This is the second in a series of weekly posts I will make highlighting other SEC teams or players to keep an eye on.
Last week, I previewed the Auburn vs. Mississippi game highlighting the Auburn run-game as a phenomenon to watch throughout the season. Wait, don’t touch that remote! There is another name to add to that catalog–The Arkansas Razorbacks. Freshman Alex Collins and Sophomore Jonathan Williams are helming a very impressive ground attack under the direction of Head Coach Bret Bielema. All of you Wisconsin fans out there (why are you on/welcome to KSR) may recall that he had at least one 1,000 yard rusher in each of his seven seasons as head coach. Now, at 3-0, the Razorbacks are averaging 294 rush yards per-game, good enough for first in the SEC.
They are good, so good that the Razorbacks have elected to run the ball 160 times (73% of all attempts).
Herschel Walker, Emmit Smith, Darren McFadden: these are 3 examples of people who haven’t accomplished what Collins has. He is the first freshman in SEC history to tally at least 100 yards in each of his first 3-games.
Not to say that Williams is slacking off. He averages 7.7 yards per carry, including a pair of 45 and 75 yard touchdown runs in two games. Together, they have accounted for 75% of the rushes (121 total) with Collins racking up 422 total yards over 70 carries, and Williams tallying 396 total yards over the remainder. Something is definitely going right for these two.
My money is on Emmit to win the SEC RB Dance-off though
Saturday (3:30 ET), the Hogs travel to High Point Solutions stadium for their first road game against what appears to be a pretty good Rutgers team. Let’s make it a little more interesting: Quarterback Branden Allen is not expected to play Saturday due to injury. I know nothing about second string QB AJ Derby except that he is a former JUCO player who had quite a bit of talent in high school. Needless to say we can expect quite a heavy emphasis on the "ground-n-pound" technique this Saturday. In fact, I am willing to bet all 4 of my 1st edition “New 52” Batman Comics (~$160) that Arkansas runs the ball over 80% Saturday. Yes, it’s that serious. Give it a watch and see what happens.
All this can be yours if AJ Derby has a miraculous debut