Arkansas heads to Columbia the day after turkey day with the opportunity to ruin Missouri's season. What better reason to put together another dominating performance from the defense than to end Missouri's run? Sure I think it would be great to have the usual game vs LSU on thanksgiving, but this year other than adding to a Bowl resume and re capturing the boot there would not be quite as much motivation. Ending the Tigers shot at an SEC title would be a pretty great way to round out the regular season.
Game plan with BA or Game plan with AA:
Austin Allen: The Play calling was limited when Austin came in against Ole Miss. I liked the use of JWill in the WIldhog as a way to change it up, and I believe we will see a lot of that if Austin is forced to play significant snaps.
Missouri defensive line: As Adam Ford pointed out in his advanced stats, Missouri is statistically a top 10 team in rushing defense, and with the combination of Shane Ray and Markus Golden lead the SEC in sacks. A big part of the succes stopping the run is attributed to avoiding the top rushing teams in the SEC of Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama and LSU. Missouri was thouroughly blown out by Georgia, the #2 team in the SEC in rushing, and I think Arkansas will be able to move the ball with success.
The big question will be whether BA is healthy enough to stay in the game, and what limitations will he have. If he is not very mobile it may be difficult to convert the inevitable 3 and 6+ with some of the line games that Missouri likes to run on passing downs.
In this play Shane Ray uses his superior quickness to beat the Tennessee line inside. Looks a lot like what Georgia did, heres hoping there is a better plan in place this week.
Arkansas Defense vs Missouri Offense:
The Missouri offense will try to attack the middle of the Arkansas Defense. #21 Bud Sasser is third in the SEC with 56 catches and 9 TDS. He is mostly an outiside vertical threat, but can be used inside. Teams must play him with outside leverage to take away the deep ball. The route by the TE to the flat draws the safety up leaving the middle of the field open.
Early in the season the Arkansas Defense struggled to cover the same concept against Auburn and A&M. Ole Miss had some fleeting success before shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers, but I have to believe Missouri will test the Safeties early and get a read on how much the linebackers are biting on playaction.
Maty Mauk excels at checkdowns versus pressure, so it may be a scenario where Robb Smith will not call a lot of his pressure packages and try to keep Mauk in his progressions.
What to watch when not watching the ball:
Rohan Gaines: This guy has really been a wrecking machine the last few weeks, and somewhere in Columbia right now a WR is watching film of him blowing up a WR or Running back over the middle. (Not to mention the 100 yrd int return) Try to watch how he plays over the top of Sasser and whether that rotation opens up anything else.
Missouri Dline vs Arkansas Oline: Arkansas struggled against the quicker Dline of Georgia. Adding a back to the protection scheme and using more movement of the pocket kept LSU and Ole Miss from using their quickness. What the matchup of Dan Skipper and Ray on passing downs to see whether a TE is kept in or a back is shifted to his side.
The 2014 season is winding down, another win against another #17 ranked could be immeasurable in recruiting and out of season motivation. Whoever gets thrown in front of Arkansas down the road in a bowl game will end up being a big game as well but the implications on the outcome of the SEC East basically comes down to this game.
Arkansas has a lot to be thankful for this season and an SEC road win in Columbia would be icing on the cake. Go Hogs.