Arkansas aims to establish ground game vs. BYU

Sep 9, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Rashod Dubinion (7) rushes in the third quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 28-6. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas has scored 84 points in two games, but coach Sam Pittman insists the Razorbacks still have some work to do entering Saturday night’s home game against BYU in Fayetteville, Ark.

Specifically, they need to run the ball better.

Arkansas (2-0) is coming off a 28-6 win over visiting Kent State. But the Razorbacks produced only 57 rushing yards by halftime before finishing with 172.

When the closer-than-expected game finally appeared in hand, the fourth-year Razorbacks coach said it was time to focus on the ground game and getting better blocking up front the rest of the way.

“We tried several different things. We found some things that we can do and some things that we can’t do,” Pittman said. “How we can take the ball with the last six minutes and displace the line of scrimmage like we did, and not do it at the beginning? We’ve got to figure all that kind of stuff out.”

In recording a 56-13 win in their season opener against Western Carolina, the Razorbacks still managed only 105 yards on 36 carries for a 2.9-yard average.

Instead, third-year starting quarterback KJ Jefferson has thrown five touchdown passes with a 73.8 percent completion mark. He also has 59 yards rushing and a touchdown.

It won’t be BYU’s first in-person look at Jefferson. The Cougars (2-0) hosted Arkansas last October, and he torched them for 367 yards and five touchdowns in the Razorbacks’ 52-35 win.

“Tough team. Tough talent, just like we saw last year,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “It doesn’t hurt that they have a veteran quarterback returning that’s big and strong, can run and can throw.”

Sitake downplayed a revenge factor, saying it “can only take you so far. The key for us to keep things more simple than that. The fans probably weren’t happy about that game, obviously. For our players, this is a whole separate deal, and I think that’s the way we’ve got to keep it.”

Cougars quarterback Kedon Slovis, a transfer from Pitt, has thrown for 493 yards and four scores. All four touchdowns came last week in BYU’s 41-16 rout of visiting Southern Utah in Provo.

–Field Level Media

Mentioned in this article:

More About: