Arkansas 2021 soccer preview: the primary six video games
I blinked, and 10 years of half-cocked Hog soccer prognostication simply got here and went.
My first Pearls About Swine dates again to 2011, after I broke down what ended up being probably the most profitable Arkansas staff I’d find yourself analyzing. These Hogs —affectionately dubbed “The Final of the Petrinos” — largely honored my preseason projections and went 11-2, successful a Cotton Bowl as punctuation.
I’ve needed to be rather less sunnier in preseasons since, and whiffed badly at occasions after I’ve dared be optimistic. If I began out Norman Vincent Peale, I had turned Cormac McCarthy by the tip of the kids.
I’m happy to say that each one hells of the world however, I write from a extra balanced place each August now. Sam Pittman’s level-headed and proper for the job, however he’s dealing with the ever-long odds of a beastly schedule and a roster that’s all the time a few blue-chips shy of nationwide creditworthiness. That’s the storyline in 2021 as Arkansas brings a reassembled and bettering roster to the sector, however the hardest slate of video games within the free world modifications the gradient of our expectations a bit.
With out additional ado:
Rice (Sept. 4) – The outdated SWC foe was a little bit of an afterthought then, and now performs the function of appetizer. The Owls’ COVID-curtailed 2020 slate gave them solely 5 video games to indicate their progress below head coach Mike Bloomgren. They received two, together with a stunning street shutout of No. 15 Marshall in December, and competed effectively in any other case. However there’s simply not sufficient firepower for Rice in a blazing-hot opener in Fayetteville, and fatigue and put on set in for the Owls within the third quarter as they provide up a run of 24 consecutive factors to a Hog offense carried by Trelon Smith’s three scores. Arkansas 43, Rice 22
Texas (Sept. 11) – Nobody appears to care about this one?! Simply kidding. LOL. And so on. Fayetteville will likely be an early epicenter for the school soccer world as an admittedly traditionally one-sided rivalry not solely renews, however presumably on an annual foundation with the Longhorns becoming a member of the Nice Geographically Amorphous Factor that the brand new SEC will likely be. The Horns are indoctrinating new QBs, a brand new head coach and an overhauled recruiting strategy. It received’t be a straightforward sport for them after they’ve needed to cope with Billy Napier’s typically disciplined Louisiana staff has been to Austin. Texas wins this one, however it’s a damned high-quality battle on the Hill till a fourth-quarter lengthy TD run for the Longhorns vanquishes a sport Hog staff paced by Treylon Burks’ Heisman assertion sport. Texas 37, Arkansas 27
Georgia Southern (Sept. 18) — Unfazed by the late faltering within the upset bid towards Texas, the Hogs play impressed ball towards the Eagles in a uncommon third consecutive sport in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The supportive crowd helps get the Hogs off to a quick begin with a De’Vion Warren kick return for a rating, and freshman tailbacks A.J. Inexperienced and Javion Hunt each get lengthy TD runs in prolonged appears to be like. Jefferson and Hornsby every throw a TD cross, and the Hogs roll their Solar Belt foe to heat up for SEC competitors. Arkansas 47, Georgia Southern 24
Texas A&M (at Arlington, Sept. 25) — The Aggies’ stout working sport smacks the Hog protection round a bit early en path to a 21-3 lead by halftime. The Hogs’ offense awakens out of the locker room for a Smith landing after which one other rating to make it aggressive. However the Southwest Basic once more goes to the Faculty Station nemesis, and the Ags run their document to a frustratingly clear 10-0 towards the Hogs in SEC video games. Nonetheless, once more the ultimate margin attracts the eye of nationwide pundits who respect the Hog protection responding and clamping down on Isaiah Spiller within the second half. Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 20
At Georgia (October 2) — Arkansas’s debilitating early slate continues with a real street sport at Athens. Kirby Good’s gifted squad erupts for 2 first-quarter scores and smells a rout, however the Hogs reply quietly with a late second quarter TD cross from Jefferson to Hudson Henry. The Hogs threaten once more to begin the second half however accept a Cam Liftle subject purpose to get inside 17-10, and it’s as shut as they’ll get. Georgia wears the Razorback entrance down with a fourth quarter flourish to run away with the sport late. The intense spot for the Hogs is a giant 20-tackle, two-sack sport from Grant Morgan. Georgia 34, Arkansas 17
At Ole Miss (October 9) — Ole Miss, keen to place apart a ghastly 2020 loss to the Hogs, scores a fast TD on Matt Corral’s scoring run. But the Hogs, shockingly contemporary for a staff that’s been via 5 powerful video games in 5 weeks, all of a sudden emerge on offense as Jefferson and Hornsby proceed to make performs with their legs and arms. The 2-headed monster produces 5 complete TDs and Smith is the beneficiary of a career-high 35 touches for over 200 complete yards. Night their document at 3-3 and successful the primary SEC sport of the season buoys the Hogs for a giant second half of the 12 months, which after all I’m gonna cliffhang my manner into the second half of the season prediction subsequent week. Arkansas 41, Ole Miss 27