Hogs vs. Kentucky Game Day Predictions
Arkansas was very efficient in the passing game last week, despite Tyler Wilson throwing for no touchdown. He was 20-27 with 216 yards, but most importantly, no interceptions. The offense was able to set up the best rushing performance of the year thus far. Kentucky struggled mightily against Mississippi State, only gaining 144 yards through the air. Their deep threat player La’Rod King averaged 23 yards a catch, which may be something they could attack in the Hogs’ secondary.
Arkansas may have not impressed on the stat sheet, but last week was their best rushing performance of the year. Dennis Johnson has emerged as the clear first choice for the Hogs, but freshman Jonathan Williams has put together impressive performances. Kentucky rushed for only 84 yards last week, 43 of those coming from leading rusher Raymond Sanders. Arkansas had an effective combination of run and play action in last week’s win over Auburn.
Arkansas forced three interceptions in the secondary against Auburn, easily marking this as their best performance of the year. With the return of their best cover corner in Tevin Mitchel, this group is looking to build and keep getting better each and every week. Kentucky’s secondary was gashed for 269 passing yards last week, and their task doesn’t get any easier having to face the likes of Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton. Based on last weeks performance, Arkansas has the momentum edge heading into this game.
Arkansas attacked the ball very well last week, forcing eight sacks on the Auburn quarterbacks. Chris Smith and Alonzo Highsmith played their best game thus far this season, which set the tone in only allowing seven points in the victory. Kentucky allowed 158 yards on the ground last week, 110 to Mississippi State’s leading rusher LaDarius Perkins. Kentucky has struggled to get much going this year, and Arkansas has athletes better equipped to stop the run.
Zach Hocker continued his struggles with field goals with two misses out of his three attempted. Hocker is now 5-9 on field goals this year, much worse compared to his previous two seasons. Dylan Breeding has been sensational for the Hogs this year. He had four punts for 206 yards, with a long punt of 70 yards, which is beneficial to the defense. Kentucky had 78 yards on kick returns last week and have a couple playmakers in DeMarcus Sweat and Raymond Sanders who the Hogs must honor in the return game. Arkansas hasn’t been impressive in the return game, and has trouble catching the ball at times.
Arkansas made a change last week by putting Offensive Coordinator Paul Petrino in the coaching box to call plays. Arkansas coaches deserve some credit for keeping these players together and playing hard despite how easy it could be to give up. The coaches are looking to take the positives from the last game and continue feeding the players with a good attitude to possibly get on a run here. Kentucky coaches are looking for a positive in their 1-5, 0-3 Southeastern Conference season thus far. Head coach Joker Phillips has struggled to recruit top talent at a school where more emphasis is put on basketball. Based on current performance, Arkansas has a slight edge going into this game.
There is an obvious difference in talent between Arkansas and Kentucky. Despite Arkansas’ 2-4 record, this team does have talent and a few draft prospects for next year. Kentucky doesn’t seem to have that clear-cut player who can dominate a game. Coach Phillips has done the best of getting the talent he has to play for him, but he can only do so much. Arkansas is looking to build on last week’s win, and hopefully string together a few wins in hopes of making a bowl game this year. We will see how mature the Hogs are based on their performance this week.