Arkansas vs. Alabama Week 4 Preview: 4 Keys to Another Huge SEC Clash
When No. 14-ranked Arkansas heads to Tuscaloosa on Saturday to take on the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, it will be the first SEC game for both squads this season.
Alabama will present its elite defense and outstanding running game, while the Razorbacks thrive on offense and have a solid special teams unit.
A late turnover is how I see this game being decided, and the winner will propel itself one step closer to an SEC West title.
This game could go either way, and here are the four main factors that will decide this SEC West battle.
Tyler Wilson vs. Alabama Defense
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Alabama's defense is arguably the best in the country, which means Tyler Wilson is going to have his hands full on Saturday.
The quarterback has played fairly well against mediocre competition, throwing for over 800 yards and five touchdowns, and his play will be one of the deciding factors in this contest.
Wilson is going to have to set up the run with the pass because of how strong Alabama's run-defense is.
Will Arkansas Be Able to Get Its Ground Game Going?
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There is no doubt that this Arkansas team misses Knile Davis, but backup Ronnie Wingo Jr. has done a nice job carrying the load.
Wingo had his first 100-yard game of the season last week, and has looked better in each game that he has played.
Wingo is a Brandon Jacobs look-alike, and he may be able to wear the Crimson Tide defense down with his size and power.
It is difficult to see him hit the 100-yard mark again this week, but I believe that he will come close.
AJ McCarron's Decision-Making
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AJ McCarron has solidified himself as the quarterback for Alabama, and his decision-making will be essential to 'Bama's success.
McCarron has been consistent over the last two games and has not thrown an interception since he threw two in Week 1.
The Arkansas defensive unit is going to attempt to shut down the Alabama running game, which means that McCarron might be throwing the ball more than usual.
I believe that Alabama will win this game if McCarron can continue to limit his turnovers.
Alabama's Special Teams
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Alabama has not had a single touchback all season, which will potentially create ample field position for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas' offense has proven that they can put up points with the best of them, which is why this aspect is the key to the game.
The Razorbacks can pull off the upset if they win the field-position battle, and I expect them to give the Tide a run for their money.
In the end, this game will come down to special teams and turnovers, and I expect it to go down to the wire in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.