Two words: Bowl eligible. Man it feels good to type that again. Sure, it’s only been a year since we were last trounced in a bowl game, but it’s a sure sign that things are moving in the right direction for Coach Bobby Petrino’s regime. Last week wasn’t even close to the possible trap game it could’ve been and we saw the Hogs dismantle Troy to the tune of 56-20. Ryan Mallett was, again, on fire and in the process set several Arkansas Razorbacks records. Mallett now ranks third in the country in QB rating and that puts him in pretty good company.
Mallett threw five touchdown passes last week — all to different players — and on top of that, he connected with 11 different receivers. Gang, this kid is good. Scary good. When a QB is targeting more than 3-4 main receivers, that means he’s looking at what the defense is giving him, going through his checks and finding the open guy. His completion percentage over the past three weeks is 80+% and his TD to INT ratio is 8 to 1. If he continues this type of play, there will be a LOT of talk about him opting for greener pastures, especially before the NFL rookie salary cap is adjusted in 2011.
Not only is Mallett performing well, but the entire offense is doing a bang-up job as of late. It’s well known that our stable of WRs are fantastic, but right on their heels is the RB group of Michael Smith, Broderick Green, Ronny Wingo Jr., Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis. I’ll be honest when I say that it’s weird to NOT have a guy that consistently runs for 100+ yards a game (actually, it’s weird to not have TWO players that do that for us a game). But you can definitely see that Petrino has a good system and each runner has their strengths. More importantly, each RB has a place on the team. I think the best thing about this bunch is that they’re unselfish and reports say they all cheer one-another on. If we can make some strides in the off-season in the OL, then next year we should roll. Big time.
That and we desperately need to improve on defense. Limiting Troy to 20 points was good, but our secondary continued to show it’s youth and inexperience by allowing 300+ yards passing and two TDs. Fortunately for us, we had 3 INTs, too. It’ll be good to have Willy Robinson back on the sideline, but again, he needs to have his team ready.
This week is a revenge week for Arkansas. Last year, while battling to become bowl eligible, we had Mississippi State on the ropes only to end up losing 31-28. A major reason the Bulldogs won — RB Anthony Dixon had almost 180 yards on the ground. The bad news is that Dixon is at it again this year. He’s already surpassed the 1,000 yard mark and is easily the heart of the team. The good news, that’s pretty much all Mississippi State has going for them. As a team, they’ve passed for a little over 1,500 yards with 7 TDs and 20 INTs. Think our secondary is excited? Speaking of, the Miss St. defense isn’t too much better than our own. They’re allowing 320+ yards and around 25 points a game. Things could be worse for the Hogs.
The one wild card this week is what’s at stake. Arkansas is already going bowling, so all we’re playing for is revenge and bettering our chances to go to the Cotton Bowl. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is in the exact same position as we were last year. They have two games left, and MUST win them both to become bowl eligible. The Bulldogs will come out swinging. It’ll be up to Mallett and the Razorbacks to punch back.
It’s the last home game of the season. If you’re in the Rock this weekend, go cheer our boys on.
So let’s get to the score predicting. Sassy’s Red House has once again stepped up to provide the prize for our weekly score-predicting contest. Whoever is closest gets some delicious BBQ for their tailgate party.
How to enter
Leave a comment with your name, e-mail address and score prediction. If you want to add anything else, feel free.
What you’ll win
A tailgating package for four (4) from Sassy’s Red House. More info here.
Check the rules page for all the details. Here’s the basics:
- You only may enter this specific contest once.
- The winning entry must pick the winning team and have the smallest combined difference from each team’s final score. More info here.
- You must pick the score by Saturday, November 21, at 11:05 am.
What’s gonna happen in this one, boys and girls?
Jonathan says: Bulldogs are the lamest mascot ever (sorry FHS, but it’s true). Why not the Deadly Doberman Pinschers or the Rabid Rottweilers? See how much cooler those names are? Bulldogs… Ha!
Arkansas 42, Mississippi State 28
Will Mallett go pro this year? Nah. One year as a starter and then go pro? If he wants to be a first rounder, I think he’d have to stick around another year. Then again, who knows?
Todd says: Hopefully we’ll get Courtney Fortson back sooner than later.
Arkansas 86, Appalachian State 55
Will Mallett go pro this year? You mean Rotnei? Wait, football? Oh, sorry.
Trip says: Joe Adams’ football genius impregnants all the ladies.
Arkansas 34, Mississippi State 20
Will Mallett go pro this year? Mallett, pro? Not after this year. If Arkansas puts together a good year next year, then it’s definately a possibility.
Seth says: There’s a picture of my girlfriend’s niece on my desk and her knee looks like it’s hyper-extended. I’m thinking it could be a cool party trick if she could do it on command.
Arkansas 38, Mississippi State 24
Will Mallett go pro this year? I have a bad feeling about this.
Dustin says: Hogs get their revenge on the Bulldogs. Bigtime.
Arkansas 49, Mississippi State 32
Will Mallett go pro this year? Man, every team in the NFL wants a 6’7″ quarterback with a riffle arm that makes good decisions and has played in a pro-style offense under a coach like Bobby Petrino. Every one of them. So I think it’s completely up to Ryan. He’d be a first round pick right now.
Thanks to Sassy’s Red House for sponsoring this contest. PIck up some BBQ on game day from their bulk menu. Go pick ’em!