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STAT Watch: Arkansas

Using the advanced stats to take a deeper look at the Razorbacks

NCAA Football: Florida at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Well, when I did this post last week the advanced stats showed that Alabama was incredibly good at basically everything, especially on defense. It played out that way, as the Tide shut out LSU. They also indicated the one weakness of Alabama’s team was a lack of a passing attack and I said that’s where LSU needed to take advantage. They did, forcing Hurts to beat the downfield and sitting on his runs. Alabama only scored 10. Now we shift our focus to the Arkansas Razorbacks and see how they look in the stats.

This Season

A note on these stats: The offensive and defensive S&P+ marks are calculated as adjusted scoring averages and for the situational ratings, above 100 is good and below 100 is bad. Links to an explanation on the various stats here:

  • S&P+ (Percentile): 65.5% (46th in FBS)
  • Offensive S&P+: 33.0 (39th in FBS)
  • Offensive Rushing S&P+: 97.5 (83th in FBS)
  • Offensive Passing S&P+: 126.0 (16th in FBS)
  • Defensive S&P+: 28.0 (55th in FBS)
  • Defensive Rushing S&P+: 80.9 (125th in FBS)
  • Defensive Passing S&P+: 104.5 (48th in FBS)
  • FEI: .062 (44th in FBS)
  • F/+: 12.4% (46th in FBS)

The Razorbacks have not been great this year. On both sides of the ball their ground game has been very poor. Rawleigh Williams is a good back, but overall they’re pretty poor running the football. And on the defensive end, there are only three teams with worse rushing defenses than Arkansas. Since having a dominant defensive line back in 2014, the Razorbacks haven’t really been a force up front on D. They did shut down Florida from getting anything going last week, but this appears to be a weakness which LSU, with Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, should exploit. They’re better through the air on both sides of the ball, especially on offense where Austin Allen is one of the best QB’s in the SEC (perhaps the best now that Chad Kelly’s career is over). The defensive passing defense is not tremendous, but it’s serviceable and they’re going to try to capitalize on that if Danny Etling doesn’t play well. S&P+ has LSU as a 12-point favorite for this weekend and while I definitely could see that happening, there are a few X-factors that will be key. How is LSU mentally after a tough loss to Alabama? They haven’t been up for this game the last two years and went scoreless in Fayetteville two years ago. And of course, November Bert. Arkansas is 6-3 in their last nine November games under Bret Bielema and that includes FIVE wins over ranked teams. Something changes once this team hits the stretch run. We’ll see how those play into this game. The stats like the Tigers a lot this weekend though.