I wanted to go back and look at Arkansas’ losses in their current 14 game SEC losing streak. Their last SEC victory came almost two years ago against Kentucky on October 13, 2012. It was a 49-7 win. Since then…
South Carolina, 38-20
Mississippi State, 45-14
Texas A&M, 45-33
South Carolina, 52-7
Ole Miss, 34-24
Mississippi State, 24-17 (OT)
Texas A&M, 35-28 (OT)
Arkansas currently sits at 3-3 and 0-3 in the SEC. They still have both Mississippi schools, Ole Miss, LSU and Missouri in SEC play and UAB in non-conference.
Realistically, if Arkansas wants to go bowling or show any improvement from their 4-8 and 3-9 seasons, this is a game they have to win.
2013 was a rough year, but I see a team that got better in Bret Bielema’s first year and they are playing better so far this season. They hung with Auburn for a half, should have beaten A&M and gave Alabama fits.
One thing that gives me pause is Georgia’s rushing defense. Yes, Georgia is 2nd in the SEC in run defense. But the teams we have played haven’t really run the ball like Arkansas does, and most teams have been pass first teams. This is opposite than what we have typically seen-UGA has not done well against the spread offenses and have had better success against the pro-style teams. We have done well against the spread offenses this year; can we still do well against the pro-style teams? We haven’t seen a team that is going to run the ball like Arkansas so we the jury is still out there.
But talking out of both sides of my mouth, I am not sure how good Arkansas running game truly is. Yes, they run the ball for an average of 278 ypg, first in the SEC ahead of Georgia’s 275 ypg. But their rushing numbers are inflated:
Auburn, 29 attempts, 153 yards
Nicholls St, 40 rushes, 495 yards
Texas Tech, 68 rushes, 438 yards
Northern Illinois, 45 rushes, 212 yards
Texas A&M, 47 rushes, 285 yards
Alabama, 39 rushes, 89 yards
Yes, they have gaudy stats, but a lot of it was inflated due to their competition. By comparison, Georgia has been successful running the ball against everyone they have played, and Clemson and Missouri have really good defensive lines.
Teams comparable to talent to what Georgia has-Alabama and Auburn-have been able to slow down the Arkansas rushing attack.
So while I am not completely ready to buy in to Georgia’s rush defense ( think we’ll get a good idea tomorrow), I’m not sold 100% on Arkansas’ running game. Basically, tomorrow afternoon something has gotta give.
This is going to be a tough game. This feeling was further enforced when I saw the line. Arkansas has been money this season going 5-1 ATS. So the 3 points Vegas is giving us doesn’t give me much confidence.
I think we will win because even without Gurley, UGA has better talent and better coaching. But I hope Georgia fans don’t be like Alabama and cry foul for a close win. Because this will be a close one.