Arkansas vs. Troy: Game Prediction

Staff photo
Halftime during the Hogs’ 46-26 win over Troy on Sept. 1, 2007.

Update: The final score was Arkansas 38, Troy 28. Both glutenfree (38-21) and lauren field (45-28) were 7 points off. After a random drawing, lauren was the winner. Congrats to lauren and thanks to everyone who entered!

That’s two games in the books and two impressive Arkansas Razorback victories. Last weekend the Hogs destroyed New Mexico 52-3 (and a big congratulations to xinamarie for an exact score guess!). For those of you keeping track at home, this was another 50+ point outing for the Razorbacks and a second week of the defense dominating the opponent.

Once again our offense was extremely potent — as in, 6th highest amount of total offense in Razroback history-potent. The Hogs gained 632 total yards. 373 of that was in the air and 259 was on the ground. That’s some nice balance.

So is our ground game fixed? Well, Ronnie Wingo, Jr. did have 73 yards rushing on 12 carries, which isn’t too shabby. Even if you take his 29-yard scamper away, that leaves him with 44 yards on 11 carries (4 yards/carry — not bad). But here’s really where the running game became interesting — Joe Adams lined up a few times in the backfield and had himself 2 carries for 33 yards. Then when you add in the quarterbacks’ 105 yards, you can see how quickly our running attack numbers are skewed.

In the game against Missouri State, our best running occurred on draw plays. Against New Mexico, the draw play was working again, but this time we were able to bounce outside for some extra room a few times. That’s encouraging news.

So, no, the running game isn’t fixed, but it’s improving. Which, I think, has been the plan from the coaching staff all along.

This week, the Troy Trojans come to town and will bring with them the best team we’ll have seen this season. Rumor has it that Bobby Petrino and the staff didn’t have the Hogs running at full capacity for game one and that they were going to use the first three games to get their conditioning to where it needs to be in time for SEC play.

We looked a lot sharper last week and I expect us to be moreso this Saturday. And we’ll have to be. As our friends over at Razorbloggers point out, Troy has been to a bowl game 5 out of the past 7 seasons and they have quite a few SEC-caliber players on the roster. This will be our toughest game to date this season, but it shouldn’t be worrisome.

Offensively, once again, expect the Hogs to establish the run. You’ll probably see more of Joe Adams in the backfield, in addition to a few new looks (Bobby keeps opening the playbook a little more each week). Like last week, our receiving corp will be ready and able. Again, Greg Childs will be on the field more (he started last week), hopefully he’ll make a few catches this time around. Word on the street is that Dennis Johnson may play, which is good news for the running game. For Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell, their charge will be to go through their progressions and only run/throw it away when necessary. We know they have the wheels that Mr. Mallett didn’t, but they don’t need to end up with concussion-like symptoms every week, right Tyler? Also, they need to shore up their forced passes. We were lucky last week that there weren’t 3 interceptions against us. In SEC play, turnovers will likely sink us.

Defensively, our boys will have quite the test in the secondary. Troy moved the ball fairly well against Clemson by amassing 400+ yards, with 250+ coming through the air to 13 different receivers (sound familiar?). In only one game, they played a fairly balanced game. Our defensive front will want to pressure their quarterback and see if the secondary can make plays.

Our special teams unit will continue to see punts being kicked away from Joe Adams. But now, as an opposing team, your options of who to kick it to on kickoffs is becoming shorter, too. Freshman Marquel Wade is nearly just as explosive as Joe Adams in the open field and seeing that he returned a kick for 85 yards and a TD last week, don’t expect the Troy kickers to kick many returnable balls this week.

It could be a rainy day in Fayetteville, but the Hogs will prevail. You may not see a lot of Jarius Wright or Jake Bequette, which is fine since they need to be healthy for next week’s clash at Alabama. Our Razorbacks will definitely win and will show us that the running game will work this season. My guess, Arkansas Razorbacks 39, Troy Trojans 10.

Let us know what you think the final score will be. If you’re the closest (see rules below), you’ll get a free t-shirt from Bearstate Supply.

How to enter

Leave a comment with your game prediction. If you want to add anything else, please feel free.

What you’ll win

One t-shirt of your choice (design, color, size) from the Bearstate Supply online store. (Hoodies, ringers and tri-blend AA’s not included)

The rules

  • You only may enter this specific contest once.
  • Contests are open to anyone anywhere except staff of Fayetteville Flyer and their immediate family members.
  • The winning entry must pick the winning team and have the smallest combined difference from each team’s final score. Example: If the Razorbacks win by a score of 21-7, and your prediction was Razorbacks 20-10, your difference would be 1 + 3 = 4. In the event of a tie, a winner will be selected by a random drawing.
  • You must pick the score by 15 minutes before kickoff for each game.
  • Make sure you leave a valid e-mail address when filling out the comment form since that’s how we’ll contact you if you’ve won.

Good luck!