1. Handle The Tempo
Arkansas faces another no-huddle offense and this one is expected to move at a quicker pace than its previous two opponents. So being prepared for Southern Miss’ tempo will be critical. Arkansas must line up quickly, pick up play calls and react.
2. Curb Mental Errors
Arkansas got a good look at what leads to losses last week. Two turnovers and a handful of costly and careless penalties put the Razorbacks in a tight spot. Cleaning up those types of mental mistakes has been an emphasis in practice this week.
3. Run, Run, Run
It’s no secret Arkansas’ run game will be key after the past two weeks. But staying on the field, chewing up yards and eating up clock could be especially vital today. It’s the best solution for keeping USM’s no-huddle from stressing Arkansas’ defense.
4. Force USM Mistakes
Southern Miss has been careless during its two games, committing an NCAA-high 10 turnovers. So Arkansas knows there’s a big opportunity to add to the frustrations. The Razorbacks didn’t force a turnover last week, but aim to make up for it today.
5. No Lulls
Arkansas started fast last week. The Razorbacks finished strong, too. But they struggled in between and it made the Samford game tighter than expected. The same can happen today if Arkansas fails to take control early and stay in charge.
TODAY’S KEY MATCHUP
Arkansas CB Tevin Mitchel (6-0, 180, Jr.)
Key Statistics: 8 tackles in 2013; 98 tackles, 1 INT in career
Mitchel and the Arkansas secondary will be busy with a Southern Miss offense planning to spread the field with four wide receivers. The Golden Eagles are expected to throw an array of quick passes and screens to the perimeter, leaving cornerbacks and safeties in their share of one-on-one tackling situations. But they’ll also test the Hogs vertically with big-play threat Rickey Bradley. Mitchel and his teammates know a big test awaits, but insist they are ready for the challenge.
Southern Miss WR Rickey Bradley (6-2, 204, Sr.)
Key Statistics: 10 catches, 250 yards, TD in two games
Rickey Bradley is in his first season with the program after transferring from Pearl River (Miss.) Community College. The redshirt senior has wasted no time showing he’s a talented player. Bradley has been pulled in USM’s three biggest plays this season (65, 59 and 41 yard catches) and ranks 13th in the nation in receiving yards a game (125.0). Bradley has teamed with freshman Tyre’Oune Holmes (20 catches, 161 yards) to form a duo that will keep Arkansas’ secondary on high alert.
EDGE: Arkansas CB Tevin Mitchel