Tusk to Tail: The homers say Sam is gonna get the best of Jimbo
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Arkansas is ranked 9th nationally in rushing, averaging more than 280 yards per game. Six different players average more than 5 yards per carry. Who do you think will be the Razorbacks’ leading rusher against Texas A&M?
Don Pinciotti: One of the great things about Arkansas’s memorable win over Texas was the group of new contributors that emerged out of the backfield: Rocket Sanders, Dominique Johnson, and AJ Green. All four made a splash that day, and each has continued to earn carries and pick up tough yards. KJ Jefferson clearly feels at home executing an RPO with any of the three. But the man who continues to lead the Razorback rushing attack in both total carries and yards is Treylon Smith, and I look for him to be the difference maker against A&M. The Aggies defense is stout overall, but they rank a paltry 12th in the SEC against the run and they won’t improve that status Saturday. Multiple Hogs go over 40 yards rushing, but Smith goes over 100.
Todd Rudisill: I am going with Dominique Johnson, who is coming off his best game to date. Johnson is averaging a whopping 8.8 yards a carry, has a long of 48, and scored 3 TDs on the season already. An added X factor is that he is from Texas. Do your thing, young man. Do your thing.
#16 Arkansas vs. #7 Texas A&M
Dale Cullins: We’ve had some close games over the past 10 years with the Aggies, but this year I think Arkansas could have a better defense than them. I’m still not sold on KJ, but we will have to trust his arm if the Hogs are going to win. So perhaps more of a defensive battle, Hogs win 24-20.
Don Pinciotti: It’s time. Nine straight losses in the Southwest Classic are enough for Arkansas. And what the oddsmakers fail to see in this game is the opportunity for Sam Pittman – two weeks removed from stomping the hated Texas Longhorns – to deliver a signature win in the SEC. Hogs 27, Aggies 24.
Todd Rudisill: The Texas win was big and exhilarating. But this game means so much more in the big picture. It’s a conference game against a Top 10 opponent, and Arkansas is attempting to end an exhausting 9-game losing streak. There have been so many losses in heartbreaking fashion. It’s almost come to be expected in this matchup. But for the first time in a long time, the Hogs are coming into this game ranked, playing well, and expecting to win. As a Hog fan, this game will be a true barometer of just how good they currently are, and may tell how the rest of the season will go against the SEC. A&M may be playing their backup QB, but their defense has been stellar like they always are. I don’t expect a shootout this year. The Aggies have not been good in the red zone this year, and the Hogs defense is only giving up only 263 yards a game. In the end, I think the threat of KJ running really opens up the passing game and our receivers are the difference. Playmakers show up in big games. Expect Treylon Burks and Texans Jalen Catalon, Dominique Johnson, and Bumper Pool to light it up. The nightmare streak comes to an end. Hogs 28-24
LSU vs. Mississippi State
Dale Cullins: LSU seems to be finding their sea legs, and still has more talent that Miss State. LSU wins a close one, 32-30 on the road.
#25 Kansas State @ Oklahoma State
Dale Cullins: I have not paid much attention to the Big 12 this year. K-State must have looked slightly better than Okie Lite in their wins to be ranked. Looking at the schedules, this looks like a fairly evenly matched game. I’ll give the nod to the home team. Okie Lite by 3, 27-24.
Nebraska @ #20 Michigan State
Dale Cullins: What I’ve seen from Nebraska has not been inspiring. Michigan State has looked pretty good from the film I’ve seen. Michigan State rolls, 41-20.
#12 Notre Dame vs. #18 Wisconsin
Don Pinciotti: Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin is the kind of game I get excited to sit down and watch, but within seven minutes of game play I’m flipping over to a Naked & Afraid marathon. I’d like to think this one will be more exciting being played at legendary Soldier Field, but more than likely it will live down to expectations. Badgers 10, Irish 9.
Todd Rudisill: Wisconsin exposes Notre Dame for the sham it is. They are ranked high because of name only. The Irish barely beat an awful Florida State team then barely escaped Toledo. The Badgers have the second ranked defense in the country, and are allowing just 66 yards a game rushing. The Badgers’ offense has looked okay, but their passing game is questionable. They won’t need much of it in this game with the defense they have. Wisky takes it 27-17.
Tennessee @ #11 Florida
Don Pinciotti: Florida went toe-to-toe with mighty Alabama in a memorable early season showdown, and are back at The Swamp to take on the Tennessee Volunteers and head coach Josh Heupel (who only seems like the 10th new head coach at Rocky Top in the last 11 years). Vegas expects a shootout with an over/under set at 63 so this one will be fun to watch. Gators 45, Vols 31.
Todd Rudisill: Florida gave Bama everything they wanted and more last week. They proved to the country that they are better than what people thought, and the Tide may have some chinks in the armor. On a side note, this may be the year the playoffs aren’t chalk. Clemson and Ohio State have already lost and it just a matter of time before Oklahoma’s annual loss to someone they are not supposed to lose to. The game plan is simple here for the Gators. Run, run, and run some more. The Vols defense can’t handle the run. They are so bad, they paid Army $100,000 this week to cancel next year’s game. The thought of facing that Army triple option sent chills down their spine. Gators 37-17, chomp, chomp.
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