FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Pig Trail Nation) — No. 8 Arkansas is 4-0 on the season, but for the third time in five games they enter the contest as the underdog.
They defeated No. 15 Texas and No. 7 Texas A&M along the way to being ranked where they are now. The next opponent is No. 2 Georgia on Saturday and they must face them in Athens in front of a hostile crowd.
Arkansas played Rice, Texas and Georgia Southern in Fayetteville. They played the Aggies in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, but it appeared the Hogs had at least as many fans there as the Aggies and possibly even more. That won’t be the case on Saturday.
Here’s the keys for Arkansas to pull an upset over the Bulldogs.
Take The Crowd Out of Game Early
It’s important for Arkansas to take the fight to Georgia early and not allow the crowd to get into the game. Make this a four-quarter game and the Hogs have a good shot at getting out of town with a win. The longer the Hogs stay in the game the confidence will grow. It also helps silence the fans some.
Cut Out Penalties in Red Zone
A penalty in the red zone has cost Arkansas dearly the past two weeks. Against Georgia Southern Ketron Jackson thought he had caught a touchdown pass from KJ Jefferson, but it was called back due to a lineman down the field. On Saturday, Arkansas was on the A&M one only to have a lineman jump. It pushed the ball back to the six and the Hogs had to settle for a field goal. There was some complaining from the Arkansas bench on Saturday the A&M linebackers were clapping and forced the Arkansas player to jump. But if the officials don’t call it then it’s just something you have to live with and try to correct or prepare for possibly happening again.
Play a Clean Game on Offense
Don’t turn the ball over. Arkansas has done a good job in the first four games of not turning the football over that much. That is a necessity on Saturday in Athens. If Arkansas doesn’t turn the ball over and makes Georgia earn everything that greatly improves the Hogs’ chances of winning the game.
Don’t Give Up Big Plays
Barry Odom’s defense has been good in this regard. They allowed Isaiah Spiller to get loose once for a long run on Saturday and the previous week they allowed the Georgia Southern quarterback to score on a long run. Other than those two runs, Arkansas has been very good in that regard. Rice hit on a long pass, but for the most part the secondary has prevented the big plays. If Odom’s defense continues to play like they have the first four games the Hogs should be in this game until the end.
Make Special Teams Special
Other than a blocked punt against Rice the special teams have been outstanding. Word from a source at Georgia is the Bulldogs have spotted something in Arkansas’ punting game that makes them feel they can block a punt this week. Arkansas can’t afford for that to happen. Cam Little has been great on his kicks, Vito Calvaruso has been excellent on kickoffs and Bauer has been good punting the majority of the time. Just make sure special teams are special and that will greatly help Hogs’ chances of moving to 5-0.