SEC Predictions: Picking every game against the spread for Week 3

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Sep 13, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Alex Collins (3) scores a touchdown in front of Texas Tech Red Raiders safety Keenon Ward (15) and defensive back Justis Nelson (31) in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Date: Saturday September 19, 2015
  • Time: 7PM Eastern
  • Location: Fayetteville, AR
  • TV Channel: ESPN2
  • Spread: Arkansas -12
  • Over/Under Total: 69

One of our worst picks to date was last week’s prediction that Arkansas would cover a three-touchdown spread against Toledo. Of course, the Rockets won outright, which put a very dark cloud over the Arkansas football program this week. The Razorbacks suffered from two major factors in the horrific 16-12 loss: (1) injuries, and (2) losing their offensive identity. Oddly enough, those two factors could combine to get the Razorbacks back on track this week against Texas Tech.

The injuries started this summer, when running back Jonathan Williams suffered a foot injury that is expected to cost him the entire regular season. Though Williams is a star, his absence wasn’t expected to be overwhelming because Arkansas still had Alex Collins and Kody Walker in the backfield. However, the Hogs suffered even more losses last week against Toledo – including Walker, who missed the second half with a jammed thumb.

Also, Eric Hawkins was carted off the field in the fourth quarter. And on the final drive of the game, wide receiver Keon Hatcher also injured a foot and is expected to miss six weeks or more and tackle Denver Kirkland suffered an arm injury, but is likely to play Saturday. Linebacker Josh Williams and safety Josh Liddel were also banged up during the game, but should be ready for Saturday’s game, but Wednesday the team announced it had lost another wide receiver – Jared Cornelius – to another foot injury, for which he was scheduled to have surgically repaired. 

With so many names taking up space on the injury report, including two of the team’s best wide receivers, it would be wise for the Razorbacks to get back to the physical, downhill rushing attack that made them one of the most dangerous teams in college football at the end of 2014. Sure, Arkansas rolled up 515 yards and 30 first downs against Toledo – but they didn’t look like Arkansas doing it, and when push came to shove, the Hogs couldn’t score.

Quarterback Brandon Allen attempted 53 passes last week, and threw for 413 yards, but couldn’t find the end zone. Arkansas – who has arguably the best offensive line in the SEC – gained just 103 rushing yards on 31 carries against the Rockets. Expect those numbers to flip-flop this week against a Texas Tech squad that has allowed an average of 525 total yards and 290 rushing yards per game through he first two weeks of the season. And expect the Razorbacks to let out a little aggression Saturday in Fayetteville.

Next: Florida at Kentucky