FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas opens the 2019 football season on Saturday, Aug. 31, when they host Portland State in Fayetteville.
The game will have a kickoff at 3 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Network. It will be a game that should allow the Hogs to start off the second season of the Chad Morris era with some momentum.
Here’s three thoughts about the upcoming football season that is growing nearer by the day.
Carry Momentum Through September
Arkansas got off to a good start in 2018 when they defeated Eastern Illinois 55-20 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It was at that point though they set in motion what would happen the remainder of the season. Arkansas went on the road the second week to face Colorado State and collapsed in the fourth quarter losing 34-27. It got no better the following week when North Texas came to Fayetteville and trounced the Hogs 44-17. This year Arkansas will get a chance to build some momentum when they travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss on Sept. 7. The Razorbacks then return home to host Colorado State and San Jose State before closing out the month in Arlington to face Texas A&M. Ole Miss will provide a better opponent than Colorado State did in Week 2, but it’s a game that if Arkansas can find a way to win it the season could become a promising one. Assuming the Hogs can beat Portland State, Colorado State and San Jose State at home a win over Ole Miss would allow them to go against the Aggies at 4-0. Circle Sept. 7 on the schedule because that will be a big game.
Quarterbacks On Target
In 2018, Arkansas started three different quarterbacks. As it turns out none of the three will be on the team in 2019. Gone are Ty Storey, Cole Kelley and Connor Noland. Enter Ben Hicks, Nick Starkel, KJ Jefferson and returnees John Stephen Jones, Daulton Hyatt and Jack Lindsey. Last season though by no means was it all their fault, but Arkansas’ quarterbacks completed just 54.6 percent of their passes which ranked 107th in FBS and 13th in the SEC. Morris is obviously looking for vast improvement in this aspect of the game this season. While the quarterbacks look to improve the offensive line and receivers need to step up as well. Last season too many times the quarterback was basically running from pursuit far too much. The receivers need to do a good job of getting the 50-50 balls and gaining separation.
Members of Talented Recruiting Class
Arkansas signed one of its better recruiting classes on paper and now they will be looking to see how many in that class can help this fall. Both the graduate transfer quarterbacks mentioned earlier will help as could Jefferson, a true freshman. At running back A’Montae Spivey could get some work. All four wide receivers signed could see action. Trey Knox, Treylon Burks, Shamar Nash and TQ Jackson are all capable of playing early. Knox was outstanding in the spring. Hudson Henry should have a big impact at tight end. Myron Cunningham will be a starter at guard or tackle. On defense, all the newcomers will get long looks on the line. The Hogs had Eric Gregory, Zach Williams and Mataio Soli go through spring drills at end. Incoming defensive linemen this summer were Collin Clay, Enoch Jackson, Taurean Carter and Marcus Miller. Zach Zimos was the only linebacker signed and could help. In the secondary, Devin Bush and Gregory Brooks both looked good in the spring. Brooks could be the starter at the nickel position. Jalen Catalon has a chance to make a very early impact at safety. Malik Chavis is someone to watch as well.