Mississippi State (5-5) at Arkansas (9-1) [Little Rock]: Gameday Preview

November 19, 2011

News, Sports

Corey Broomfield and Charles Mitchell

Corey Broomfield and Charles Mitchell

Mississippi State @ #6 Arkansas

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

Time: 2:30 pm Central

TV: CBS, ESPN3

Radio: WFCA, 107.9 FM

Listen Online: tunein.com/radio/WFCA-1079-s28690/

 

Initial Analysis: The Mississippi State Bulldogs come into the matchup with the #6 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, looking for their first key victory of the season. It won’t be easy, as the Razorbacks have one of the best offenses in the nation. The Razorbacks are still playing for a chance to play in the SEC Championship game, so they will be motivated. The Bulldogs match up well with the Razorbacks, and on paper, the game promises to be a great contest.

Offensive Stats

Arkansas (Multiple)

2011 Scoring Offense: 38.8

2011 Passing Yards Per Game: 311.3

2011 Rushing Yards Per Game: 144.4

Mississippi State (Spread Option/No-Huddle)

2011 Scoring Offense: 25.8

2011 Passing Yards Per Game: 203.8

2011 Rushing Yards Per Game: 169.5

Defensive Stats

Arkansas (4-3)

2011 Scoring Defense: 21.5

2011 Passing Yards Per Game Allowed: 203.0

2011 Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed: 172.2

Mississippi State (Multiple Front)

2011 Scoring Defense: 19.2

2011 Passing Yards Per Game Allowed: 185.6

2011 Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed: 167.4

Players To Watch

Arkansas

Joe Adams and Jarius Wright:  Adams and Wright are the Razorbacks’ best playmakers. They will play a huge role in attacking the Bulldog’s defense.

Jake Bequette:  Bequette can get to the quarterback, and the Bulldog offensive linemen will have trouble with him all night.

Jerico Nelson:  Nelson had a big game against the Bulldogs last year, causing a key fumble. I expect him to have a huge game again this year.

Mississippi State

Vick Ballard:  Ballard hasn’t had the year many would have hoped, but I think he has a big day against the Razorbacks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have 150+ yards.

Brandon Wilson and Cam Lawrence:  This is probably the first time I have ever chosen Wilson or Lawrence as players to watch, but I think they both will play huge roles. They both are disciplined players and that will serve the Bulldogs well as the Razorbacks like to take advantage of undisciplined players.

Charles Mitchell:  Mitchell hasn’t made a play in over two years in my opinion, but he needs to now that Nickoe Whitley is gone for the season.

Three Keys To Victory

Arkansas

Stop The Power Run Game:  The Bulldogs will look to establish the run, and the Razorbacks must stop it if they hope to win.

Pressure Russell Early:  I think Tyler Russell will get the start; the Razorbacks must get to him early and force him to make mistakes in a hostile environment at War Memorial Stadium.

Go Deep:  The Razorbacks haven’t been able to stretch the field vertically this year, but they may need to try, because Mississippi State’s star safety Whitley is out for the year.

Mississippi State

Establish The Run:  The Razorbacks have a weak run defense, and the Bulldogs need to take advantage and exploit it.

Use the 3-3-5:  The Bulldogs bring in Matthew Wells in passing situations sometimes as an extra linebacker/safety hybrid. I think they will need to use him 60 to 70 percent of the game because the Razorbacks are very pass-heavy.

Stay Disciplined:  The Bulldogs do have a fairly disciplined defense, where most players keep their assignments. This is one area where Whitley being out could be a blessing in disguise. He has a tendency to freelance, and the Razorbacks feed on that kind of play.

Be Physical:  The one thing about the Razorbacks is that they are soft.  Alabama hit them in the mouth, and they started laying down early. If the Bulldogs get physical with them also, I expect them to lay down like they did versus Alabama.

 

Final Analysis: The Bulldogs are the underdog in this game, but I doubt the Razorbacks are overlooking them. I have really been back and forth on what my prediction would be, mainly because the Bulldogs haven’t beaten the Razorbacks in years.  My gut tells me after studying the tape, that MSU will win and win convincingly.  I’m really putting myself out there on this one, but I think that State has the stronger and more physical team.

My Prediction: 31-17, Mississippi State

@JeremiahShort26

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