The Arkansas Razorbacks look to continue their stellar defensive play against the SEC East leader Missouri Tigers.
Arkansas is coming into this game on a hot streak. The Razorback’s defense has not surrendered a point in 133:21. They shutout LSU 17-0 after the Tigers lost a heart-breaker to Alabama. The following week, Ole Miss failed to score a point and was embarrassed 30-0.
Missouri hasn’t been on as hot of a streak as Arkansas, but they have won five straight coming into Friday’s match-up with the Razorbacks. With a win against Arkansas, they will clinch the SEC East and will play in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
One thing has remained consistent for Arkansas, and that is their great running game. The Razorbacks are averaging 226 yards per game on the ground. Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins have surpassed 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns between them. With starting quarterback Brandon Allen questionable for the game, the tandem will need to carry the offense. Missouri has a great defensive line, but is not great against the run. For Arkansas to win, they will need to exploit their weakness and wear down the Missouri front four.
Quarterback Maty Mauk has been incredibly inconsistent for the Tigers in 2014. His play has determined the fate of the offense every game. Missouri has a good rushing attack at the helm with Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy, but that is not enough to carry them to victory. With the way Arkansas’ defense has played as of late, it will be important for Missouri to move the ball through the air and convert on third downs. Ole Miss and LSU combined for a 36% third down success rate and the Razorbacks forced seven turnovers. Along with their front four, the Tigers’ linebackers need to step up against the Razorback running backs.
With Missouri at home, Brandon Allen being questionable, and the SEC East championship on the line, I think Missouri will break Arkansas’ scoreless streak and move forward on to Atlanta. The relentless pass-rush of potential first round picks Shane Ray and Marcus Golden will be too much for the Razorbacks.
Kickoff for this match-up is at 2:30 P.M. EST and will be broadcasted on CBS.
*Section Photo credit to Wesley Hit, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kim Klement, USA Today Sports.