Arkansas vs. Texas A&M: Game Prediction

View from the stands inside Cowboys Stadium during the second annual Southwest Classic in Arlington, Tex.

With a final score of Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38, Cale wins the prediction contest. Cale’s guess was just six points off at Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 36. Congrats, Cale! We’ll contact you shortly.

Yeah, sooooo, how about that Alabama game? Uh-huh, the one where the Hogs lost 38-14 and looked very unlike a team that was supposed to be a dark horse for the national championship. We talked about what Arkansas needed to do going into the SEC opener, and aside from one good offensive drive and one fantastic defensive goal line stand, the Hogs were easily bested by Alabama in all aspects of the game.

Since the poor showing in Tuscaloosa, there’s been a lot of talk going around:

You might say that after the loss to Alabama, the sky seemed to be falling a bit. If you ask me, Arkansas just lost to this year’s national champion. I believe that Alabama is that good. They may not dominate teams offensively, but they’re good enough to move the ball and score. And on the other side of the ball, well, their defense is a beast. In my mind, Arkansas would’ve had to play a perfect game to get the win versus the Tide. Only, they didn’t, and some of our fears were confirmed.

Arkansas will not win many games by amassing only 17 rushing yards in a single game. Arkansas will not win many games by allowing Wilson to be knocked down 10 times a game. The offensive line has to get better, or the scheming has to get more creative, in a hurry. The Hogs won’t see a defense quite like Alabama until they play LSU to finish the season, but all teams have to do is watch tape of the ‘Bama game to see where the Hogs are vulnerable.

Unfortunately for the Hogs, this weekend’s game against the newest member of the SEC won’t get any easier for the offensive line. Right now, Texas A&M is only allowing 60 yards rushing per game and are first in the country averaging 4.5 or more sacks. The Aggies and Hogs are nearly equals offensively, both score 37 or more points per game, both pass over 310 yards per game, and both average over 440 total yards. Considering the spread is 3 at a neutral field, even Vegas says these teams are close.

Also like the Razorbacks, Texas A&M lost their conference opener last weekend and are looking to bounce back to keep their season in tact. This will be Arkansas’ toughest game against the Aggies since the rivalry was renewed three seasons ago. So what should fans expect?

Offensively, Arkansas will need to try and establish the run early and protect Wilson. The more time Wilson has, the more time the receivers have to run their routes and get open. If the passing game gets going, that will open up the running lanes. With A&M pressuring the QB relentlessly, they may be susceptible to the short passing game with slants or even screens. I don’t think Arkansas will run the ball as well as they did against Troy, but they should easily go over 17 yards. There’s even rumor that Broderick Green (who was thought to be out all season) might play. If he’s legitimately 100 percent, he could be a nice bruising back to run the ball. And if not, don’t be surprised to see Dennis Johnson or Kody Walker getting more reps over Ronnie Wingo, Jr.

Defensively, the Hogs will have their hands full with a good offensive team. A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill can pass the ball well and their running back tandem of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael aren’t going to be overlooked. Our defensive line will get tested now that Tenarius Wright is out 4-6 weeks with a broken arm and the still unknown decision on if Jake Bequette (hamstring) will be healthy enough to play. I also imagine that if A&M begins to run the ball effectively, Arkansas’ secondary might get another workout like in the Troy game. Coach Robinson has to get his guys to the opposing quarterback. It wouldn’t hurt if the Arkansas players took a little bit out of Alabama’s playbook by playing meaner.

Special teams has showed glimpses of greatness and weakness. Arkansas will still be challenged every week to pull off returns for touchdowns. I’m more concerned with the coverage after last week’s letdown. Playing a few linemen in the coverage team seems a bit questionable.

I thought last week’s game was winnable, had the Hogs played extremely well. This week’s game is definitely winnable, but it features two teams that had bigger expectations for the season two weeks ago. Which team will execute their game plan better and bounce back from their loss? My guess is that Arkansas will.

My call is Arkansas 34, Texas A&M 28.

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!

Bearstate Supply