The Arkansas-Alabama match-up on Saturday provides the Razorbacks with a chance to pull off what could be the biggest upset of the 2020 college football season. Arkansas enters the game with a 3-6 record, while Alabama comes in at a perfect 9-0. This game has the potential to be one of the best games in college football this weekend. In the Razorbacks’ 50-48 loss at Missouri last week, quarterback KJ Jefferson stepped in for the injured Feleipe Franks and played surprisingly well. The freshman finished 18-of-33 passing for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
Though a starter has yet to be named for the game on Saturday, Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman has said this week that the team will evaluate Franks in practice and make a game-time decision on which quarterback to start. Both Jefferson and Franks could play, but only if Franks is healthy enough to play against the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
For Arkansas, earning a monumental win to move to 4-5 starts on offense. The Razorbacks average 414 yards of offense per game. The team put up a total of 566 yards in the two-point loss to Missouri. The questionable quarterback position will go a long way in determining whether the Hogs can keep up the pace with Alabama.
The running game for Arkansas has to be established early on. They average 159 rushing yards per game. Alabama’s defense allows 116 rushing yards per game for the season. Trelon Smith has to be effective on the ground I crucial situations for the Razorbacks when they have the ball.
On defense, Arkansas has to contain Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the pocket. The Crimson Tide’s senior leader is a strong Heisman Trophy candidate, and he torched LSU last week for 385 passing yards and four touchdowns in the 55-17 win in Baton Rouge. In the secondary, covering Devonta Smith deep down the field is key to stopping Alabama’s deep ball threat. But, the Razorbacks also have to be aware of Najee Harris in the running game. For the 2020 season, Arkansas is allowing 189 rushing yards per game. Harris has the ability to push near 200 yards any given week.
Arkansas Quarterback Situation
The big question entering Saturday is which quarterback will start under center for the Hogs. Franks has been the leader so far, but Jefferson stepped in and led the team to a near win and a stellar performance last week. The health of Franks is important, but if he is unable to play, Arkansas will be in good hands with the freshman earning his second straight start.
The Crimson Tide are great on defense in defending the pass. However, they have never faced Jefferson before. That could give Arkansas an advantage should he earn the start this week.
While this game is an 11 am kick, the Crimson Tide continue to roll no matter what time their game starts. Pittman has turned around the program in Fayetteville, but Arkansas consistently gives up big plays and too many points defensively.
The Razorbacks could keep it close for a while, but Alabama will pull away after the first half. Arkansas will fall to 4-6 on the season. Crimson Tide 52, Razorbacks 35.