Arkansas went to its first BCS bowl in history. The Hogs’ 10-win season was the first since 2006, and before that, it was all the way back to 1989 before you would find another 10-win season. However, the Razorbacks are hoping to elevate expectations this year. Of all players, who is the most important player to help Arkansas raise the bar? It is none other than PK Zach Hocker.
Zach Hocker was easily Arkansas’s most valuable player last year, having scored 104 points (22% of Total Points Scored) and missing only 3 kicks All Season. 2nd place? None other than Knile Davis (84). People are not used to having such a great place kicker. However, Alex Tejada scored 22% in 2009. We haven’t had a more important place kicker since Todd Latourette scored 92 points (25% of Total Points Scored) in ’98.
In fact, every field goal for Hocker is critical to the Razorbacks’ success. Below is a table derived from all SEC Team field goal stats from 2000-2009. Grouped by number of wins, we averaged all of the field goals attempted and field goals made for each team, and a trend appeared. The better that kickers performed in the SEC in terms of the numbers of kicks attempted and made, and in terms of their percentage of field goals made, directly correlated with the number of season wins for their team. Zach Hocker’s 16 of 19 field goals made last year was just enough to bring Arkansas into the 10-win range. Whether it be 10 wins or 14 wins, the goal for Zach is 19 field goals in a season and every 1 or 3 points may change Arkansas’s fortunes.
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Who makes the difference this year?
Only time will tell.