Three storylines for TU-Arkansas
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Saturday, November 03, 2012
11/03/12 at 3:43 AM
Does TU have Arkansas' attention?
During his news conference this week, Razorback interim coach John L. Smith said this: "(TU is) going to want to come in - being a close neighbor - and play well. ... We're going to need everybody on board, focused, intent and prepared for this game." That's exactly what Smith should say, but is there a chance that the Razorbacks aren't sufficiently motivated or prepared? The coaches likely are already looking for their next job opportunities, while the players probably are deflated by five losses (four of which occurred in home games). Meanwhile, TU is motivated by the opportunity take its win streak from seven games to eight - and to end a 17-game losing streak against Arkansas.
Is Cody Green ready to become a hero?
As TU's first-year quarterback, Cody Green's record as the starter is 6-1. If by Saturday night his record is 7-1, he becomes a hero to the longtime Hurricane fans burdened by decades of Razorback frustration. Green has issues with accuracy, having completed only 52 percent of his attempts, but has converted on several critically important passes this season. His third-down, fourth-quarter throw at Marshall - launched with an injured shoulder and resulting in a 47-yard gain by Keyarris Garrett - was immeasurably clutch. Green is responsible for 21 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season. He and TU will need a few more on Saturday.
The Hurricane's magic number: 200
And if Green does click with Garrett, Jordan James and Thomas Roberson on significant pass plays, the Hurricane run game would benefit tremendously. Can TU rush for 200 yards against an Arkansas defense that allows only 123 per game? Hurricane tailbacks Ja'Terian Douglas, Trey Watts and Alex Singleton have rushed for 1,704 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. "What we are is what we are - a run-first offense," TU coach Bill Blankenship said. "It's our desire to be balanced. We'll have to throw the football in order to have success offensively against Arkansas. But we've got to find out if we can run the football. I think it will be, to date, our biggest challenge."