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QB Brandon Allen
With the way the defense has played this year, forcing the Tigers into some mistakes could be the Hogs only shot at keeping quarterback Nick Marshall and the Auburn offense out of the end zone.
The problem is that Arkansas is nearly dead last in turnovers forced with eight total while giving up 14 itself. This Razorbacks defense is a bend-don't-break unit. However, it seems it has been breaking a lot. If the Hogs are to make this a game and have a shot at the upset, they must create turnovers and keep the Tigers offense off the field.
Slow Down Auburn's Run Game
Auburn is 13th in the country in total offense (511.0 yards per game), including ranking fifth in rushing YPG at 315.4. Tre Mason is the only back that is in the top 30 in the FBS in rushing, but the Tigers have three other guys with over 400 yards, including Marshall (81 carries, 461 yards and five touchdowns).
Arkansas has had lots of trouble with dual-threat quarterbacks in the past. Allowing Marshall and the backs to get going would open up a can of worms.
Marshall has been a pleasant surprise for Malzahn, but the team had a scare when he injured his throwing shoulder against Florida Atlantic. Backup Jeremy Johnson has taken equal snaps in practice this week according to AL.com, though Marshall has practiced all week. Whether he starts is expected to be determined around game time, but Arkansas expects him to play.
If the Hogs can't slow down Auburn's rushing attack, it will give Marshall one-on-one opportunities against an Arkansas secondary that has been suspect. The Tigers passing game hasn't been great (96th FBS), and the last thing the Razorbacks need to do is let Marshall gain confidence with his arm.
Yes, Allen himself is a big key to this game for Bielema's Hogs.
He's struggled all season with his accuracy (44.9 percent) and decision making with a nearly 1-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Allen has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in five out of seven games, including his 28.0 mark at Alabama two weeks ago.
His inability to make plays with his arm has had an adverse impact on the running game. The Hogs possess a dangerous duo in freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams, but opponents are stacking the box to stop them because Allen has posed no threat through the air.
No one is saying he has to go out and work miracles, but he can start with having a game where he doesn't make a mistake and completes over 50 percent of his passes. Just doing that would help the offense tremendously versus Auburn.