In spite of their overtime loss to the UL-Monroe Warhawks and the epic fall in the rankings that followed it, the Arkansas Razorbacks should still be considered dangerous. This weekend, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide come into Little Rock for what was at one time considered a major SEC conference game. The thing is, it still might be.
The distinction between how the Razorbacks’ offense functioned when starting quarterback Tyler Wilson was playing and when he wasn’t was incredibly clear to see and painful to watch this past Saturday. Wilson suffered a head injury after several big hits in the first half and ended up sitting out the entire second half of the loss. He is still day-to-day and is uncertain for this Saturday’s game against the Tide.
Wilson threw for a school-record amount of yardage in a season opener over Labor Day weekend and built a 21-7 lead while in the huddle this past Saturday. Without Wilson, the offense was able to put together a scoring drive right away in the second half, but then went ice cold. The only points for the Razorbacks after that opening drive was a field-goal in overtime.
If Wilson is able to get on the field at 100% on Saturday, it would make a huge difference in what kind of offense the Tide will be facing, even if backup Brandon Allen has had a week to get more acquainted with running the offense by that time.
Another thing to remember is that teams that get upset and follow that with a game at home play one of two ways: pissed off & angry about the upset or still showing signs of depression over the upset. Considering the Razorbacks’ loss was at home, redemption may play a larger part in motivating them than the fact that the team walking into their backyard is ranked #1 in the country. Both are great reasons to get motivated to play a football game and either will due.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide won’t be coming into this game in pristine condition either.
Jalston Fowler, a backup Tide running back, appears to be lost for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury in the fourth quarter of this past Saturday’s game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Fowler may be a backup, but his loss is one of several things hurting the depth of the Tide’s running game. A starter in the backfield, Eddie Lacy already has had injury issues and those contributed to him missing all of spring practice this year. Take away Lacy and Fowler, and the Tide are left with only freshmen in the backfield. One of them, T.J. Yeldon, has really impressed thus far, but to have them potentially carry the fate of the Tide’s running game on the road could be asking a lot from an inexperienced group.
And let’s not forget one last thing: the last time the Tide came to Little Rock, they needed a big fourth quarter comeback to escape an upset. Maybe that isn’t a premonition of things to come, but maybe it is something to remember as Saturday approaches.