After losing the first game of their three game road trip, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles will travel to Little Rock, Ark. to face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks will be the first SEC opponent for the Eagles since 2010, when the Eagles lost to South Carolina.
The Eagles tried rebounding from their week one defeat, but just simply couldn’t get it done against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, losing 56-13.While the Eagles are coming off a loss, the Razorbacks just had their second victory of the season.
The Razorbacks beat the Samford Bulldogs 31-21, in what should have been a much more lopsided win against an FCS opponent. The Razorbacks tallied 458 total yards, including 333 yards on the ground.
The Razorbacks have the best rushing attack in the SEC, led by freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams. Against the Bulldogs, the two combined for 298 yards on the ground.
For the Eagles, it will surely be a challenge to keep Arkansas’ talented running back tandem in check. After struggling mightily on defense against Nebraska, head coach Todd Monken knows it will be a challenge to stop the Razorbacks’ offense.
“It’s interesting. Jim Chaney, runs their offense, does, I think, a great job. You talk about a guy that’s… I mean he can change spots,” Monken said referring to the dynamic Razorbacks’ scheme on offense.
“He is a chameleon,” Monken said. “Last year at Tennessee they were no huddle and throwing it around and had really good success. And this year he comes to work with (Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema) and they’re running what they did at Wisconsin.”
Southern Miss will try to get their own run game going, which has so far this season, been a huge disappointment for the Eagles. They have the second worst running game in the country with only 85 total rushing yards so far this year.
“It’s been terrible. I don’t know what to tell you,” Monken said addressing what has been an absent running game this season.
USM will have to execute their running game if they expect to move the ball on an above-average Razorbacks’ defense. The Razorbacks have only allowed 505 total yards this year, which is ranked sixth overall in the SEC.
“What you don’t see on tape is a lot of explosive plays. You see some games where they turn guys loose but, for the most part, they force you to drive the ball and that’s a sign of a really good defense,” Monken said about the Razorbacks’ defense.
“We’re going to have to do a good job of executing and finishing off drives with touchdowns.”
The Eagles will have to focus on evening out the time of possession against the Razorbacks which has been an aspect the Golden Eagles have struggled with. The Razorbacks have averaged 36 minutes on offense this year, compared to the Eagles’ 26.
The Razorbacks will be a difficult opponent for the Eagles to get their first win against, especially in a loud stadium like Razorback Stadium. The Golden Eagles will definitely be put to the test against one of the premiere SEC programs.