Toledo Rockets vs. No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas is in unfamiliar territory. While the Razorbacks used to be considered a national power, they haven’t been dubbed as such in quite some time. With Bret Bielema leading the way at head coach, this program has taken on new life and things are looking up. Beginning the season in the Top 25, Arkansas proved worthy, ripping apart UTEP in week one.
Toledo is coming off a 9-4 season and playing its first game of the 2015 against Arkansas on Saturday evening. The Rockets might just be the best team in the MAC this season and they will definitely give the Razorbacks all they can handle in this one. By no means is this an easy win for the Razorbacks but, as always, the SEC opponent will have home-field advantage.
Details for Saturday’s game are below:
Date: Sept. 12
Start Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Little Rock, AR
Stadium: War Memorial Stadium
TV Info: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN app
Radio: For the Toledo radio affiliate, click here. For the Arkansas radio affiliate, click here.
Ticket Information: For Toledo ticket info, click here. For Arkansas ticket info, click here.
Keys to Victory
Arkansas’ week one victory was impressive, albeit against a much less talented team in UTEP at home. Senior quarterback Brandon Allen has improved each season since becoming the starter in 2013 and he had a great opener, completing 14-of-18 passes for 308 yards and four scores. However, he’s not the key in this one.
Bielema is a run-first type of coach and he has shown that since his days at Wisconsin. Losing star running back Jonathan Williams for the entire season back in mid-August had to hurt, but Alex Collins is just as capable. We all know Collins will get the job done in the backfield like he has done for years, but the Razorbacks will need another option back there such as freshman Rawleigh Williams.
As for Toledo, passing the ball might not be very wise against this vaunted defense, but neither will running the ball. It’s rare to say that the underdog will need to rely on defense to win, but that’s exactly the case in this one.
A year ago, the Rockets ranked 23rd in the country in passing yards allowed per game and they return three defensive backs to the starting unit this season. Stopping Brandon Allen would help significantly with their chances of winning — especially since Arkansas doesn’t have a solid No. 2 running back to lean on when Collins gets fatigued.
Worst case scenario for the Rockets? Rely on all-conference running back Kareem Hunt to attempt to run the ball down the Razorbacks’ throats.
Point Spread: Arkansas -21
Moneyline: Toledo +875, Arkansas -1300
Toledo will put up much more of a fight than many would expect from a MAC opponent that is traveling down south to face a SEC foe.
However, the game will get lopsided later on when Collins puts the team on his back and finishes with over 200 yards rushing. The Rockets’ front-seven returns just four starters from last year and they will be tested. Stopping the one-man wrecking crew in the run game won’t be as easy as they thought.
Final Score: Toledo 20, Arkansas 37
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