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Opponent Q&A: Arkansas Razorbacks

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The kind folks at Arkansas Fight tell us about the Hawgs!

Eastern Illinois v Arkansas
Man, that coulda been Gus...
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Auburn’s in need of a rebound game after the heartbreaker to LSU this past Saturday. Luckily, Arkansas comes to town this weekend for a 6:30 pm CST kickoff, and it couldn’t time out more perfectly since the Hogs are having a bit of trouble getting their season revved up.

The Razorbacks are 1-2, with losses to Colorado State and North Texas (in a surprising blowout), and Chad Morris is looking for his first bit of positive news. Will it happen this weekend? I hope not. Let’s learn about the Hogs, courtesy of Eric Harris at Arkansas Fight!

Three games into the Chad Morris tenure, what are the immediate thoughts from the Arkansas fanbase?

Right now the fan base is everywhere between “give it time, he was given a dumpster fire” and “burn everything to the ground”. Needless to say things haven’t been pretty. So far the biggest frustrations have come in game management (see, the Colorado State collapse) and the managing of the quarterback situation (see six interceptions against UNT).

Obviously, the last two weeks can’t have been pleasant for Hog fans. What are the glaring issues that have plagued Arkansas in those two losses on both sides of the ball?

Offensively, the line and quarterback play that are so crucial to how Morris wants to run his offense have been nothing short of a disaster. There’s talent at the skill positions but they can’t get the ball because the QB can’t get it to them or the O-Line is getting torched. Defensively, things haven’t been that bad considering how often they’re trying to stop a team with a short field. They kept CSU out of the endzone for almost 3 quarters before wearing down because the offense inexplicably stopped running the ball. North Texas had a pick six and a special teams score (plus 24 points off turnovers) that killed them.

Ty Storey’s going to start at quarterback this Saturday against Auburn. What’s his skill set and how’s he going to be different from Cole Kelley?

He doesn’t have the size or the arm that Kelley has, but has much better decision making ability than Kelley. He has two interceptions on the year — one the receiver fell on his route, and the other was tipped at the line — and outside of those he’s made the safe throws. The coaching staff has said they’re simplifying the offense more this week so hopefully that will play more to his strengths.

If Arkansas wins on Saturday night, what’s the stat that you’ll look back at to justify the upset?

Turnovers. To pull an upset Arkansas needs a defensive/special teams score, and needs to force Auburn’s drives to be as long as possible. The UNT game got as ugly as it did because of six interceptions. If Storey can value the ball and defense can force some fumbles, that’s the only way I see Arkansas staying in the game.

What kind of prediction do you have for the rest of the season after this game?

Lots of pain. We still have the entire SEC West to play and according to Bill Connelly’s numbers (which I know Auburn fans love this year lol), projected wins is just over 3. At this point, I’d take that number.

Finally, what will happen Saturday night?

We still haven’t seen Storey show the ability to move the ball against an FBS opponent, much less one with a defense of Auburn’s quality. Plus, being on the road doesn’t fill me with any confidence. I definitely expect Auburn to cover, and if I had to put a score to it I’ll say 49-13 Auburn.

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Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm this Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium for Auburn and Arkansas! War Eagle!