Arkansas Razorbacks set to kick off season opener against Florida A&M on Thursday, Aug. 31, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:06 p.m. CT on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (PBP), Jordan Rodgers (Analyst) and Cole Cubelic (Sideline) on the call
ON THE FIELD
Bret Bielema, head coach
Dan Enos, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Paul Rhoads, defensive coordinator/secondary
Kurt Anderson, offensive line
Reggie Mitchell, running backs
Vernon Hargreaves, inside linebackers
John Scott Jr., defensive line
Michael Smith, wide receivers
IN THE BOOTH
Barry Lunney Jr., tight ends
Chad Walker, outside linebackers
• The game will kick off the 124th season of football at Arkansas and the fifth under head coach Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks enter 2017 with an all-time record of 709-486-40 (.590).
• It marks the first time since 2001 that Arkansas will open the season on a Thursday night. Arkansas defeated UNLV in its 2001 season opener. It will also be the program’s first Thursday night game since 2003 when Arkansas took down South Carolina, 28-6. Both of those games were played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
• Bret Bielema has a staggering 40-4 record against nonconference opponents during the regular season over his 11-year head-coaching career. Bielema is 10-1 all-time in season-opening games as a head coach at Wisconsin (7-0) and Arkansas (3-1). Additionally, Bielema has never lost a home opener during his career, posting an 11-0 mark in the first home game of the season.
• Arkansas is 96-23-4 all-time in season openers and has taken 18 of its last 20. The Razorbacks have also won 10 consecutive home openers and are 99-20-4 (.821) overall in the first home game of the season. In the past 10 home openers, Arkansas has outscored its opponents by an average of 44.2-14.8.
• The Hogs return 19 letterwinners on offense with six starters, including the SEC’s leading passer from last year in Austin Allen and All-American center Frank Ragnow.
• A first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus in 2016, Ragnow has made 26 straight starts heading into his senior campaign. He was also named the nation’s best offensive lineman and best run blocker by PFF last season.
• Allen, who is back for his senior campaign and second season as the starting signal caller, took the reins at QB from his older brother Brandon a year ago and immediately made
his mark. He led the SEC with 3,430 passing yards, including a league-best 2,291 in conference play and finished with 25 touchdown passes, which ranked second in the conference.
• One of Allen’s top targets will be senior Jared Cornelius, the veteran of the receiving corps. Highlighted by three straight 100-plus yard receiving performances, Cornelius recorded 32 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdown catches, while adding a rushing score, last season.
• After backing up regular-season rushing champion Rawleigh Williams III last season, sophomore Devwah Whaley will be counted on for more carries in 2017 and looks to become the featured running back in the Razorbacks’ offensive attack. Whaley rushed for 602 yards and three touchdowns on 110
carries in 13 games played a year ago.
• Led by new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, the Razorbacks’ 2017 defense will feature a new 3-4 scheme. Defensively, Arkansas returns 23 letterwinners, including five starters. Led by captains Santos Ramirez and Kevin Richardson II, the secondary is arguably the most veteran unit on the roster, having combined for 84 starts heading into this season.
• Rhoads’ defense also includes Butkus Award candidate will linebacker Dre Greenlaw, a freshman All-American in 2015 who played only seven games last year due to injury, cornerback Ryan Pulley, who tallied the second-most pass breakups in the SEC, and 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team selections defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and middle linebacker De’Jon Harris.
SEASON OPENER DEPTH CHART
QB 8 Austin Allen (Sr.) 15 Cole Kelley (R-Fr.) / 5 Ty Storey (So.)
RB 21 Devwah Whaley (So.) / 33 David Williams (Sr.) 2 Chase Hayden (Fr.) / 23 Maleek Williams (Fr.)
FB 34 Kendrick Jackson (Jr.) 32 Hayden Johnson (So.)
WR 13 Deon Stewart (So.) / 10 Jordan Jones (R-Fr.) 9 De’Vion Warren (Fr.) / 3 Koilan Jackson (Fr.)
WR 1 Jared Cornelius (Sr.) / 16 La’Michael Pettway (So.) 6 T.J. Hammonds (So.) / 7 Jonathan Nance (Jr.)
TE 44 Austin Cantrell (So.) 18 Jeremy Patton (Jr.)
TE 85 Cheyenne O’Grady (So.) 87 Jack Kraus (Jr.) / 80 Will Gragg (So.)
LT 74 Colton Jackson (So.) 76 Paul Ramirez (Sr.)
LG 51 Hjalte Froholdt (Jr.) 50 Jake Raulerson (Sr.)
C 72 Frank Ragnow (Sr.) 75 Zach Rogers (Jr.)
RG 62 Johnny Gibson (Jr.) 66 Ty Clary (Fr.)
RT 60 Brian Wallace (Jr.) 79 Jalen Merrick (So.)
DE 3 McTelvin Agim (So.) 42 Jonathan Marshall (R-Fr.) / 90 Armon Watts (Jr.)
NT 78 Bijhon Jackson (Sr.) 41 Austin Capps (So.) / 69 Dylan Hays (R-Fr.)
DE 52 T.J. Smith (So.) 95 Jake Hall (Jr.) / 7 Briston Guidry (R-Fr.)
RAZOR 10 Randy Ramsey (Jr.) 27 Hayden Henry (Fr.)
MLB 8 De’Jon Harris (So.) 31 Grant Morgan (R-Fr.)
WLB 23 Dre Greenlaw (Jr.) 33 Dee Walker (R-Fr.)
HOG 35 Dwayne Eugene Jr. (Sr.) 96 Karl Roesler (Sr.)
CB 11 Ryan Pulley (Jr.) 2 Kamren Curl (Fr.)
SS 9 Santos Ramirez (Jr.) 28 Josh Liddell (Sr.) / 38 Reid Miller (Jr.)
FS 28 Josh Liddell (Sr.) 20 De’Andre Coley (Sr.) / 30 Kevin Richardson II (Sr.)
CB 5 Henre’ Toliver (Sr.) 14 Britto Tutt (So.) / 1 Chevin Calloway (Fr.)
K 9 Cole Hedlund (Jr.) 92 Blake Mazza (Fr.)
P 18 Blake Johnson (So.) 15 Cole Kelley (R-Fr.)
KO 19 Connor Limpert (So.) 92 Blake Mazza (Fr.)
KS 49 Robert Decker (Sr.) 48 Jordan Silver (Fr.)
DS 49 Robert Decker (Sr.) 48 Jordan Silver (Fr.)
H 38 Reid Miller (Jr.) 31 Grant Morgan (R-Fr.)
KR 13 Deon Stewart (So.) 7 Jonathan Nance (Jr.)