Heading into this week, the Arkansas Razorbacks (5-2, 2-2) will hold the Homecoming festivities against the Commodores of Vanderbilt.
Looking at this game on paper, the Hogs will look to become bowl eligible for the 2010 season and improve their stake in a top tier bowl game.
With Greg Childs and Joe Adams, two of the best receivers in the country, the Hogs will face a pass defense that has allowed teams to bump up their average in passing yards, and look to pose no large problem for the No. 2 passing attack in the country.
And with Mallett looking as though he will be able to start, you can bet that he will be chomping at the bit, ready to improve from his performances the past two weeks, not to mention put a concussion behind him.
Knile Davis will look to shred another defense on the ground as Vanderbilt’s run defense is ranked 92nd nationally. After facing the 15th and 23rd run defenses in the country, in Auburn and Mississippi respectively, Davis has become a more solid back, exploding for 176 yards in last weeks 38-24 win over Ole Miss.
The one thing I look for this week is that the Hogs will have a chance to put a facet’s of the game together. If the Hogs are able to do this, it will be a homecoming to remember.
Earlier this week, Dequinta Jones was arrested and will likely be suspended for the game, and with the possible absence of Joe Adams and limited time for Greg Childs, Arkansas will not be at full strength, but with the depth that the coaching staff has put in place will be vital to the Hogs success.
This will provide an opportunity to see some future talent at key positions.
Defensively, the Razorbacks have been solid for the most part, the only real meltdown coming against Auburn in the 65-43 loss.
I look for the defense to subdue Vanderbilt’s passing game as the Commodores have been mostly one dimensional most of the year, with their biggest output coming against an Eastern Michigan team that has been winless since the beginning of last year.
Vandy lost last week 43-0 to a Georgia team that has fallen far below expectations, but somehow seems to hold an outside shot at the East, further displaying the West’s dominance this season.
There are a few things to watch for in this game:
- How will Ryan Mallett react to the shoulder injury and concussion issues ?
- Will Arkansas’ special teams produce points for the second straight week ?
- Will Knile Davis solidify himself as “the” running back for the Hogs ?
- How will the Hogs defense handle the fourth mobile quarterback in as many weeks ?
I fully expect Ryan Mallett to return to fine form and put up big numbers this week, and show us all why he is the starting quarterback, but if for any reason, the fanbase can rest assured that Tyler Wilson is more than willing and ready to step in and lead this team.
After Coach Bobby Petrino promised Ken Hatfield that the Hogs would return a punt for a touchdown, Joe Adams delivered last week with a 97 yard return for the score. Adams will be missed on offense and special teams if he can not go.
Based on what we have seen from Vandy’s run defense, I just can’t see them containing Knile Davis this Saturday, Davis is a big strong back, and has shown his break away speed more than once.
In my opinion, the Hogs will have the opportunity to put this game away early, which is something they have struggled with this season. But if the Hogs are able to jump out to an early lead on Homecoming, I expect the rout to be on.
Follow James Moseley on Twitter: @james_moseley