ON THE GROUND
Texas recorded its seventh-best rushing day last Saturday, piling up 513 yards on the ground in the 65-0 win against North Texas. The Longhorns scored seven rushing touchdowns and five different players had runs of 30 or more yards.
Tailback Cedric Benson is an early-season Heisman Trophy candidate and ran for 181 yards and 2 scores despite playing only seven of Texas' 16 offensive series. Quarterback Vincent Young is a threat in the open field (9 carries, 49 yards) and speed back Selvin (12 carries, 102 yards, 2 touchdowns) is dangerous.
Quarterback Matt Jones led Arkansas' balanced rushing attack (221 yards and 5 TDs) in the opener, running for 38 yards and a score on eight attempts. The senior had a field day against the Longhorns last season, scrambling for 102 yards and a touchdown in the 38-28 upset win.
True freshman Peyton Hillis scored two touchdowns in his Arkansas debut and will be an important piece of Arkansas' ground game. The Hogs will count on starter DeCori Birmingham (6 carries, 31 yards) and backup De'Arrius Howard (6 carries, 29 yards, TD) for big days.
THROUGH THE AIR
Jones has a sparkling opener, completing 13 of 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in little more than one half of play. Backup Robert Johnson was as impressive, completing 5 of 8 passes for 132 yards and 2 scores.
Seniors Carlos Ousley (6 catches, 47 yards) and Steven Harris (2 catches, 59 yards) led a receiving corps that showed off its big-play threat against New Mexico State. Ten different Razorbacks caught passes, including sophomore Cedric Washington (2 catches, 50 yards, TD), sophomore Chris Baker (74-yard TD reception) and 6-foot-7 true freshman Marcus Monk (38-yard score).
Texas replaces 2003's talented receiving trio of receivers with youngsters like junior Brian Carter and redshirt freshman Limas Sweed. Senior Tony Jeffery (3 catches, 23 yards) is the only player with significant experience and the Longhorns leaned on tight ends David Thomas and Bo Scaife in the opener (4 catches, 64 yards).
Young has a strong arm and threw for 1,155 yards last season, including a season-high 213 against Texas Tech. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in Texas' opener.
IN THE TRENCHES
Arkansas' defensive front was dominant against New Mexico State, forcing it to go five plays and out on the Aggies' first five possessions. Led by senior Jeb Huckeba (1 sack) and Arrion Dixon (3 tackles for losses), the Hogs held the Aggies to 55 rushing yards and collected three sacks. Arkansas had just 14 sacks all last season.
UA's offensive line blew Texas off the ball last year, leading Arkansas to 265 rushing yards. The 2004 group of right tackle Zac Tubbs, left tackle Tony Ugoh, center Kyle Roper, right guard Gene Perry and sophomore left tackle Stephen Parker performed well in the opener, but faces its first true test.
Texas' front seven is led by All-American linebacker Derrick Johnson, who forced three fumbles last Saturday. Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate Rodrique Wright leads a starting group that includes junior tackle Stevie Lee and sophomore ends Tim Crowder and Brian Robison.
Four of Texas' five starters return to the offensive line, including 6-6, 310-pound right guard Will Allen and 6-2, 275-pound center Jason Glynn. The senior has started 27 consecutive games and is a Rimington Trophy candidate.
Selvin Young is one of the nation's most dangerous punt and kickoff returners, but didn't have many opportunities against North Texas. The junior averages 24.1 yards a kickoff return and 17.4 yards per punt return in his career. Young also has three career special teams touchdowns (2 punt return, 1 kickoff return).
The Longhorns also return junior punter Richmond McGee and senior place-kicker Dusty Mangum. Mangum has made 42 of 61 field goals and 164 of 166 extra points in his career and is fifth on Texas' career scoring chart.
The Razorbacks blocked a punt (linebacker Kevin Woods), tipped an extra point (defensive tackle Jeremy Harrell) and scored a special teams touchdown (cornerback Chris Houston) in the opener. Birmingham didn't get many opportunities because of the big win, but will handle punt and kickoff return duties tonight.
Junior place-kicker Chris Balseiro made all nine of his extra point attempts in the opener, but narrowly missed a 47-yard field goal attempt. Sophomore punter Jacob Skinner averaged just 35.7 yards on his three punts.
The Longhorns are 22-6 on the road under coach Mack Brown and have been impressive lately, winning 17 of their past 18 games (not including neutral-site contests). Texas hasn't played in Arkansas since 1991 when it lost 14-13 in Little Rock, but won in its last trip to Fayetteville, beating the then-No. 7 Razorbacks 24-20 in 1989.
On the other hand, Arkansas hasn't been dominant in Reynolds Razorback Stadium since 2002. The Razorbacks have pieced together a 7-4 record that includes wins against New Mexico State, Boise State, Tulsa and Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Hogs haven't faced a ranked opponent in Fayetteville since beating then-No. 17 Auburn 42-17 in 2001. That season also was the last time they played a Top-10 team in Razorback Stadium, losing to No. 8 Tennessee 13-3.
The Longhorns will be aided by the revenge factor after last season's mistake-filled loss in which Arkansas turned three Texas turnovers into 14 points. Takeaways will be critical once again. Both teams recovered three fumbles last week and didn't commit a turnover.
TEXAS 31, ARKANSAS 21
The only history lesson Texas needs about a bitter series is of the recent variety as it was overwhelmed by Arkansas' offensive and defensive lines last September. The Longhorns are well aware of the rivalry and they'll challenge coach Houston Nutt's 21-0 record at Arkansas against nonconference opponents in the regular season.
Nutt is 2-0 against the Longhorns in his first six seasons at Arkansas, but brings his youngest team into tonight's game. More than 25 newcomers debuted last Saturday - and most fared well -but the Longhorns are a much taller order than the Aggies.
The teams have split the past 10 matchups, but Arkansas has won three straight (1991, 2000, 2003). The Longhorns lead the overall series 54-21 and the Razorbacks haven't won their fourth straight against Texas since 1938.
Plenty has been made this week of Howard's post-game celebration, in which he planted an Arkansas flag in the Darrell Royal Memorial Stadium turf after Arkansas' win last season. This time, the Longhorns will leave a bad impression on the Razorbacks and their record crowd in Razorback Stadium.
THE KEY MATCHUP
DT Arrion Dixon (6-foot-4, 295 pounds senior) vs. RB Cedric Benson (6-foot, 225 pounds senior)
Coach Houston Nutt described Dixon's opener as the senior's best outing in an Arkansas uniform. Dixon recorded 4 solo tackles, a sack and 3 tackles for losses and will try to knife into Texas' backfield to slow Benson tonight.
Benson was held to 27 yards last September, but returned for his senior season and flashed Heisman Trophy potential against North Texas. He rushed for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns in the opener and looks for more against the Hogs.
Hogs Vs. Texas Head-To-Head
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