The Ole Miss Rebels (8-2) will head to Fayetteville Saturday for an important SEC matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks (5-5). The game is important for both teams. The Rebels hope to continue their SEC divisional title run with a win over the Razorbacks. If they can win out the rest of the regular season, and a loss by Alabama, Ole Miss will be heading to Atlanta. The Razorbacks are looking for a win to become bowl eligible for the first time under the Bret Bielema era.
The Razorbacks are not a push over SEC team that everyone has grown accustom to over the past couple of seasons. This season, the Razorbacks have had close matchups against Mississippi State, Alabama, and Texas A&M. Just last weekend, they picked up their first SEC win in two years after shutting out the LSU Tigers. Saturday’s game is expected to be a close matchup, due to Arkansas’ consistency in keeping games close against tough SEC opponents. The Rebels certainly hold a 3.5 spread over the Razorbacks in the latest Vegas betting odds. The Rebels and Razorbacks will kickoff their game at 2:30 p.m. CST and can be watched on CBS. If you’re not heading to Fayetteville to watch the game live, be sure to stop by the site during the game for open discussion in our live blog feed.
Each week, our Ole Hotty Toddy staff reaches out to other Fansided Network sites to get the latest scoop on the opposing team. In this week’s Q&A article, we reached out to Chase Foster, co-editor of Razorbackers.com, and asked him to give us insight on the Arkansas Razorbacks. In our Q&A interview with Chase, he discussed the morale of Arkansas fans, the keys to success for Arkansas, Arkansas players that Ole Miss should watch, and his prediction of the game. He also points out that he believes the weather could play a factor in this game.
Below is our one-on-one interview with Chase. Chase also had some questions for us about the Ole Miss Rebels, you can check out our answers here. You can follow Chase on Twitter @chasefoster17, and you can also follow Razorbackers’ site Twitter account @razorbackers. Be sure to leave your feedback in the comment section below.
Ole Hotty Toddy: Now that Bret Bielema has broken the barrier with his first ever SEC win, how is the morale of the Hog fanbase? Do fans see this win as a gateway for Arkansas to compete in the west?
"Razorbackers: The Arkansas fan base is completely behind head coach Bret Bielema. The first SEC win over LSU obviously helped, but Razorback Nation has supported Bielema since day one. It’s clear the Hog faithfuls have seen how close we’ve been in each of the games this season, and I would say we’ve competed all season long in the SEC West, despite the 1-5 record. Arkansas is hands down the best 5-5 team in the country."
Nov 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen (10) hands the ball off to Arkansas Razorbacks running back Jonathan Williams (32) during the first half at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
OHT: Arkansas has established a very effective run game. What kind of impact can Jonathan Williams make in this game?
"Razorbackers: Jonathan Williams is the make or break player for the Hogs on offense. Williams is a tough runner that typically isn’t taken down by one tackler. I would suggest that the Rebels gang tackle and don’t let Williams get in the open field."
OHT: Well all know the run game will be Arkansas’ plan, but what are some other keys to success for the Hogs against this Rebel defense?
"Razorbackers: TIGHT ENDS! I can’t stress keying on the tight ends enough. Arkansas is definitely a run heavy offense, but we aren’t scared to throw in a play action pass and dump short ones to tight ends Hunter Henry and A.J. Derby. Henry could be our most gifted athlete by position."
OHT: How good is this Arkansas defense? How will the secondary matchup against the talented Rebel receivers?
"Razorbackers: The Arkansas defense is significantly better than a season ago, but I wouldn’t say great. Our run defense is a ruthless, shear force to be reckoned with, but there are some holes in the young secondary. The Hogs are susceptible to the big play and I really think Ole Miss could attack us down field."
Nov 1, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Justin Cox (9) attempts to break up a pass intended for Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry at Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs defeat the Razorbacks 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
OHT: Which players on offense and defense should the Rebels watch out for the most?
"Razorbackers: Offense: Again, I’ll have to state Hunter Henry as a player to watch for. Henry is an excellent blocker that will disguise himself and slip into the open to catch passes. He’s also a nightmare match up for linebackers trying to cover him in the open field.Defense: Trey Flowers!!! He’s a senior defensive end wanting to end his career at home the right way. Top ten in school history in sacks and leads the SEC in tackles for a loss….I would say double team this guy, but then you’re opening up lanes for linebacker Martrell Spaight and defensive tackle Darius Philon. Hint, max protection!"
OHT: Ole Miss is currently a 3.5 point favorite in this game. It is expected to be close. If you ask a Rebel fan, they would tell you there is now way we’re losing this one. How do Arkansas fans feel about their odds of an upset?
"Razorbackers: I would say a 3.5 favorite is a very fair line because it’s in Fayetteville. Arkansas fans will be in full force this weekend. If I were a Rebel fan, I’d pray we don’t get that rain that’s in the forecast. If this becomes a running game, I truly believe this game is 50/50; just ask LSU fans."
OHT: Arkansas is one win away from becoming bowl eligible. Do you see this as the year for Arkansas to play in the postseason? Or, is year three of the Bielema era the year for the Hogs?
"Razorbackers: Many fans, including myself, do think it’s bowl time in 2014. With the dominating performance against LSU, the doubts have diminished and the confidence is back for many Arkansas players and fans."
OHT: What’s your prediction of the game with a final score?
"Razorbackers: The weather could play a huge factor in the outcome of this game. If the conditions become sloppy, I’d predict another low scoring game. Rebels 13 – Hogs 10"