How goes it, Hog fans? I want to apologize about last week’s Feral Swine Headline hiatus, I was kept busy at work by a Mumford and Sons festival that brought an extra city of people into my small Florida town. However, Mumford week is gone and Rutgers week has arrived, so without further ado, let’s get started.
This week is a little more than just Arkansas’ first test of the season. This game could be, for the Arkansas faithful at least, a shot at a little redemption.
Recall, if you will, were you were that fateful night. I was at my uncle’s house in Bryant, admiring those new shiny white helmets and keeping yet another optimistic mindset going into another game that, as we all know, did not payoff. By the time the clock reached all zeros, some things had happened that just don’t happen with an SEC team.
First, Cobi Hamilton broke the SEC record for receiving yards in a game by hauling in 10 catches for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yeah, that was pretty cool, but that was about all that went right for us.
I guess the foul taste of losing to a then-Big East team was a little diluted from having already lost to a Sun Belt team a few weeks before…and every one in between, nevertheless it was a loss that didn’t quite sit well with Hog fans all over.
Perhaps it was kind of an exclamation point on the season we had or were doomed to have. If all hope wasn’t gone before then, it sure was afterward.
Yet, here we stand a season later heading into New Jersey with a different feel. Arkansas is undefeated, they lead the SEC in rushing (Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams sit atop the conference rankings with 418 yards and 393 yards respectively), there hasn’t been a "SMILE" speech, I don’t know, it just feels different.
Although, one reoccurrence from last year is that our starting quarterback is "day-to-day" and that week ended in blood and tears, but the good news is that Gary Nova, Rutgers’ QB isn't a lock for the game either. What we can look forward to is maybe some spectacular ball carrying, from both teams.
We are all too aware by now of the aptly named "Budda and the Beast" tandem of Collins and Williams, but the NCAA’s leading rusher is enrolled up in Piscataway. Paul James is a redshirt sophomore and former walk-on who leads the nation in rushing yards with 493. Pit their 5th ranked rush defense against Budda and the Beast, and you’ve got yourself some good old fashioned smash mouth football to look forward to.
For us Hog fans, we may have more to look forward to with our size advantage along the fronts. Grady Ollison is the lone Arkansas offensive lineman under 300 lbs. Rutgers’ heaviest defensive lineman is 282 lb. It could be a factor, maybe not. If so, this year we will be able to do what SEC teams do against former Big East teams.
A win this week would be a taste of revenge from the pain of the Johnelle era; it would also match last year's win total leaving us with two games to claim bowl eligibility. That would be great heading into the "gauntlet" coming up, however, a loss here makes a win at any point in said gauntlet seem nearly impossible. A lot is on the line this week, folks, be sure to tune in.
Kickoff is 2:30 pm CT and the game will be aired on ESPN.