1. Win Turnover Battle
Arkansas QB Brandon Allen has thrown a pick six in consecutive games and has four total turnovers. The defense, meanwhile, has not forced a turnover in SEC play. The Razorbacks must flip the turnover tables to beat the Gamecocks this afternoon.
2. Keep Allen Clean
Allen picked himself off the grass plenty of times at Florida, taking a beating in the loss. Arkansas knows the pounding can’t continue against another physical defense. Communication and pass protection have been emphasized in practice all week.
3. Tackle Well
Defensive coordinator Chris Ash was proud of his group’s effort vs. the run at UF. He wasn’t happy with the open-field tackling, which resulted in two big-play scores. The Hogs must be sound or QB Connor Shaw and RB Mike Davis will have big games.
4. Fourth Quarter Success
Remember when Arkansas dominated the fourth quarter? The Razorbacks have been outscored 27-0 during its three-game losing streak. Arkansas and South Carolina have been in plenty of close games, so fourth quarter success is key today.
5. Stop The Run
South Carolina’s Mike Davis leads the SEC in rushing yards a game. QB Connor Shaw is a willing runner who moves the chains. Arkansas must continue to play the run well or else the duo is capable of carrying the Gamecocks to a big road win.
TODAY’S KEY MATCHUP
Arkansas DE Chris Smith (6-3, 268, Sr.)
Key Statistics: 6 sacks, 8 tackles for losses
Arkansas’ best pass rusher remembers how much success Jake Bequette had against the Gamecocks two years ago, watching the former Hog collect a career-high three sacks. The senior would love to duplicate the feat against a better South Carolina line. But Smith also must be aware of the read-option, which could take advantage of his eagerness for sacks. Smith’s success in applying pressure on passing plays and holding his assignment against the run will be critical to Arkansas’ success.
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw (6-1, 209, Sr.)
Key Statistics: 927 yards, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Shaw — who was knocked out the last time he played in Fayetteville — doesn’t get the notoriety of other big-name quarterbacks in the SEC, but is having a strong season. The senior is completing 68.8 percent of his passes and has not thrown an interception in 96 attempts. Shaw also has been successful with his feet, rushing for 282 yards and a touchdown. The dual-threat QB has been key to the Gamecocks’ balanced offense and will be critical to their hopes of grabbing a big road win.
EDGE: South Carolina QB Connor Shaw