LITTLE ROCK — Uniquely qualified to Call the Hogs and support Spike the Bulldog, Samford University president Andrew Westmoreland was asked about Arkansas vs. his Birmingham-based team.
Encouraged to have fun with his answers, the man with a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas showed off.
Q: Were you proficient at calling the Hogs?
A: Is this a trick question?
Q: Would you admit to ever wearing a hog snout or a plastic hog head?
A: Yes, but only among friends.
Q: Were you one of those students who piled into a van with others and traveled to away games?
A: I tried to stay away from vans during college.
Q: Do you still have some Razorback paraphernalia?
A: Yes, but I’m a Samford Bulldog now. And proud of it.
Q: Any particular game or memory that stands out?
A: Certainly. December 6, 1969. Those of us who are old enough to remember it are still in therapy.
Born in Batesville in 1957, he qualifies. He checks the Razorback scores on Saturday night, but also monitors the team’s progress on his iPhone. Samford president since 2006, Westmoreland had nothing to do with arranging today’s game. That was the doing of coach Pat Sullivan and athletic director Martin Newton. “I stood on the sidelines and cheered the decision,” Westmoreland said.
He is unlikely to have much occasion to cheer after 6 p.m. Limited to 63 scholarships, a member of the Southern Conference does not have the talent to compete with a Southeastern Conference team for 60 minutes. With Arkansas’ margin likely to be more than 30 points, only the details are up in the air.
Considering the Razorbacks’ superiority, Arkansas should be able to keep it simple on offense so don’t lose track of that while contemplating over-under propositions:
• Arkansas rushing yardage, 330. OVER. Arkansas netted 292 against Louisiana-Lafayette on 51 attempts. Like any underdog, Samford will attempt to consume some clock by emphasizing the run. In turn, the Razorbacks might not snap the ball 74 times as they did last week because both Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins are likely to break long runs. A home run threat, Collins’ longest run against ULL was only 17 yards.
• Arkansas pass attempts, 24. UNDER. Note that 24 is a team total. Brandon Allen threw 22 times last week and might attempt even fewer this week if Williams and Collins run wild. Even if Allen sits out the final 15 minutes, backup A.J. Derby will have limited opportunities.
• Combined carries for Williams and Collins, 36. UNDER. They had a total of 39 in the opener, but Louisiana-Lafayette was in the game until Williams broke a 75-yarder with 6 minutes left in the third quarter. Arkansas should put Samford away earlier, paving the way for Nate Holmes, Patrick Arinze and others to get some carries.
• Hunter Henry receptions, five. UNDER. The freshman tight end led Arkansas with five catches last week, but the wide receivers will be more involved this week. Hunter’s average per catch could top the 15.0 he recorded vs. ULL.
• Samford completions, 17. OVER. ULL completed 17 last week, but quarterback Terrance Broadway’s numbers were a disappointing 15-of-28. He threw wildly on several occasions and his receivers dropped a few. Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin was good on 19-of-31 in the season opener. If the 25-year-old plays deep into the game, he could have similar numbers against an Arkansas secondary populated with reserves.
• Total turnovers, two. OVER. Each team had one turnover last week, including an interception that Samford returned for a tying touchdown in the third quarter. In a rout, a running back can get careless.
• Attendance, 53,089. UNDER. That was the announced crowd for Arkansas’ overtime loss to the Sun Belt Conference’s Louisiana-Monroe last year. Samford is a lesser opponent and, at last check, tickets were available.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.