1. Tackle well
1. Tackle well
MSU back Josh Robinson is like a bowling ball on legs, breaking tackles en route to big plays. QB Dak Prescott is a big, physical runner. Arkansas’ ability to tackle well and limit yards after contact will be critical to its success.
2. Ground game success
The Razorbacks pride themselves on a physical ground game, but there’s a harsh reality: Arkansas has tallied just 215 rushing yards in its past two SEC games. It’s no secret the Hogs must have more success to beat the Bulldogs.
3. Protect Brandon Allen
Arkansas’ QB spent most of the last SEC game picking himself up off the turf. He’ll do it again, if the offensive line doesn’t show much improvement. The Hogs believe it can sting MSU’s secondary. But only if Allen is given time.
4. Win turnover battle
MSU is plus-3 in turnover margin. Arkansas, meanwhile, is minus-3. The Razorbacks can’t afford a load of careless mistakes if it wants to end its 16-game SEC slide. But the defense has to do its part as well and take it away from the Bulldogs.
5. Start strong
The Bulldogs have never trailed in five of their seven games. They’ve played 420 minutes and have been behind only 7 minutes, 19 seconds. A strong start would benefit the Hogs, putting MSU in an uncomfortable position.
SATURDAY’S KEY MATCHUP
Arkansas LB Martrell Spaight
Key Statistics: 72 tackles, 5 TFLs
Spaight has become one of the SEC’s most productive linebackers in his second season with the Hogs. The senior is ranked second in the conference in tackles (9.0 a game), leading a defense allowing 353.0 yards. But Spaight and the rest of his teammates face their biggest test to date in Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott. The dual-threat quarterback has given opponents fits with his arm and legs this season. Arkansas’ ability to keep Prescott in check will determine its success.
MSU QB Dak Prescott
Key Statistics: 2,358 total yards, 26 TDs
Prescott has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy after recording four games with 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. He leads a high-powered Mississippi State offense ranked No. 1 in the SEC in total offense (531.4 yards) and No. 2 in scoring (42.3 points a game). Prescott, meanwhile, is fifth in the SEC in rushing yards a game (94.9) and sixth in passing (242.0). His command of MSU’s offense has turned the Bulldogs into a legitimate national title contender.
EDGE: MSU QB Dak Prescott