2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11 - Tennessee at Arkansas
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Nov. 12 at Arkansas 49 … Tennessee 7
CFN Analysis: You won’t see a better punt return for a score than the amazing play from Joe Adams in the first quarter. He put the game away, and then Dennis Johnson buried it with his 71-yard dash. … Arkansas got through the midseason blahs against the mediocre part of the schedule and is now playing like everything is humming. Tennessee might not be all that great, and it doesn’t have much of an offense, but this was what the Hogs are supposed to do to a struggling team. … It’s going to go unnoticed, but punter Dylan Breeding had a great game averaging over 49 yards on his three kicks and putting the bad UT offense inside the 20 twice. … Can the Hogs maintain their focus? Everyone will want to talk about the LSU game, but Mississippi State is fighting for its life. It’ll be Senior Day for Arkansas; the team will show up.
0-6 in the SEC. The Vols might have a tough SEC slate with no Ole Miss or Mississippi State from the West, and Vanderbilt and Kentucky are coming up, but it’s still inexcusable to score a grand total of 23 points in the last four conference games. The offense isn’t getting any better with nothing coming from the ground game and the quarterbacks not putting points on the board. … Justin Worley completed 15-of-29 passes for 208 yards and a pick, and Da’Rick Rogers caught five passes for 106 yards. Rogers has been strong under bad circumstances. ... It’ll take wins over the last two weeks to go bowling, but the team is used to it. Last year the Vols had to win their final four games to get to a bowl.
(AP) FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Jarius Wright and Joe Adams turned in a couple of highlight-worthy plays during a record-breaking night for No. 8 Arkansas.
Led by its senior receiving duo and 140 total yards from Dennis Johnson, the Razorbacks beat Tennessee 49-7 on Saturday for their sixth consecutive victory.
Arkansas (9-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) kept alive its hopes for a second-straight BCS bowl game -- and possibly more. It also earned its seventh straight win against an SEC East opponent, and this one was quite stylish.
Adams electrified the Razorback Stadium crowd with his spectacular 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Wright moved into the top spot on the school's career receptions list with 154. Johnson added a 71-yard touchdown run, keeping Arkansas on track for a showdown with No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., in two weeks.
"We've come quite a ways, but it's still a process," Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette said. "I mean, by no means have we arrived or are we finished. It was nice to get a big win tonight, but we can't look too much into this.
"We've got two more really quality SEC opponents left. We've come a long ways, but we've still got a ways to go."
While Arkansas added to its growing momentum, the Volunteers (4-6, 0-6) continued their sluggish season. They dropped to 0-6 in the SEC for the first time and need to win their final two games to become bowl eligible. Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt next week before closing out the regular season at Kentucky.
Freshman quarterback Justin Worley, making his third straight start in place of the injured Tyler Bray, was 15-of-29 passing for 210 yards. He also had a costly interception late in the first half.
Rajion Neal had Tennessee's lone touchdown while the Volunteers stayed within striking distance early on, nearly equaling the Razorbacks in total yardage. But Arkansas outgained Tennessee 289-169 in the second half and Tyler Wilson finished 16-of-26 passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
"They put it to us," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. "Not much you can say after a game like that. Very disappointing in how it ended, but we missed a lot of opportunities."
Johnson led Arkansas with 97 yards rushing on 11 carries, and he had 43 yards receiving.
Wright and Adams, meanwhile, provided one highlight after another for a Razorbacks team looking to stay alive in both the SEC and national championship races.
Wright tied Anthony Eubanks' mark of 153 career receptions in the second quarter on a 40-yard pass from Wilson. Wright reached around Tennessee cornerback Justin Coleman to tip the ball up, and it eventually bounced again off his facemask before he was able to dive back and snare the ball just before it hit the turf.
The Warren, Ark., native later set the record on a 16-yarder from Wilson in the third quarter and finished with five catches for 94 yards.
"It's always good to break a record, especially in your home state and somewhere you've been for so long," Wright said. "So it's great to know I broke a record around here. Regardless, I'll probably get a chance to go in the record books."
Adams, who entered one ahead of Wright in career receptions, wasn't about to be overshadowed. He had a pair of grabs to reach 153 for his career, but it was his third punt return for a touchdown this season -- the fourth of his career -- that sent a charge through the crowd late in the first quarter.
The Razorbacks were leading 7-0 when Adams fielded the Matt Darr punt and initially made a move to his right.
When the Tennessee return team collapsed on Adams, he backed up and turned to the left as if he was about to flip the field. When that closed down, Adams turned back to the right -- with the Volunteers bouncing off and sliding over him -- and streaked down the sideline before slamming down the ball once he crossed the goal line.
