A regular Dawg fight

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I was out of commission last week and didn't put up a Hogs post prior to Arkansas' 49-7 dismantling of the Tennessee Volunteers. That was a remarkable game in the way it showed two features of the Arkansas football squad this year: Quick strike ability on offense and a dangerous special teams attack. (On the latter point, you should really check out Joe Adams' punt return TD if you haven't already.)

I'd like to say the 7 points Tennessee managed as evidence of the Arkansas defense's improvement; perhaps it did, but the anemia of the Tennessee offense probably owed more to Tennessee's problems since QB Tyler Bray's injury than anything else. Still, the Hogs only owned a 3-13 all-time record against the Volunteers prior to last Saturday. So the win was a nice one.

This afternoon the Razorbacks will take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. The Dawgs only sport a 5-5 record (1-5 in conference). But that record masks the actual quality of the team, which is forced to compete in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the country (i.e., the SEC West). Coach Dan Mullen is a talented leader, and his Dawgs are better than their record indicates. I don't think MSU has the athletic talent that the Razorbacks do, and you've got to wonder how demoralized they are at this point in the season after so many tough games. Those factors plus the fact that the game will be played in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock may make it a long afternoon for MSU.

Oh and the resurgent Hogs' running game under RB Dennis Johnson? That won't make things any easier for Coach Mullen and his crew.

Bonus fact #1: Arkansas holds a 14-6-1 record all-time against Mississippi State, including 9-1 in the last ten matchups.

Bonus fact #2: Arkansas has won 9 straight games at War Memorial Stadium, where Saturday's game will be played.

Last week: Arkansas 49, Tennessee 7 (Me: No prediction)

Arkansas' record: 9-1 (Me: 8-1)

This week: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Location: War Memorial Stadium - Little Rock, AR

Prediction: Hogs 38, Bulldogs 14

Reason: Mississippi State has had a tough row to hoe this season. Put the Bulldogs in a conference like the ACC or the Pac-12 and they'd probably be near the top of the heap. But they live in the SEC, and more specifically, in the SEC West. That's the same SEC West that features 3 of the top 6 teams in the BCS standings (LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas). MSU usually gives the Hogs a tough fight, and I don't expect today's game to be any different. But in the end, I don't think the Bulldog offense will be able to keep up with the Hogs. Their best hope is to catch Arkansas looking ahead to their Thanksgiving weekend game against LSU, but I don't think Coach Bobby Petrino and his staff are going to let that happen.

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