Rutgers (3-0) at Arkansas (1-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Razorback Stadium (72,000) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Rutgers 1-0, Arkansas 1-1. Away Record:
Rutgers 2-0, Arkansas 0-0. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Arkansas 0-1.
Conference Record: Rutgers 1-0, Arkansas 0-0. Series Record: First-ever
GAME NOTES: Two teams heading in opposite directions face off in Fayetteville
on Saturday night, as the Arkansas Razorbacks play host to the Rutgers Scarlet
After two impressive non-conference wins over Tulane (24-12) and Howard (26-0)
to start the season, Rutgers opened up its Big East slate in outstanding
fashion last week, dismissing USF on the road, 23-13, marking just the third
time the program has won its Big East opener on the road. The Scarlet Knights
are 3-0 for the first time since 2007, and it is only the fifth time they've
accomplished that feat since 1980.
As for Arkansas, its season started the way it was supposed to for a team
ranked ninth in the nation, defeating FCS foe Jacksonville State handily,
49-24. From there however, things fell apart. The Razorbacks blew a big lead
to ULM two weeks ago and eventually lost in overtime, 34-31. That was followed
by an embarrassing 52-0 beat down from No. 1 Alabama on their home field.
There is some reason for optimism however, as the team has won 14 straight
games against non-conference opponents in Fayetteville.
Not only have these two teams never met before, but it marks the first time in
school history that Arkansas will play a current member of the Big East.
Despite its record, the Rutgers offense has not been very efficient to this
point in the season, averaging just 24.3 points per game, coming away with
just three touchdowns on eight trips to the red zone.
The offense leans heavily on its stud running back Jawan Jamison, who has
tallied 393 yards and two touchdowns on 69 carries. The workhorse is coming
off a game in which he set a school record for carries with 41.
Gary Nova hasn't been flashy but for the most part he's been effective,
completing 55 percent of his passes for 575 yards with four touchdowns and two
Tim Wright (171 yards) and Mark Harrison (83 yards) lead the team with 13
catches apiece, and half of Brandon Coleman's six receptions have been for
Without question, the Scarlet Knights' stout defense has been the primary
reason for its success, as the unit is allowing a mere 8.3 ppg while forcing
Khaseem Greene has been the team's best defensive player with 34 tackles, four
tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble. Ka'lial Glaud also has two
sacks, and Brandon Jones has two interceptions.
The Razorbacks offense has gotten worse with each game they have played this
season, and the unit now averages 359.3 yards per tilt.
When Tyler Wilson is in the lineup, the offense is one of the SEC's best, as
the signal caller has completed 30-of-47 passes for 563 yards and five
touchdowns, but he left the ULM game early and didn't play at all against
Alabama. In his absence, Brandon Allen has played poorly, completing less than
45 percent of his pass attempts for 178 yards, tossing just one touchdown to
three interceptions. In fairness however, most of his work came against
Alabama, which is widely regarded as having the best defense in the nation.
Knile Davis (191 yards, two TDs) is fully recovered from a knee injury that
caused him to miss the entire 2011 campaign, but his low yards per carry
average (3.5) suggests that he is still getting used to the speed of the game.
Chris Gragg leads the team is receptions (17), receiving yards (226), and
receiving touchdowns (two). Brandon Mitchell is always a threat to make a play
deep, as he has recorded 127 yards on just five catches.
While the offense can use the excuse of not having its quarterback for much of
the time, there's no crutch the defense can lean on to back up its shoddy
play, as the unit has allowed 436.7 yards per game.
Rohan Gaines, Tenarius Wright, Alonzo Highsmith and Ross Rasner all have more
than 20 tackles. The unit has been credited with six sacks and four
Arkansas is a team that is in disarray, and even though this is a non-
conference matchup, it desperately needs a win in front of its home crowd to
help boost morale. If Wilson is able to suit up, the Razorbacks have a strong
chance of doing just that, but without their star QB, RU's strong defense will
likely prey on the weakness under center.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 24, Arkansas 21
09/19 10:42:59 ET