2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 3 - Troy at Arkansas
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Sept. 17 at Arkansas 38 ... Troy 28
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Ronnie Wingo and Joe Adams provided Arkansas the boost it needed Saturday night.
With three senior starters -- defensive end Jake Bequette and receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs -- out, Wingo and Adams provided the big plays for the No. 14 Razorbacks in a 38-28 win over Troy.
Wingo rushed for a career-high 109 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Adams had eight catches for 109 yards in helping Arkansas remain undefeated as it prepares to travel to No. 2 Alabama next week.
The effort was especially rewarding for Wingo, whose previous best was an 86-yard rushing effort against Texas A&M as a freshman in 2009. The junior, who the Razorbacks (3-0) have counted on to shine this season following Knile Davis' season-ending ankle injury in August, scored on touchdown runs of 22 and 21 yards in the first half and also had a touchdown catch.
Wingo nearly doubled his season output of 116 yards rushing entering the game with the performance. His three touchdowns were also a personal best, topping the two he scored -- one rushing and one receiving -- against Troy in 2009.
"It's a relief after everybody was on our back the way they were the first week," Wingo said. "They're still going to have stuff to say, but we've just got to keep grinding and getting better each week."
The Trojans (0-2) fell behind 31-7 early in the third quarter following Wingo's third score, a six-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Despite the deficit, Troy didn't make the fourth quarter an easy one for the Razorbacks. Sophomore quarterback Corey Robinson, who was 36 of 63 passing for 373 yards, helped the Trojans score back-to-back touchdowns and close the deficit to 31-21.
The first score was a 32-yard pass from Robinson to Justin Albert, and safety LaDarrius Madden followed that with a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown. That was as close as Troy would get, despite outgaining Arkansas 457-454 in total yardage.
"I think Arkansas has got to be one of the best offensive football teams in the country when you get right to it," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "They've got a lot of guys that can make plays. "I felt like we were slow getting lined up, not quite on edge as much early, and we gave up some plays that we shouldn't give up."
Bequette missed the game for the Razorbacks with a hamstring injury. Wright, the team's receiving leader entering the game, was out with a knee sprain, while Childs was absent following the death of his grandmother earlier this week.
Adams, who returned two punts for touchdowns in the season opener, stepped right in as Arkansas' top receiving option. The senior answered the Trojans' challenge early in the fourth quarter when he took a short Wilson pass, spun through two Troy defenders and sprinted to the end zone for a touchdown that put the Razorbacks up 38-21.
"I thought it was huge for us," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "He made a great play. They tightened the score. We hadn't moved the ball real well the last two drives, and Joe made a great play. He broke a tackle, showed his speed and changed the game back for us."
Tramain Thomas then intercepted a Robinson pass on the first play following Adams' touchdown, and Arkansas' defense didn't allow another score until Robinson found Eric Thomas for a 24-yard touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game.
Wingo and Adams had plenty of help on offense from junior receiver Cobi Hamilton, who opened the game with a 37-yard reception and finished with five catches for 81 yards.
Also, Wilson was effective in guiding Arkansas' offense early, leading the Razorbacks to touchdowns on their first three drives as he remained undefeated in his first season as the starter. He finished the game with 23 of 36 passing for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
However, after he sailed a pass high over the head of Javontee Herndon on third-and-goal from the 5 on Arkansas' fourth possession, Wilson felt the wrath of Petrino on the sideline. Zach Hocker made the 23-yard field goal to put Arkansas up 24-0, but only after Petrino slammed his headset into the ground and mocked Wilson's throwing motion on the sideline as the quarterback walked toward him.
Wilson did guide Arkansas to two scoring drives in the second half, but Troy also held the Razorbacks to three three-and-outs.
"I wasn't real happy with the way we finished the game," Petrino said. "We've got a lot to work on to get ready for Alabama."
Troy (0-1) at Arkansas (2-0) Sept. 17, 7:30, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … The SEC season is in full bloom with South Carolina and Georgia playing a classic and Mississippi State and Auburn coming up with a heartstopper. Tennessee and Florida are renewing their fun rivalry, and Mississippi State and LSU are waging a battle for the pecking order in the West. Meanwhile, Arkansas is tuning up.
Say what you will about teams playing lousy non-conference schedules, but with no preseason to work out the kinks, teams like Arkansas with several new players in key spots need time to adjust. This is a very, very good team, but very, very good teams need to get their timing down, too – just ask a certain team up in South Bend.
This is Game Three of the Hog Tune-Up Tour, after light scrimmages against Missouri State and New Mexico, winning the two games by a combined score of 103-10, and they’re all needed with what’s coming next: At Alabama, Texas A&M in Dallas, and Auburn.
Troy will once again be in the hunt for the Sun Belt title, but it’ll be a fight with FIU looking terrific so far, and Arkansas State, Louisiana, and Middle Tennessee showing signs of potentially being championship strong. However, the Trojans had to kick back for the last two weeks and groove on the 43-19 pasting applied by Clemson and have to somehow find something useful out of this game before dealing with Middle Tennessee next week.
The two offenses are potent, the passing games are tremendous, and there should be lots of big plays. The two teams have played three times with Arkansas winning by a combined score of 125 to 46, which might be the final score on Saturday if Troy plays like it did against Clemson.
Why Troy Might Win: Arkansas might be putting up yards and points in chunks, but it’s also suffering some key bumps and bruises. Quarterback Tyler Wilson suffered a concussion against New Mexico, and leading receiver Jarius Wright is coming off a knee injury. While Wilson is expected to be fine and play this week, Wright might be out to heal up and be ready for Alabama. The Tide will be on the Hogs’ minds, and while this will be a home game and Troy is overmatched, distraction could be a bit of a problem against a potent team that should be able to bomb away. Even in the blowouts so far, Arkansas hasn’t been doing enough to get into the backfield to hit the quarterback.
Why Arkansas Might Win: The Troy defense wasn’t even close against the Clemson passing game in key moments. Even though the Troy D came up with three sacks, Tiger QB Tajh Boyd had few problems moving the ball when he needed to, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns while hitting on the third down plays needed in the second half to pull away. The Trojans were sloppy, turning it over three times and not taking advantage of any opportunities in the second half to turn the game around. Against Arkansas, Troy has to keep up the pace, and while Corey Robinson and the passing game will be great against the Sun Belt, it won’t be good enough to match what the Hogs can do in all phases. Troy just doesn’t have the talent.
What To Watch Out For: In a perfect world for Arkansas, the game will get out of hand and Brandon Mitchell will see plenty of action. He stepped in for Tyler Wilson last week and completed 8-of-13 passes for 114 yards and a score, and he added a rushing element with 59 yards and a score. Wilson can also run, and is Michael Vick-like competed to Ryan Mallett, but after getting knocked out last week, the longer he’s on the sidelines before the Bama showdown, the better.
For Troy to have any show, Corey Robinson has to be great. The sophomore bomber completed 24-of-42 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown with a pick against Clemson, but he has the receiving corps and the talent to do far more. Only 6-0 and 214 pounds, he’s not all that big, but he has a live arm and can throw with a nice touch on his deep passes and decent accuracy. Kentucky’s former Mr. Football is smart, tough, and he makes things happen on the move.
What Will Happen: Robinson will go ballistic, throwing for well over 300 yards, but it won’t be nearly enough. Wilson will be ultra-efficient in the first half to give the Hogs the lead, and then the ground game will take over with several backs getting carries to keep everything fresh. It’ll be a blowout, but it’ll be an entertaining blowout.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 48 … Troy 23
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Arkansas -23.5 O/U: 63.5
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