Texas faces Arkansas on Monday night at NRG Stadium in a highly anticipated matchup between old Southwest Conference rivals. As the rivalry is rekindled here are five things to know to understand the Razorbacks:
The defense is snout
Statistically this is the best defense the Longhorns have faced all season in many major aspects. The Razorbacks have allowed the same amount of points per game (20) as TCU but the Horned Frogs defensive numbers benefit from their 48-10 romp of the Longhorns.
Arkansas’ defense only allows 345 yards per game, which is three less yards than the Longhorns, and 15 less yards than the best defense Texas has faced thus far TCU.
In sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes’ first 11 games for the Longhorns, four of Texas’ five victories were against the four worst defenses the Longhorns faced all season. Against the top scoring defenses (Kansas State, TCU, Baylor, OU) on the schedule the Texas offense woefully underperformed with the lone exception coming against Oklahoma when Texas scored 26 to the Sooners’ overage of 25 allowed per contest.
The Hogs have the top pass defense the Longhorns face this season, but will be without two defensive backs, senior cornerback Cornell Washington and junior safety Rohan Gaines due to a violation of team rules.
In similar fashion to his philosophy at Wisconsin, Bret Bielema’s squad is a run-first team in contrast to most of offenses Texas has faced this season. The Razorbacks boast two 1,000-yard rushers in junior running back Jonathan Williams and sophomore running back Alex Collins.
But similar to Texas’ offensive troubles against better defenses the Razorbacks have achieved most of their success against lower-tier defenses, with their only 200 yard rushing game of conference play coming against Texas A&M.
The Longhorns are 1-3 when they surrender 200 or more yards on the ground, while the Razorbacks are 4-1 when they hit the plateau.
They don’t look like a 6-6 team
Arkansas had dropped 17 straight SEC games entering a Nov. 15 showdown with No.20 LSU. While the Hogs played Alabama to within a point and Mississippi State within a score, it was hard to imagine the Razorbacks would end their losing skid against the Tigers.
However, not only did Arkansas do just that they did so in shutout fashion then followed the performance with a 30-0 thrashing of No.8 Ole Miss. The wins are testament to the players buying into Bielema’s system and that the Hogs appear to be the best 6-6 team in college football.
Of the 11 Power-Five conference teams that entered their bowl games with a 6-6 record, of which the Razorbacks have the highest point differential for the season of 141 more points scored than allowed (the next highest is Pitt which scored 73 more than it allowed).
Struggle to win away from home
The Razorbacks are 3-16 outside of Fayetteville since the start of the 2012 season including a 2-12 mark outside their home state. However, the last time they won multiple games out of Arkansas was 2011, which included two wins in the state of Texas, one of which was in their bowl. With a win over Texas Tech in Lubbock already under its belt, Arkansas looks to finish in similar out of state fashion.
Beware of the first quarters of each half
The Razorbacks outscored opponents 202-76 in the opening quarters of each half this season, scoring 68 points in the third frame in which the Longhorns only mustered 23 points.
However, nearly 70 percent of Arkansas’ points allowed have been scored in the second and fourth quarter, in contrast to Texas scores over 70 percent of its points in those two quarters.