Arkansas Razorbacks Football Schedule Preview: September

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Yep, it's that time again. Let's get a little more familiar with Arkansas' 2013 opponents.

With the opening of fall camps all across the country, the 2013 college football season has officially begun, and it's about time. There is an evident buzz around the Arkansas football program that has fans excited, and rightfully so. With Bret Bielema as the Hogs' new leader there is now a strong sense of leadership and control that was missing the entire 2012 season.

Over the next few weeks, I will breakdown each month of Arkansas' tough schedule game-by-game. This week, I will preview the Aug. 31 season opener and the September schedule to help you better know your foe.

Let's do it.

Game #1: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (August 31)

If you're expecting a season opening cupcake, the Ragin' Cajuns are not it. Coming off a solid 9-4 season (6-2 in Sun Belt) in 2012 and a second straight New Orleans Bowl win, expectations are high in Lafayette.

Things to know:

- Louisiana-Lafayette is the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference by several media outlets, including USA Today, CBS, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.

- QB Terrance Broadway is among 30 quarterbacks named to the Manning Award watch list, and among 34 quarterbacks named to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list.

- ULL is winless all-time in four meetings with Arkansas.

Key players:

QB Terrance Broadway – A dual threat quarterback tabbed as an All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention in 2012 after rushing for 861 yards, 9 TDs, and passing for 2,842 yards and 17 TDs.

RB Alonzo Harris – Looking to continue the hot streak he ended on in 2012, rushing for over 100 yards in each of his last four games. For the season, he rushed for 914 yards and 10 TDs.

WR Jamal Robinson – The Ragin' Cajuns big-play receiver. Robinson led the team with a 24 yard/catch average in 2012. He is the top returning target for Broadway after amassing 630 yards and 3 TDs last season. Robinson also blocked a kick on special teams.

LB Justin Anderson – Returns for his senior year with ULL after leading the team in tackles in 2012 with 105 (no other defensive player had more than 75 tackles). Anderson ended his 2012 campaign with six games of 10+ tackles and could pose a serious threat to the Arkansas running attack.

Game #2: Samford Bulldogs (Sept. 7 in Little Rock)

In an attempt to not repeat the meltdown in Little Rock against ULM, Arkansas has scheduled FCS opponent Samford for its second game. Samford finished tied for 5th in the Southern Conference in 2012, posting a 7-4 mark overall (5-3 SoCon).

Things to know:

- 2013 marks the first time Arkansas and Samford meet.

- Samford is located in Birmingham, Alabama.

- Kentucky defeated Samford 34-3 LAST SEASON.

Key returning players:

RB Fabian Truss – Tabbed an FCS First Team All-American kick returner by Phil Steele. Truss rushed for 1,063 yards and 11 TDs in 2012 and also caught 35 passes for 291 yards. At the conclusion of last season, he was also named 2nd team All-SoCon.

WR Kelsey Pope – Led the Bulldogs in receiving the past two seasons. In 2012, Pope caught 68 passes for 552 yards and 4 TDs. He has been tabbed as a 3rd team FCS All-American by Phil Steele.

DB Taquiski Tartt – The Bulldogs top defensive player. Named FCS First Team All-American as a safety by Phil Steele. Tartt led Samford in tackles in 2012 (94) and tallied four interceptions.

Game #3: Southern Mississippi (Sept. 14)

Southern Mississippi suffered one of its worst seasons in school history in 2012, finishing 0-12. 2013 isn't showing much promise, either. The Golden Eagles are losing their top rusher, top 2 passing QBs and top WR from a poor offense in 2012. With a tough schedule this year wins will be few and far between.

Things to know:

- The Golden Eagles played 6(!) QBs in 2012, combining for just 9 TDs.

- Like Samford, this will be Arkansas' first meeting with Southern Miss.

- Selected to finish 5th in East division in Conference USA.

Key returning players:

RB Jalen Richards – Second leading rusher in 2012.

WR Justin Sims – Third on team in receiving yards per game in 2012 (24.5).

LB Alan Howze – Top returning tackler from 2012 (66 tackles, 2.5 sacks).

DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches – 2013 First Team All-Conference USA DL.

Game #4: at Rutgers (Sept. 21)

In the first ever meeting between these two schools in 2012, Rutgers came into Fayetteville and stole one from Arkansas despite Cobi Hamilton's record setting night. Both teams have gone through changes since the last meeting with both teams losing key offensive players.

Things to know:

- Lost top running back Jawan Jamison

- Scarlet Knights selected to finish 3rd in American Athletic Conference.

- WR Brandon Coleman named to Biletnikoff Award watch list.

- Lost to Virginia Tech in Russell Athletic Bowl 13-10 in OT last season.

- Lost 7 players to the NFL Draft

Key returning players:

WR Brandon Coleman – Scarlet Knights go-to guy. Caught 43 passes for 718 yards and 10 TDs in 2012. At 6'5", Coleman is a matchup problem for any defense.

LB Jamal Merrell and DL Jamil Merrell – Havoc wreaking twins. Jamal is Rutgers' top returning tackler from 2012 (83), and Jamal is the team's 2012 sack leader (5.5).

Game #5: Texas A&M (Sept. 28)

The Aggie's season depends on the findings (or lack thereof) in the Johnny Manziel autograph fiasco. With Manziel at QB, the sky is the limit for A&M, highlighted by the Sept. 14 matchup vs Alabama, which will have major national title implications. Without him, what were high expectations for A&M's second SEC season are immediately diminished.

Things to know:

- Aggies won 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl (def. Oklahoma 41-13)

- Defeated Arkansas 58-10 in 2012

- Marks first game of tough four game stretch against preseason Top 10 opponents for Arkansas

- Preseason #6 in the country

Key returning players:

QB Johnny Manziel – The reigning Hesiman Trophy winner is looking to build on 2012 and trying to become the first repeat Manning Award winner. Manziel led the Aggies with 393 yards of offense/game last year.

WR Mike Evans – Started all 13 games in 2012 as a freshman, leading the team in receptions (83) and receiving yards (1,105). He was also second on the team in TD receptions with five. Evans will be Manziel's main target.

DB Deshazor Everett – A junior saftey that played significant time in 2012. Everett finished last season tied for the team lead in interceptions (2). He also tallied seven pass break-ups and nine deflections.

RB Ben Malena – Senior running back that finished second on team in rushing in 2012 with 826 yards and 8 TDs. Malena will more than likely split carried with three other backs (FR Trey Williams, Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams, and Oregon transfer Tra Carson).

Results:

After breaking down the first month of games, I have Arkansas finishing the month of September 4-1.

Wins: Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford, Southern Miss, Rutgers

Losses: Texas A&M

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