- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Arkansas coach Bret Bielema tweeted Friday that the Hogs would get starting quarterback Brandon Allen back for Saturday's SEC opener against Texas A&M.
The question now: How effective can Allen be throwing the ball after missing last week with a bruised throwing shoulder, and is he ready to go the distance?
Backup AJ Derby, a junior college transfer, filled in for Allen last week in the 28-24 loss at Rutgers and threw the ball 26 times. He completed 14 of those passes for 137 yards and a touchdown and didn't throw an interception. The Razorbacks lost that game because they couldn't protect a 17-point lead, not because they couldn't throw the ball.
Against the Aggies and Johnny Manziel, the name of the game will be keeping the chains moving, making first downs and keeping Manziel off the field regardless of who's at quarterback. If the Hogs have to throw it 30 or 35 times, they're probably going to be in trouble.
At this point, they're simply not equipped to get into a scoring match with the Aggies, which is all the more reason that being able to line up and run the football on first and second down will be crucial.
It would certainly help if Allen's healthy enough to be a major factor throwing the ball. He's been limited ever since injuring his shoulder against Southern Miss in Week 3.
Either way, the Hogs have to get back to doing what they do best if they're going to win this game, and that's crank up that running game.
In the loss to Rutgers, the two running backs -- Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams -- combined to average just 3.6 yards per carry. That's after averaging 6.7 yards per carry in the first three games.
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