FAYETTEVILLE — No. 10 Arkansas is hoping to remain undefeated as they take on No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday night in AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The Hogs defeated Texas A&M 20-10 in 2021 for the first time since Bobby Petrino was the head coach at Arkansas. Sam Pittman is 1-1 against Jimbo Fisher.
Here’s five keys for Arkansas to win the game.
Run the Football
App State controlled the football against Texas A&M by power running. Miami tried more passing and that didn’t work. Arkansas has a better offensive line than App State and a better running back. So they have to try to run the ball right at A&M and if successful that also keeps the A&M offense on the sideline. Arkansas also has a talented quarterback and wide receivers so they can also get the Aggies thinking run, run and run then drop a long pass to Matt Landers, Jadon Haselwood, Warren Thompson or Ketron Jackson. Tight end Trey Knox will also be a key weapon as the Hogs try to keep drives going. Arkansas needs a big game from Rocket Sanders and KJ Jefferson.
Stop the Turnovers
Arkansas has to eliminate the turnovers. They had three against Missouri State and it almost cost them the game. Jefferson and Sanders are usually dependable ballcarriers without fumbling, but they both coughed up fumbles Saturday night. The interception was a fluke as it bounced off Knox’s hands right into a Missouri State defender.
Hope Myles Slusher Makes big Impact
Arkansas is set to get Myles Slusher back this week. The nickel-safety is probably Arkansas’ best defensive back now that Jalen Catalon is out for the season. They haven’t had him since the Cincinnati game. Arkansas has got to find a way to shore up its secondary. I don’t think they have a fix-it-all solution on the team, but they are last in pass defense. Teams are lighting them up almost at will. That can’t continue. Dwight McGlothern has to stay on the field. He was injured last week with a hamstring injury. The secondary has got to find a way to get better. Barry Odom is a very creative coach and now he has to find a magical way to get this group playing better.
Score Touchdowns in Red Zone
Field goals are better than nothing, but the Hogs really need to take advantage of trips the red zone and get seven instead of three points. I say seven because Cam Little is basically perfect on PATs since arriving at Arkansas. Jefferson and the Hogs have been pretty good in this regard this season, but A&M is probably the best team they have played. So they have to make each possession count.
No Excessive Amount of Penalties
Arkansas cut back on its penalties in the second half on Saturday night. They have been flagged a lot this season and that has to stop. Arkansas shouldn’t be getting this many penalties. They are a very disciplined team under Pittman. Those type teams usually aren’t heavily penalized. If Arkansas can eliminate turnovers and cut the penalties down to somewhere around 3-4 they are a threat to beat any team on the schedule.