"That's like one of those, you know, where you go, 'Aw no, don't run backward. Don't run -- ooh, OK, here he goes. Oh my gosh, touchdown,'" Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was an amazing play, and certainly you saw his athleticism and he's been making plays like that all year long for us."
The rout was on after that, but the highlights were far from finished.
Johnson added his second touchdown on a 15-yard run in the third quarter, and Adams extended the lead to 35-7 with his 40-yard catch from Wilson.
The Razorbacks host Mississippi State in Little Rock, Ark., next week before closing out the regular season at LSU on Nov. 25.
Tennessee (4-5) at Arkansas (8-1) Nov. 12, 6:00, ESPN2/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … Tennessee is 0-5 in the SEC? It’s been said over and over again, but it bears repeating. The Vols are on the SEC West World Tour of Death, playing LSU, Alabama, and now Arkansas teams with two losses between them, both in house, while the Georgias and South Carolinas of the world are living it up on the Mississippi side of things. There’s still time to make this a good season, with Vanderbilt and Kentucky to close things out, but a win over Arkansas would be the high point. It would be a bigger win than any bowl the Vols could get to.
Arkansas is on a five-game winning streak since getting thumped by Alabama, and now it has its SEC West title hopes in its own hands – to a point. If the Hogs beat Tennessee and Mississippi State this week, then the regular season showdown against LSU will be, at the very least, for a piece of the division title. The tie-breaker scenarios don’t exactly work out, but if nothing else, two more wins would bring the first back-to-back ten-win seasons since 1988 and 1989 and get in range for the first 11-win campaign since 1977.
The Hogs had their high moment of the season last week in a closer-than-it-looked 44-28 win over South Carolina. They dominated statistically, but couldn’t pull away until late. Even so, it was still a nice win coming off a few clunker victories over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The offense continues to be fine, the defense has found its groove, and there shouldn’t be any problems over the next few weeks unless Tennessee has a few tricks up its sleeve.
The Vol offense has gone bye-bye since the loss of QB Tyler Bray to a broken thumb, but the defense is good enough to give the Hogs a push and ruin a potential dream season. Being the best 0-6 team in SEC history isn’t a distinction Tennessee might like, but without an Arkansas meltdown, that’s what it might be.
Why Tennessee Might Win: Arkansas isn’t doing a good enough job of turning drives into points. The Hogs stopped South Carolina cold while rolling up 435 yards of total offense, but the dominated Gamecocks were up 30-28 midway through the fourth. Ole Miss is awful, but it stayed alive down seven late in the third and pulled within five with under two minutes to play in the fourth before Arkansas held on. There’s a chance the Hogs are playing down – or up – to their competition way too much lately.
Tennessee’s secondary has done a terrific job despite the lack of a pass rush to help the cause. The Vols haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer all year – although Alabama came up with 294 – and they stuffed South Carolina for just 87 yards and allowed a mere 146 against LSU and 227 to Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Stop the Arkansas home runs, and the offense slows down. However ...
Why Arkansas Might Win: It’s not like the Tennessee secondary has faced a slew of good passing attacks. Murray didn’t have too many problems for the Dawgs, and Florida’s John Brantley, when he was still operational, managed to get a few big plays out of his backs and midrange targets. There haven’t been too many home-run hitters on the slate, and the Tennessee defensive backs are about to be in for a whole new world.
The Vol offense has managed just 16 points in its last three SEC games, and since losing Bray, has scored 28 points in conference action. Arkansas averaged 38 points per game. The Hog defense is hardly a brick wall, but it’s not going to take too much to keep the score low. If Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson can get a few early scores on the board, it’s over. Tennessee doesn’t have any passing game to mount a comeback against a secondary allowing just 199 yards per game.
What To Watch Out For: Arkansas senior Jarius Wright has made himself into a no-brainer First Team All-SEC selection. He lit up Texas A&M for 281 yards and two scores on 13 catches, but he didn’t do much in SEC action until the last two weeks, ripping up Vandy for ten catches for 135 yards and a score, and rolling up 103 yards and two scores on just four catches against South Carolina. He only has 48 catches on the year, but he’s scored nine times and is averaging 17 yards per catch.
Tennessee sophomore Da’Rick Rogers is doing what he can to be the team’s No. 1 target, but he’s not getting much help from his quarterbacks since Bray went down. After rolling for 100 yards or more in three of his first four games with six touchdowns, he went four straight games without getting into the end zone and was non-existent at times. Last week he finally got hot against catching nine passes for 137 yards and a score against Middle Tennessee.
What Will Happen: Tennessee will be back to having its normal SEC problems scoring. Arkansas won’t be great, but it’ll do just enough to get up in the first half and won’t be threatened in the second. However, like the South Carolina game, it’ll take a bit too long to put it away.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 31 … Tennessee 16
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Arkansas -14.5 O/U: 55
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