The winner of this game finishes the year 7-6. The loser finishes 6-7. There's a massive difference between a winning and losing season ... and Charlie Strong knows it.
Strong said Saturday he doesn't know which Tyrone Swoopes is going to show up for Monday night's game. And that leads us into ....
Last Time These Two Faced Each Other
Texas unloaded on Arkansas the last time these two rivals faced each other in 2008, beating the Razorbacks 52-10 in Austin. That extended UT’s winning streak to two games over Arkansas (also won 22-20 in Fayetteville in 2004).
Texas and Arkansas, which played 60 straight times as Southwest Conference foes before the Razorbacks left for the SEC following the 1991 season, have met 77 times dating back to 1894. The Longhorns hold a 56-21 advantage.
Five Arkansas Players to WatchRB Jonathan Williams -
Williams rushed 188 times for 1,085 yards and 11 touchdowns, and also scored two times out of the backfield. Williams is currently 11th in school history with 2,216 career rushing yards. His 5.79 yards per carry is sixth all-time. He recently announced that he’d be returning for his senior season in 2015.RB Alex Collins -
Collins is the second part of what you could consider to be the best backfield duo in the country. He rushed one less time than Williams for 1,024 yards and 12 touchdowns. Combined, Collins and Williams became the first duo in school history to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season.QB Brandon Allen -
Allen completed 178-of-316 passes for 2,125 yards and 18 touchdowns (5 interceptions). He hasn’t had to do a whole lot this season because of Arkansas ground game. He’s not a huge threat to run as he only has a net gain of 93 rushing yards (-13 on the season).LB Martrell Spaight -
Spaight is one of the better linebackers the Longhorns will face this season. He leads the SEC with 123 tackles this season, to go along with 8.5 tackles-for-loss, a sack, and four quarterback hurries.DE Trey Flowers -
Flowers is the active SEC leader with 45 ½ career tackles for loss, which is third in school history.
Five Keys to the Game#1
... The Texas defense needs to stop the two-headed, 1,000-yard rushing monster tandem of RBs Jonathan Williams (1,085 yards) and Alex Collins (1,024 yards). Arkansas averages 220 yards rushing and 5 yards per carry. If the Hogs meet or exceed that, 9 times out of 10, Texas loses.
... Arkansas will lull you to sleep with its running game, and then the Hogs will throw it over the top to star TE Hunter Henry (6-5, 250), who is their most lethal weapon through he air. UT has to make sure Henry is accounted for on every play.#4
... Force Brandon Allen to throw. When Arkansas' QB has thrown 30 or more times in a game this season, the Hogs are 0-5. When the running game has allowed Allen to throw less than 30 times, the Razorbacks are 6-1 (with the only loss to A&M, a game UA should have won but gave up big plays late).#5
... The Texas offensive line has to neutralize Arkansas DE Trey Flowers (13.5 TFL, 5 sacks), who wears No. 86, and leading tackler LB Martrell Spaight, who wears No. 47. These guys are the heart-and-soul of the Arkansas defense.
HD PredictionsCHIP BROWN
Once again, it all comes down to which Tyrone Swoopes shows up for Texas.
If it's the Swoopes who is calm in the pocket and sees opportunity, not a pass rush that sometimes isn't there, then Texas has a chance to win what I think will be a low-scoring game dominated by the defenses.
If Swoopes' confidence took such a pounding from his 5-turnover performance in a 48-10 loss to TCU, and Swoopes is turnover-prone again vs Arkansas, this one will get out of hand in the Razorbacks' favor.
Texas A&M was able to erase a 28-14 deficit in the fourth quarter against Arkansas by throwing deep and connecting on TD passes of 86 yards and 59 yards from Kenny Hill to Ed Pope and Josh Reynolds. Then, A&M won the game in OT on a 25-yard TD pass to Malcome Kennedy.
Swoopes is going to have to make plays with his arm. If he's grown and developed over the past month, then he'll be up for the challenge. If he hasn't, it's probably his last game at QB for Texas.
The Texas defense is stout, and the offense gets enough plays from Swoopes to win a squeaker.Texas 16, Arkansas 14
Tyrone Swoopes has had over a month to stew over his poor, 5-turnover performance on Thanksgiving Day against TCU. If he can bounce back and take care of the ball, I do believe that the Longhorns will win this game. He just can't turn the ball over, which will be a tough task against a blitz-happy Razorbacks defense that hasn't allowed more than 21 points since the end of October.
Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, whom Texas made a late push for his senior season in high school, will have their moments. But overall I think Texas front seven will hold their ground against the biggest offensive line in football. You know that Malcom Brown, Cedric Reed, Jordan Hicks, Steve Edmond, and those other seniors are going to put their best foot forward in their last collegiate game. The quicker UT can make this game about Arkansas QB Brandon Allen, the better.
Look for the Longhorns to dig into their bag of tricks at least two times to open this game up offensively while Swoopes tries to find his footing. I'm not sure if Charlie Strong felt disrespected by Bret Bielema flashing the 'Horns Down' sign when they were shaking hands earlier this week. But I'd have to imagine that that got his blood boiling. That pissed the players off too, I guarantee.
The Big 12 gets the best of the SEC in this old SWC rivalry matchup. I'm not sold at all on Arkansas being a 6-point favorite.Texas 23, Arkansas 20
The X factor for me in every single football game at every level is turnovers. It's the one aspect of a football game you simply can't account for, unfortunately for Texas the quarterback position has hurt them in numerous games this year with turnovers. This game for me comes down to one simple fact win the turnover battle. If Texas wins the turnover battle they win the game and it's that simple.Texas 27, Arkansas 17
The two keys to this game for Texas are stopping Arkansas’ dominant run game and getting a good game from Tyrone Swoopes.
First off stopping the Razorbacks' two running backs junior Jonathan Williams and sophomore Alex Collins won’t be easy. The duo has combined for over 2,000 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
While the Texas defense has been good, the Longhorns only rank 66th in run defense giving up an average of 3.9 yards per rush.
But if the defense can derail Arkansas rushing attack then the Longhorns will be a good spot. Razorback quarterback Brandon Allen has only thrown for 2,125 yards and 18 touchdowns. Those aren’t great numbers and the Longhorns have seen more dynamic quarterbacks this season. Additionally, Texas ranks 12th in least pass yards given up only allowing an average of 186.3 yards per game. The Longhorns have also intercepted 15 passes this season.
I think Texas will be able to contain Arkansas’ potent running game and force the Razorbacks to air it out. I anticipate a few interceptions from the Longhorn defense.
Offensively, I’m not sure what to expect. I think the Longhorns will get back to its early season offense. This means Swoopes will be making a lot of short to intermediate throws and will hope to get the running game going early. I think the Longhorns will get enough offense to takedown the Razorbacks.
Barring a special teams mishap, the Longhorns beat Arkansas in a defensive showdown.Texas 20-Arkansas 14
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