Friday, January 6, 2012
Cotton Bowl: Three keys for Arkansas
By Edward Aschoff
Here are three keys for Arkansas in its AT&T Cotton Bowl showdown with Kansas State:
Contain Collin Klein: The Razorbacks weren't great at stopping the run this season, and Klein knows how to frustrate defenses with his legs. Kansas State's quarterback threw for just 1,745 yards, but he rushed for 1,099 yards and led the Big 12 with 26 rushing touchdowns. Arkansas finished the regular season ranked ninth in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing 174.3 yards per game. Making sure Klein doesn't extend plays with his legs will be crucial for Arkansas' defense.
Get the running game going: While the Razorbacks' defense will need to contain Kansas State's best runner, Arkansas must also get its running game going. The Hogs' running game was inconsistent for the first part of the season but seemed to come together in the second half. For Arkansas' offense to truly produce, it has to be balanced with the rush and the pass. Pounding the ball with Dennis Johnson will be key, as it should help to wear down that solid Kansas State rushing defense and will definitely open up Arkansas' passing game with stud quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Avoid a slow start: The Razorbacks seemed to get too comfortable during the midpoint of the season and had a knack for falling behind early. That can't happen Friday. Kansas State has had a wonderful season under coach Bill Snyder and chances are that the Wildcats aren't going to relinquish much of any lead the Hogs give them as they try to end the season on a special note. Arkansas needs to come out fast and put its foot on the Wildcats' throat early if it can.