On Saturday morning Alabama Football will host the best four-loss team in college football. The Arkansas Razorbacks will look to stop a four-game losing streak, despite the Crimson Tide being heavily favored.
How bad are the Razorbacks? In numerous statistical categories, the Hogs are quite bad. Even so none of the four losses have been bad ones. Arkansas lost by seven points to BYU, three points at LSU, eight points against Texas A&M in Dallas, and in week six by seven points at Ole Miss.
Arkansas fans can fairly claim that three of those games should have and could have been wins. Instead of defining the Razorbacks as snake-bit, Sam Pittman and his staff must seek answers and instill belief in what could easily become a demoralized team.
In reviewing the loss to Ole Miss, Sam Pittman frequently mentioned the Hogs need to “play smart” and if his team had, against Ole Miss, the Razorbacks would have won. In his three full seasons as the Arkansas head coach, Pittman has always coached physically tough, hard-fighting teams. That does appear to have changed this season, but with more losses, at some point, such zeal will likely fade.
Alabama should expect another determined effort by the Hogs. Five consecutive losses would be devastating. Potentially helping the Razorbacks is the Crimson Tide might be flat, coming off a big win, and being a heavy favorite.
Alabama Football can take advantage of …
The Hogs are an above-average defensive team. Most of their problems have been on the other side of the ball.
The Hogs are 13th in the SEC in running the ball, with an average of 2.97 yards. That stat is not sack-adjusted and like Alabama’s rushing average has been greatly affected by inefficient pass protection. The Hogs are one spot above Alabama in Sacks Allowed (12th in the SEC) with an average of 3.83 per game. The Hogs are worse than Alabama in Tackles For Loss Allowed and No. 13 in the SEC.
With inconsistent pass protection, Arkansas quarterback, KJ Jefferson is not matching his prior season performances. Jefferson is No. 15 among 16 SEC quarterbacks in interceptions with six.
Getting back to Sam Pittman’s ‘playing smart’ concerns, the Hogs are last among SEC teams averaging 7.7 penalties per game, even though in the loss to Texas A&M, Arkansas had zero penalties.
Factoring all of the Arkansas problems, it is pretty easy to understand why the Hogs are last in the SEC in Total Offense, though at 31.3 points per game, the Hogs are a tad above Alabama Football and 8th in the SEC.
Note: Stats in the post provided by cfbstats.com
The Crimson Tide has won 16 straight against the Razorbacks, going back to Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.