The Arkansas Razorbacks, who just two weeks ago looked dead in the water, are coming off of their most impressive win of the season, a 24-7 victory at Auburn. Prior to last week, they sat at 1-4 with their lone victory a 49-24 win over Jacksonville State in their opener. Their four losses vs. Louisiana-Monroe (L, 34-34 OT), vs. Alabama (L 52-0), vs. Rutgers (L 35-26), and at Texas A&M (L 58-10).
Now the Razorbacks are 2-4 and with Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tulsa coming up the next three weeks are looking to quickly get back into the bowl discussion.
Everyone’s knows about the turmoil this team has been through. The whole Bobby Petrino scandal and another former Louisville head coach John L. Smith coming in to take over. But, you also have to remember that this team has a ton of talent. They were a preseason Top 10 team and before Petrino was dismissed, many looked at them as a threat to win the national title.
Entering the season, the Razorbacks were the only team in the SEC to return a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher. Overall, they returned 100-percent of their passing yards, 91-percent of their total offense, 72-percent of their rushing yards and were coming off 11 wins, which tied the single-season record.
Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson (6-3, 220) is coming off of a season where he threw for 3,638 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, en route to first team All-SEC honors. Through the first six games this season, it has been a different story for the senior QB. He has completed just 99-of-172 passes for 1,571 yards and has thrown nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
Wilson missed the Alabama game when they were throttled, but had his most consistent game of the year last week at Auburn. He completed 20-of-27 passes for 216 yards and did not throw an interception.
Junior tailback Knile Davis (6-0, 226) missed the entire 2011 season with a broken ankle and returned this year with much anticipation. In 2010, he earned All-SEC honors leading all SEC running backs with 1,322 yards. His return to the gridiron has not lived up to lofty expectations. Through six games he still leads the team in rushing yards with 269, but his average per rush has dropped from 6.5 in 2010 to 3.2 this year. He has just two scores and both of them came in the first two weeks of the year.
With Davis’ struggles, senior Dennis Johnson (5-9, 213) has inserted himself into the equation. Last week he led the team in rushes with 17 for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He also had four receptions.
Senior wideout Cobi Hamilton (6-3, 209) is Wilson’s number one receiving threat. Through six games he has already set a career-high with 36 catches and 663 receiving yards. He also has four touchdown receptions. He has really picked up his game in the last three contests with 26 of his catches and 537 yards coming in those games. In the loss at Rutgers the senior had 10 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns. So he has the ability to go off…big time.
The defense installed a new scheme this season with the hire of defensive coordinatior Paul Haynes and it appears that it has taken time for the players to adjust. Despite returning 15 players who have started at least one game in their career, the Razorbacks are giving up over 35 points per game on the season. Last week they gave up a season-low seven points and prior to that their season-low was 24 to Jacksonville State, hardly a football power.
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