Favorite

Arkansas Razorbacks 2016 football preview, part II 

The second chapter in the 2016 Razorback Football Trilogy is an October that starts with a presumed breather in Little Rock.

The second chapter in the 2016 Razorback Football Trilogy is an October that starts with a presumed breather in Little Rock (though we know, based on occurrences at War Memorial in 2012 and 2015 that no assumptions are safe), followed by a merciless gauntlet that, at the very least, keeps the team homebound for three straight weeks. We projected the Hogs to take charge in September and roll through four games, including a sweep of two formidable games in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, to an undefeated start that puts them in the rankings. (Read parts I and III.)

Alcorn State in Little Rock, Oct. 1: The ongoing effort to marginalize War Memorial Stadium means that the Hogs draw the Braves of the SWAC. The good start by the team means that this throwaway game will be well attended but it will also be a shade stiffer than your typical lower-division foe. Alcorn State goes wide-open and athletic, with the original "Air McNair" at the helm; head coach Fred, the late Steve's older brother, has taken the reins as head coach and promises to employ a downfield passing game that could challenge the Hogs' secondary at times.

Arkansas, however, fears the fallout of yet another uninspired game in the capital city, and turns up the pressure on the Braves' backfield. A school-record nine sacks result, three coming from Tevin Beanum, and the Hogs cruise to 5-0 with a balanced offensive approach that allows backup quarterback Rafe Peavey a long-awaited shot to play extended minutes. Hogs 44, Braves 17.

Alabama in Fayetteville, Oct. 8: I've toyed with using this space to project a break in Nick Saban's absolute dominance of Arkansas since his tenure in Tuscaloosa began, and clearly it did not work. Arkansas has played commendably well under Bret Bielema against the Tide the past two seasons, but still, the losing streak is double-digits and the albatross gains weight every year.

The thing is, Bama looks stout again, of course, because their defensive line now offers a brand of pressure and athleticism that was lacking a few years prior. On the other side, despite again having to groom a quarterback (Cooper Bateman seems the likely choice), the skill players remain abundant, led by receiver Calvin Ridley.

The Hogs are fired up on a gorgeous night on the Hill, primed to close the games they couldn't against the Tide in 2014-15. But again, self-inflicted wounds creep in: a huge fourth-quarter turnover on a muffed punt return, and a bad snap on a field goal attempt leading to a major loss of yardage, allow Bama to break a third-quarter tie with two late TDs. Crimson Tide 30, Hogs 22.

Ole Miss in Fayetteville, Oct. 15: There is no rest for the weary in the SEC, and after another agonizing one against the power brokers, the Hogs draw the Rebels, who are predictably chafed after dropping two games in a row to Arkansas in disparate ways. The 30-0 whitewashing the Razorbacks put on the Rebs in 2014 was a thing of beauty wrought through ugly conditions; the epic overtime battle last year in Oxford culminated with one miracle (fourth-and-25) essentially snuffing out another (an SEC West crown for Ole Miss).

The Rebels are mad, but they're also less equipped to channel that anger. LaQuon Treadwell did untold damage to the Hogs' defensive backs last fall while Laremy Tunsil fended off pursuers of quarterback Chad Kelly ably, allowing Kelly to have a monster game scrambling out of trouble. Treadwell and Tunsil went to the NFL, with the latter stirring up some trouble for the Rebels long term in the process, and Kelly's a little careless with the football at times. This is one of those times.

Despite the Hogs' own struggles offensively in this one, Kelly fires three bad interceptions, two going back for scores by Dre Greenlaw and D.J. Dean. The second half becomes a grind-it-out affair for the Hogs, and as usual they control the clock masterfully behind Devwah Whaley's 131-yard, two-touchdown opus on the ground. Hogs 38, Rebels 27. 

Auburn in Auburn, Oct. 22: With the Hogs soaring at 6-1, 2-1, Auburn isn't quite the threat it once presented, and again is too cushiony on defense to do much good against a Razorback line that is really starting to find its unity. Behind a massive effort from Dan Skipper and Conway's own Colton Jackson, the Hogs have their way with the Tigers' front and bull their way to over 350 yards rushing. Whaley and Kody Walker both hit the 100-yard mark.

Meanwhile, Gus Malzahn's offense is more potent this fall, but still ravaged by inconsistencies and personnel uncertainties. Due to the recent dismissal of presumptive starting tailback Jovon Robinson, the Tigers' committee approach in the backfield fails considerably to make a dent in an invigorated Hog front. The Auburn passing attack wounds the Hogs a bit with three scores and 300-plus yards, but in the end, Arkansas gets another win over the Tigers and Bielema's 7-1, 3-1 start is a full two games ahead of his philosophical nemesis Malzahn's. Auburn's own in-house woes—personnel-wise and other—continue to be on display. The Tigers throw well, but the run game is stuffed as Bielema vanquishes his philosophical nemesis Malzahn again. Hogs 34, Tigers 21.

The Hogs get a bye week to close out the month, and head to November on the fringes of the Top 10, looking for another signature road win and a final triumph at home to cement their bowl position.


Favorite

Speaking of Arkansas Razorbacks, Bret Bielema

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    December 8, 2016
    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte. /more/
  • Woeful

    December 1, 2016
    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference. /more/
  • Williams shines

    November 24, 2016
    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out? /more/
  • Deflated

    November 17, 2016
    Foolish consistency, per Emerson, is the hobgoblin of little minds. What commentary he would've offered about the Arkansas Razorbacks' 10 weeks of wild inconsistency is for debate, but he might've been more profane than pithy if he had to sit through this madness. /more/
  • After Auburn

    October 27, 2016
    I'm not one for hyperbole, but the mere mention of "56-3" changes things. /more/
  • Lessons learned

    October 20, 2016
    Picture Bret Bielema pole-vaulting for a minute. Then, once the laughter subsides, hear me out with this absurd analogy. /more/
  • UA faculty member apologizes for cursing football coach

    October 11, 2016
    The University of Arkansas faculty member who was arrested after cursing Hog football coach Bret Bielema following the Razorbacks' loss has apologized for his actions. /more/
  • On to Alabama

    October 6, 2016
    With War Memorial Stadium's mystique and alleged efficacy dying by the year, it was at least comforting to watch Arkansas finally devour a purported cupcake there. Bret Bielema boosted his Little Rock record to 2-3, with those two wins coming against Football Championship Subdivision schools, after the Hogs pummeled Alcorn State 52-10 on Saturday. /more/
  • Hogs blew it

    September 29, 2016
    Arkansas needed to beat Texas A&M. That's it. Sometimes perfunctory is poetry. /more/
  • 2-0

    September 15, 2016
    If you tuned in to ESPN Saturday night or settled into your seats at Fort Worth's compact but energetic Amon Carter Stadium, you undoubtedly felt like the impending Arkansas-TCU tilt was going to be compelling, if for no other reason because it pitted a burgeoning Big 12 power against a rising SEC program, with both having that Southwest Conference badging that went dormant a quarter-century ago. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Beau Wilcox

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Woeful

    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Williams shines

    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out?
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Pearls About Swine

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Woeful

    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Williams shines

    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out?
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Resurrection, reflection

    • http://hairtransplantncr.com/ hair transplant in delhi hair transplant ncr hair transplant cost hair transplant cost in…

    • on December 8, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation