Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Arkansas Razorbacks

The SEC had a down year compared to other years, as Alabama was the lone team to win 10 games or more in 2016. That is an unusual turn of events for the self proclaimed best conference in college football. The East was still down, as Florida and Tennessee continued to struggle despite having high expectations. Georgia is still trying to find themselves under Kirby Smart. LSU made a mess of the Les Miles situation. Ole Miss was clouded over by off-field issues. Here is a look back at the 2016 SEC season, on a team by team basis.

Arkansas Razorbacks
7-6 (3-5)

2016 Schedule
Beat Louisiana Tech 21-20
Beat TCU 41-38
Beat Texas State 42-3
Lost to Texas A&M 45-24
Beat Alcorn State 52-10
Lost to Alabama 49-30
Beat Ole Miss 34-30
Lost to Auburn 56-3
Beat Florida 31-10
Lost to LSU 38-10
Beat Mississippi State 58-42
Lost to Missouri 28-24
Lost to Virginia Tech 35-24

MVP Offense: RB Rawleigh Williams III
With an inconsistent passing game flailing away at a high rate of speed, the lone consistent on offense was the running of Williams. He rushed for 1360 yards and 12 scores as the primary back. He averaged 5.55 yards per carry, and 104.62 yards per game as a sophomore. Williams posted a season high 205 yards and four scores on the road against Mississippi State in a 58-42 win, and topped 100 yards seven times.
MVP Defense: LB Brooks Ellis
Ellis, a senior, led the team with 83 tackles, 20 more than anyone else on the team. He also finished with seven TFLs, five PBUs, and three QB hurries. He finished with a seaosn high 13 tackles in a 41-38 win over TCU.
Others of Note
Austin Allen passed for 3430 yards and 25 TDs, but also tossed 15 INTs in 13 games.
Keon Hatcher posted a line of 44-743-8 at WR as a senior.
Only four receivers caught 20 or more passes.
The offense allowed 87 TFLs.
Allen was sacked 35 times in 13 games played.
Arkansas won the tackle efficiency battle, making 64 per game, while forcing 75.
Arkansas was penalized 6.2 times per game. They were hit 6.1 times per game at home, and 6.2 on the road.
Senior Adam McFain hit 8/10 FG attempts, while Cole Hedlund hit 5/7.
Toby Baker averaged 44.42 yards per punt.
Best Win: Florida 31-10
The Razorbacks dominated the SEC East champs from star to finish and dismantled an otherwise stout defense on the way to the three score win. Arkansas would finish just 1-3 after this win.
Worst Loss: Auburn 56-3, Virginia Tech 35-24
The week before beating Florida, the Razorbacks suffered one of their worst losses in school history to Auburn, and the Razorbacks were exposed across the board.
In the bowl game, the Razorbakcs led Virginia Tech 24-0. They never scored again, and gave up 35 unanswered points in an embarrassing loss that placed Bret Bielema squarely on the hot seat entering 2017.
2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 Florida A&M, 9/9 TCU, 9/30 New Mexico State, 11/4 Coastal Carolina
Arkansas should run away from Florida A&M, New Mexico State, and Coastal Carolina. The TCU ame was a war in 2016, and many of the same pieces will clash again in Fayeteville in 2017. It is a coin flip once again. Worst case here is 3-1 in non con play.

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