Well, well, well. Bobby Petrino and those Arkansas Razorback footballers sure did bounce back from two losses, didn’t they? I honestly didn’t think our defense could hold Texas A&M to 19 points. I’ll say that it was a very pleasant surprise and it’s also something the team can definitely build from. The offense, while still spinning wheels in the running department (aside from Wingo’s late-game burst), is showing great signs of success. Ryan Mallett was very poised in the pocket, despite a shaky first three series, and the receivers (and even RBs) are doing a great job of catching and running. Our third-down conversion rate was slightly improved, but still needs to get better for us to spell the defense longer — we can’t just go for the home run all the time, there will be many times that we need to run the clock.
While on the subject, the defense again showed signs of weakness and allowed a 60-yard TD strike right down the middle of the field. In fact, despite the loss, the Aggies rolled up 458 total yards while snapping the ball around 90 times. The positives for the defense was that there was an effective pass rush all night and tackling was better than the Alabama game. Another positive is that our penalties weren’t as bad this game (only 7 for 52 yards).
I’d say the team is still a work in progress, but there were many positives to take from the game and turn into some momentum. And I think that we’re going to need a little momentum going into this week’s game versus the Auburn Tigers. New head coach Gene Chizik has his team sitting at 5-0 on the year and currently ranked 17 in the top 25. If you ask me, though, it’s not 100% Chizik that has the team doing this well. Rather it’s their offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn — anyone remember that guy? Yeah, the same Malzahn that introduced the Wildcat formation that’s sweeping the nation. The same Malzahn that was at Tulsa the past two seasons, boasting the best offense in the nation both years. There were a lot of questions in the pre-season as to if Malzahn could run HIS offense at Auburn. Here’s the answer: 5-0 record, 512 yards a game (5th in the nation) and 207 points scored (2nd in the nation). Auburn quaterback Chris Todd is flourishing (1200+ yards, 12 TDs, sacked only twice) and their running back tandem of Ben Tate and Ontario McCalebb are averaging nearly 200 yards a game between the two of them.
Oh, and there’s some former NWArkansas guys you might remember, too — Lee Ziemba (Rogers, offensive lineman) and Kodi Burns (Ft. Smith, wildcat formation QB). While their offense is stacked, their defense isn’t quite top-notch yet. In their five wins, they’ve given up 119 points (nearly 24 pts a game) and win-less Ball State dropped 30 on them two games ago. There’s your silver lining, gang. Expect a shoot out. First to 40 might win.
So let’s get to the score predicting. Sassy’s Red House has once again stepped up to provide the prize for our weekly score-predicting contest. Whoever is closest gets some delicious BBQ for their tailgate party.
How to enter
Leave a comment with your name, e-mail address and score prediction. If you want to add anything else, feel free.
What you’ll win
A tailgating package for four (4) from Sassy’s Red House. More info here.
Check the rules page for all the details. Here’s the basics:
- You only may enter this specific contest once.
- The winning entry must pick the winning team and have the smallest combined difference from each team’s final score. More info here.
- You must pick the score by Saturday, October 10th, at 10:45 am.
What’s gonna happen in this one, boys and girls?
Jonathan says: In the first quarter I drink, like, five beers. But I start feeling a little wobbly, so I nosh on some nachos and feel pretty good around halftime. In the last quarter, I challenge some dude to a hot dog eat off and end up losing by two FULL hot dogs. Disappointing, I know. I drown my misery in a couple of Mad Dog 20/20’s and then go on a rant about how stupid the Auburn “Spirit Eagle” is.
Arkansas 34, Auburn 28
Todd says: It’s not Malzahn vs. Robinson. It’s Malzahn vs. Petrino. We win. Barely.
Arkansas 41, Auburn 38
Trip says: We win by scoring more touchdowns.
Arkansas 31, Auburn 17
Seth says: Guess which character I want to crappily dress as this Halloween: Hair spiked on sides, marker-drawn lambchops, cigarette, members only jacket, bicycle handlebars and a flashlight taped to them, army boots, a fake scratch that I can easily remove and butter knives taped to my hands.
Auburn 42, Arkansas 41
Dustin says: We have to win this game. I can’t even joke about it. It’s too important. Hogs!
Arkansas 35, Auburn 31
Thanks to Sassy’s Red House for sponsoring this contest. PIck up some BBQ on game day from their bulk menu. Go pick ’em!