Five Keys to Defeat Rutgers
1. Gain Momentum
Anytime a team loses 52-0, the question is always, “How will they respond?” Following the Alabama game, senior Tyler Wilson called out his teammates, saying they “gave up out there.” If players truly did give up, they must start the game with fire. Rutgers is coming in 3-0 and with a lot of confidence. The Hogs will lose if they come out lackadaisical. Wilson and the other seniors have to get the players fired up about tomorrow’s game and make them forget the last two weeks.
2. Put the Ball in the End Zone
This seems simple enough, but Arkansas has been struggling with putting the ball in the end zone. They suffered their first home shutout since 1966 last Saturday and haven’t scored a touchdown since the third quarter of the ULM game. Rutgers has only given up two touchdowns this season, both in the fourth quarter. If Arkansas puts up another goose egg or is forced to settle for field goals, they will have a hard time beating anyone.
Rutgers junior running back Jawan Jamison is coming off a 151-yard performance against USF and the Hogs recently gave up 225 rushing yards against Alabama. In order to beat the Scarlet Knights, Arkansas must tackle and prevent them from getting five yards per carry like Alabama did. Also, UA interim head coach John L. Smith has talked a lot about Rutgers’ receivers. Senior Mark Harrison (6’3” 230 lbs.), junior Brandon Coleman (6’6” 220 lbs.) and sophomore tight end Tyler Kroft (6’6” 235 lbs.) are all big targets, and it will take good tackling by the Hogs to bring them down.
4. Protect the Ball
Against Alabama, Arkansas turned the ball over five times, throwing two interceptions and losing three fumbles. More alarming, however, was the fact that the Hogs actually fumbled the ball eight times. Rutgers is sure to see this and most likely put an emphasis on stripping the ball during practice this week. They have already forced four fumbles this season and also have four interceptions. The Razorbacks must fix their turnover problem if they expect to have a chance tomorrow.
5. Keep Tyler Wilson Healthy
With Wilson under center this year, the Hogs have outscored opponents 70-31. Without him under center, opponents have outscored Arkansas 76-10. Also, through their first three games, Rutgers has sacked their opponents seven times. While they may not be as big as Southeastern Conference teams, the Scarlet Knights still find a way to get behind the line of scrimmage. Obviously Arkansas plays better with Wilson at quarterback, so it is key for the offensive line to step up and protect him.