Which Team has the Most Potent Offense?
The Razorbacks still have Heisman candidate Darren McFadden and junior Felix Jones to provide a potent rushing attack. The Crimson Tide still has Leigh Tiffin kicking field goals, but now there's a new play caller in town. Alabama's Coach Nick Saban has praised McFadden's rushing abilities adding that, "If we had someone who could do what he does, we'd be playing him."
Moving to the rushing game, Alabama has a great young rusher in the name of Terry Grant. Ever heard of him? If not, he has rushed for 307 yards and five touchdowns up to this point. Also, Grant has earned freshman of the week two weeks in a row.
Arkansas's Darren McFadden runs like a horse, and he's able to make those tough yards like Jerome Bettis. Grant on the other hand is like a young Barry Sanders, in the way he has the ability to make defenders miss and turn up field at the drop of a dime.
Both runners have an innate ability to make huge gains and break big plays. These guys are the definition of playmakers. However, if you look at the rest of the running corps for both sides, Arkansas has to win out in this category with Felix Jones sharing snaps with McFadden.
The junior Jones, averaged 10.8 yards a carry against Troy a couple weeks ago. Throw in senior rusher Peyton Hillis, who fills in at fullback and blocks for McFadden and Jones, and you have yourself a great rushing tandem with solid protection.
Alabama has Jimmy Johns, Glen Coffee, and Roy Upchurch behind Grant, not to mention sophomore fullback Baron Huber setting up blocks and causing headaches for defenders.
Even adding up those four and having Huber block, can't compare to the tandem of McFadden and Jones. They combined for almost 3,000 yards rushing last year. That is absolutely filthy. The nod goes to Arkansas on this one.
Throwing the ball through the air is a different story. Last year, Arkansas had true freshman by the name of Mitch Mustain leading their passing attack in this game. He transferred to Southern Cal for many reasons during the off-season, and specifically his high school coach left his coordinator's position at Arkansas to coach at the University of Tulsa
John Parker Wilson has a plethora of wide outs to throw to and a staunch offensive line in front of him. Wilson should be able to make some big passes in this game.
On the other side of the ball, junior Casey Dick is handicapped by the fact his number one wide out is out from arthroscopic knee surgery. Senior Marcus Monk might be back by next week, so Dick will have to tough it out in this one.
Expect the Razorbacks to just keep it on the ground for most of the game. Passing just isn't their cup of tea, especially when you have a Heisman candidate at half back. Alabama gets the nod here.
On the sides, Alabama has a clear cut advantage. With senior D.J. Hall, and sophomore Mike McCoy going after it you can't lose there against Arkansas' corps. Factor in junior tight end Nick Walker, and the Tide has a vast range of options for Wilson to throw to.
Looking at the Razorbacks, they are going to hurt with the injury to Marcus Monk. He has the school record for receiving touchdowns with 24 so far in his career. To make up for this loss, Dick will look to throw to freshman Crosby Tuck who had a nice 42 yard reception for a touchdown in the Troy game.
To supplement Tuck, the Razorbacks have D.J. Williams at tight end and Reggie Fish at wide out. Look for the Razorbacks to keep it on the ground once again, so there won't be much activity for the wide outs on Saturday. Alabama wins this one by a mile.
After looking at the offensive skill positions, Alabama wins 2-1 over Arkansas. With the better man behind center, and wide outs that make the others look like boys, the Tide should have a chance to make a few plays on Saturday.
What it comes down to is the rushing attack if the Tide can slow down, didn't say stop, McFadden and Jones. If the Tide can do this and Terry Grant keeps it up, the Tide should be sitting pretty in the top 25 come Sunday morning.
You can catch the game at 5:45 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
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