Time: 7:02 p.m., Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.
TV/Radio: ESPNU, 710-WOR, 1450-AM, 610-WIP, 88.7 WRSU
Series: First Meeting
Last meeting: First Meeting
Coaches: Rutgers – Kyle Flood (1st Season, 3-0); Arkansas – John L. Smith (1st season, 1-2)
- What a Mess.While Rutgers is riding one of its biggest hot streaks since 2006, Arkansas is on the verge of collapse. Beginning the year as a top-10 team, there were thoughts in Razorback country of a shot at the BCS Title. Now after a lost to UL Monroe and a 52-0 embarrassment against Alabama, Arkansas will be hard-pressed to make a bowl game in Smith's first season as Bobby Petrino's replacement.
- First-Year Coaches. Flood and Smith each became successors to top college coaches in the offseason, with awkward timing and national attention surrounding both changes. Flood is off to a strong start, stronger then Greg Schiano's first year with Rutgers, whereas Smith is in trouble. He has 17 of Petrino's starters back from last season, but has done nothing but disappoint in his first month of games.
- All Eyes on Quarterback. Arkansas All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson (concussion) will start. Severely limited in practice this week while awaiting medical clearance, Wilson could be the spark the Razorbacks need to right the ship. He called his team quitters when speaking to the media after the Alabama game and his availability for kickoff may make or break the game.
The Razorbacks offense got stuck in the mud last week without Wilson playing. After losing Wilson midway through the UL Monroe game, Arkansas has just 13 points of offense. There are multiple options behind Wilson at quarterback, including a Wildcat package, but the offense has yet to experience success without him. Coming off a concussion, putting in Wilson against a defense like Rutgers with a reputation of getting to the quarterback is a huge risk. Keep an eye on the dynamic Chris Gragg. Gragg is the preseason All-SEC tight end and will create matchup problems for the Rutgers defense.
|Quarterback Tyler Wilson|
|WR Brandon Coleman|
2. Keep Nova Comfortable. The offensive line has been outstanding in keeping pressure off of starting quarterback Gary Nova, with the only sack coming on intentional grounding. This is the toughest defensive line Rutgers has seen so far and the tackles will need to preserve the pocket for Nova to make plays.
3. Crowd Control. Rutgers had penalty problems at Raymond James Stadium in front of 35,000 fans. Arkansas expects twice that for kickoff and the pig chants will be out in full force for a fan base desperate for a win.
2. Deep Balls. Rutgers is still vulnerable to the deep ball, surrendering multiple big passing plays against B.J. Daniels and South Florida last week. Arkansas has three deep threats at wide receiver, led by Cobi Hamilton.
3. Don't Look Ahead. Arkansas starts its SEC schedule next week, but cannot afford to hold anything back tomorrow night. Try to preserve any players or part of the game plan against Rutgers and the Razorbacks are in trouble..