FAYETTEVILLE — It seems Arkansas could be headed for another game without junior running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders.
Sanders started the season opener against Western Carolina. He rushed 15 times for 42 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a couple of passes in that game. He suffered an injury to his left knee and hasn’t played since that game. Sam Pittman provided an update on Wednesday.
“Well, I don’t have an update on his status, but I can tell you that he’s ran really… Ran well yesterday and progressing faster than what I thought he might,” Pittman said. “But I don’t know whether he’ll be able to play or not.”
Junior AJ Green has started both games in Sanders’ absence. The speedy Green leads the Razorbacks with 190 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. He also has caught two passes for 14 yards. Green rushed 55 yards for a touchdown on Arkansas’ first possession Saturday night against BYU.
One thing the game will feature is two of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. LSU has Jayden Daniels while the Hogs feature KJ Jefferson. Last season, LSU took a 13-10 victory in Razorback Stadium when the Hogs were without Jefferson.
This season, Daniels has completed 70-of-95 passes for 976 yards, eight touchdowns and an interception. He also leads LSU in rushing with 35 carries for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jefferson had completed 55-of-77 passes for 629 yards, six touchdowns and an interception. In the ground, Jefferson has rushed 31 times for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore punter Max Fletcher has handled all those duties this season. Fletcher has punted 14 times for an average of 44.1 yards. Fletcher hasn’t had any punts blocked, had seven fair caught and four inside the 20. But it was 10- and 28-yard punts Saturday night that helped switch the momentum to BYU. Pittman had some mildly surprising news on Wednesday.
“You know, he’s been as consistent in the first two games,” Pittman said. “I was really, really pleased with him. He’d been consistent in practice. However, I will tell you Devin Bale, he’s been punting the ball well, also. We will punt … We’re going to start Max. But we will punt Devin Bale on Saturday because he’s earned the right to do that. And that’s no negative against Max. Maybe a little bit more concentration there and things of that nature. But competition helps everybody. But Devin’s a really good punter as well, so we will punt him some on Saturday.”
Bale transferred to Arkansas from Northern Colorado in the offseason. In two years there, Bale averaged 41.2 yards per punt, had 41 fair caught and placed 29 inside the opponent’s 20.
Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 6 p.m. inside Tiger Stadium Saturday night. The game will be televised on ESPN.