the staff. His 6’10” 319 frame stands solidly among the line. The two guards are Hjalte Froholdt and Jake Raulerson. Right tackle is Sophomore Brian Wallace, and the center is Frank Ragnow. The line has allowed Allen and Williams to produce many yards so far on the season. Defensive Line: Arkansas ranks middle-of-the-road as far as stopping the pass and the run. Arkansas ranks 9th in the conference by allowing 175 yards rushing per game while ranking 7th in stopping the pass, by allowing 223 yards per game. The Hogs go with a 4-3 defense. The two ends are Junior Tevin Beanum, and Deatrich Wise. Inside the ends, are Taiwan Jackson, and Jeremiah Ledbetter. Ledbetter is fifth on the team in tackles with 28 total, 4 of those for loss. Wise is 6th on the SEC career sack list with 16, 10 of those sacks have come over the last 12 games. Linebacker: Arkansas will be without second-leading tackler, Dre Greenlaw, for the second week in a row due to a foot injury. Brooks Ellis is the top dog on the Razorback defense. Ellis is the team leader in tackles with 51 and is 42 tackles away from being the 16th Arkansas player to record 300 tackles in his career. His season high came against TCU in week 2, when he recorded 13. Dewayne Eugene and Khalia Hackett round out the linebacker corp. Defensive Back: Arkansas will be without defensive back De’Andre Coley for the first half of the Auburn game, as he will be serving a suspension after he was ejected during last week’s win over Ole Miss for targeting. Jared Collins is a key to their operation. Collins, who will start at cornerback for Arkansas, has 12 tackles on the season and has three pass breakups. On the other side, corner Henre’ Toliver has 5 interceptions, which leads the team. Lining up at safety will be Santos Ramirez and Josh Liddell. Special Teams: Adam McFain and Cole Hedlund have each spent time kicking field goals for Arkansas this season. All three attempts by McFain have been successful, with his longest being from 43 yards. Hedlund is 4-6, with a long of 38. Deon Stewart and T.J. Hammonds will handle kickoff returns, while Jared Cornelius will return punts.