You would expect the ranked team in a November matchup between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Liberty Flames to be the Hogs. That is not the case here, however, with the 7-1 Flames sitting at No. 23 in the polls and the 5-3 Razorbacks on the outside looking in.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to an Arkansas victory over the Liberty Flames:
Be Ready For Two Quarterbacks
Liberty is no joke, and they have their No. 23 ranking for a reason. Their 41-14 beatdown of BYU the week before their bye last weekend was mighty impressive, and their one defeat is to a Wake Forest team (by a single point) that is as good as anyone in the ACC other than Clemson. They have played three quarterbacks this season – former Tennessee player Kaidon Salter was hurt early in the year and is still out – but in Charlie Brewer (formerly of Baylor and Utah) and Johnathan Bennett, they have a pair of quarterbacks that can run, pass, and make plays. Expect both to play and each to test the Arkansas defense slightly differently.
Stop Dae Dae Hunter
As well as the quarterbacks – especially Bennett – have played, this is an offense that works through the play of running back Dae Dae Hunter. Liberty coach Hugh Freeze knows a thing or two about the SEC, and he is convinced Hunter could have been a star in the league. He has almost 1,000 all-purpose yards on the season and nine touchdowns, working as a running back with breakaway speed and a solid pass catcher out of the backfield. Stopping Hunter will make Liberty one-dimensional.
Be Ready For A Shootout
Liberty’s offense has rolled all year long. Arkansas has scored 93 points in its last two games, and KJ Jefferson seems to be playing injury free. I like the Hogs’ balance on offense when Jefferson spreads the ball around. Raheim Sanders went off against Auburn – he had over 10 yards per carry – because the Tigers’ defense couldn’t key on just him. If the offense has the balance it needs, then Arkansas wins this is a high-scoring shootout.