Arkansas Football: 5 Startling Statistics from the Razorbacks' 2013 Campaign
At 3-3, the Arkansas Razorbacks have made good impressions and bad ones. It's been a season marked by ups and downs, with instances of play both great and mediocre.
Everything looked good in the first three games. But then again, those games were against teams the Razorbacks were expected to beat. The last three against respectable foes? All losses.
The rush defense has remained solid, while the secondary has began to slip down the ranks. The offense has had its share of surprises, both positive and negative.
With that said, let's take a look at the five stats that have stood out among the rest.
215 Passing Yards Per Game Allowed
Doesn't seem like an alarming number, does it? Well, it is, especially considering the Hogs allowed just 421 passing yards total (140.3 YPG) in the first three games.
The last three against Rutgers, Texas A&M and Florida? 847. The rise in the level of competition has inflated the team's passing YPG allowed in each of the last three matches. The secondary was a major issue last year, but appeared to have possibly turned a corner early on.
Many thought the unit was poised for a turnaround; however, it's trending the wrong way. Arkansas has a lot of work to do defending the pass and it doesn't help that Will Hines is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks with a broken arm, according to NWAonline's Tom Murphy.
49.6 Completion Percentage for QB Brandon Allen
Starting quarterback Brandon Allen struggled in 2012 with his accuracy when filling in for the injured Tyler Wilson. With an offseason to work on it and get on the same page as his receivers, expectations for his first year as a starter were much higher.
Allen completed 68.2 percent of his passes in his first game against Louisiana, but since then, he has had trouble throwing the ball where it needs to be.
The last four games have produced completion percentages of 52.9, 40.0, 47.2 and 41.5. Last weekend at Florida, the sophomore went just 17-of-41 and 17-of-36 against Texas A&M. It should be noted that he sustained a shoulder injury in the team's third game against Southern Miss, which could have something to do with it.
He's also had quite a few drops from his receivers, but even discounting that would only raise his percentage a little. The Razorbacks need his accuracy to improve greatly; otherwise, Bielema won't be able to continue to run the ball successfully.
-.2 Turnover Margin
The Razorbacks were 118th nationally in 2012 with a total turnover margin of minus-19 (-1.58 per game). It hasn't been much better in 2013, as Arkansas is tied for 73rd with an average of minus-.2 per game.
One thing teams simply can't do if they expect to win ball games is turn the ball over, and the Hogs have done it 14 times in six games. In the SEC, the nation's best conference, it is even more critical to avoid giving the ball away.
The margin isn't terrible, yet. But, at this rate the Hogs are on pace to surrender the pigskin 30 times.
651 Rushing Yards for RB Alex Collins
If you hadn't heard of the phenom running back coming out of high school, you probably have now. Alex Collins hasn't just been one of the best freshman running backs in the country, he's been one of the best backs, period.
In six games, Collins has amassed 651 yards on 113 attempts (5.8 yards per carry), which puts him at No. 9 in the FBS in total rushing yards. He became the first back in SEC history to run for over 100 yards in each of his first three games. That includes guys like Bo Jackson, Darren McFadden and Herschel Walker.
He's quick to hit the hole and is very shifty, which makes it hard for defenders to get a good shot on him. Collins also has superior ball-carrying vision. A back can be fast, but if he can't read blocks and find the holes, it doesn't matter. He has both.
If Arkansas can develop a passing attack, this guy could be really scary.
124.5 Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed
Though the secondary has began to spiral down, the rush defense remains solid.
The Hogs are 30th in the country in YPG allowed and that could be even better if the secondary would cover someone. Arkansas is anchored by a veteran defensive line, led by the defensive ends Trey Flowers and Chris Smith. The two are a major reason why the Razorbacks rank 21st in the FBS in sacks per game (2.83).
The linebackers have also been surprisingly good against the run with Jarrett Lake leading the team with 42 total tackles. Against Florida, Arkansas limited a Gator squad averaging over 200 YPG on the ground to 115.
If the secondary held up their end of the bargain, this Arkansas defense would be one of the better units in the SEC and country.