After the first joyous Saturday for Hog fans in quite some time, the good times could very well continue to roll as a depleted Kentucky team limps in to town. If last week's match-up against Auburn presented two last place units, this week two of the SEC's most wounded teams will go at it in the Battle of the Battered, the War of the Wounded, the...game in which both teams have sustained a substantial amount of injuries.
"We've had enough injuries for two or three teams." John L said earlier this week. As if we need to be reminded of our injury woes, here's a quick rundown: Tank Wright is done as a Razorback after season ending shoulder surgery, Alonzo Highsmith is out for the season with an ankle injury, Kiero Small and Kody Walker are done, not to mention All-SEC tight end Chris Gragg is still day-to-day, along with a depleted secondary that has taken losses all year, though Tevin Mitchell is set to return this week. The Wildcats may be even worse off. Kentucky will be without 2 quarterbacks, including starter Max Smith, 2 running backs, and 3 starters in the secondary come Saturday. Couple that with the fact that they rank near the bottom in every statistical category on either side of the ball, the Razorbacks could be in for a field day this weekend.
Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton could be in for another record setting day, and even though the offense put up 27 points, it was a bit of an off day for the unit overall. Tyler only threw for 216 yards without a score, and missed field goals and several miscues stifled the hot offense in the second half. If the offense can get back on track and we can find someone to hold on to a damn punt (we could be fielding a lot of punts Saturday) the offense could explode for a big day. Dennis Johnson got the majority of the carries (finally) but word is Knile Davis will get more carries against Kentucky, who allow 187 ypg. Maybe the Hogs can find a 100 yard rusher this week?
Even more exciting is that we could get a glimpse of that impressive Razorback defense again. After forcing 5 turnovers (3 more than the season total prior to kickoff Saturday) and recording 8 sacks (nearly doubling the season total prior to kickoff) the defense put on a masterful performance. No matter how horrible the opponent is, numbers like those are pretty good against anyone, especially for a defense that ranked in the cellar of both categories. The Wildcats have accounted for 329.2 ypg with equally bad rushing and passing games. If the Hogs keep bringing the pressure, they could rack up some more sacks, and continue to improve that dreadful turnover margin, which improved from -13 to -10 last week, still terrible, but improved.
We've not had this type of week in what seems like forever. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, food tasted a little better, the radio shows...well I didn't listen to them this week, but I imagine they were much more pleasant to hear. Next week could be another good one leading into the bye week, where there's no chance of a loss! Think about it, we could go three straight weeks without enduring an unraveling, implossive Razorback loss. Both teams are proverbial wounded animals, and we'll see Saturday night which one attacks more fiercly when backed into a corner. Hopefully, against these Wildcats, for the sake of pride, we should not be forced into a corner of any kind. Let's establish a winning streak!