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AdvoCare Texas Bowl 2014: Arkansas vs. Texas TV Info, Spread, Time and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2014

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:  Jonathan Williams #32 of the Arkansas Razorbacks runs for a touchdown during the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Thanks to high-profile upsets near the end of the season, the 2014 AdvoCare Texas Bowl between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Texas Longhorns is much more than just a battle between a pair of .500 teams.

Charlie Strong's Longhorns found a way to take down Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma State in successive fashion to become bowl eligible. Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks did much of the same with upsets of LSU and Ole Miss.

The result is a standoff between a forceful rushing attack and a Texas defense that carries along a struggling offense.

Monday night's marquee showdown is not one to skip.

Trench Warfare

L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

Observers know by now that Arkansas does not disguise what it wants to do each time out.

In short, Bielema and Co. want to run the ball down the defense's throat on each play.

Arkansas touts a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, proof enough that the approach works:

The fact Williams even rushed for 83 yards and a score on a 4.2 per-carry average against Alabama in a 14-13 loss speaks volumes about how effective the attack can be against any opponent.

Texas knows a thing or two about strong defense, though. The Longhorns ranked No. 1 in total defense and pass defense in the Big 12 this year.

Though they lost the game, the Longhorns defense held Baylor—a team that averages 48.8 points to lead the nation—to 28 points. A West Virginia offense that averages 33.2 scored just 16 against the unit, while Texas Tech managed just 13 despite its average resting slightly above 30 points per game.

Arkansas brings the pain in the trenches on the opposite side of the football too, mostly thanks to Trey Flowers. The senior end has five sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss this year, which is a large part of the reason the defense ranks 16th nationally in scoring.

It sounds obvious to say any football game is won in the trenches, but this train of thought gets a boost when the two collide Monday.

The Weight of the World...

Nov 15, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (18) rolls out against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

...falls on the shoulders of Longhorns sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.

The Texas offense can only go as Swoopes does. He has thrown for 2,352 yards and has 16 total touchdowns on the year, but 10 interceptions personify his turnover struggles.

Case in point, a 48-10 season-ending loss to TCU was the direct result of Swoopes' four interceptions. As Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman captures, he is ready to move on from the woeful performance:

Brian Davis @BDavisAAS

Tyrone Swoopes on Arkansas: "We all know that TCU game wasn't us. So we're just going to go out and play like we know how to play."

Now would be an ideal time to do so, given the magnitude of the historic rivalry being renewed Monday. The emotions run deep, as even Strong outlined recently.

"I grew up in Arkansas, grew up an Arkansas fan because it's a major university in the state," Strong said, per STATS LLC (via ESPN). "So many memorable games. Like I said, the '69 game was an unbelievable game. ... Growing up around it, you just know how big it was and how important it is to so many people."

No pressure, right? 

Swoopes can hurt the Arkansas defense and possibly negate the rush with his legs. If turnover issues persist, though, the Razorbacks will use additional possessions to grind the clock to an eventual win.

When: Monday, December 29, 9 p.m. ET

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Television: ESPN

Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Spread: Arkansas (-6.5)

Team Injury Reports

Arkansas Razorbacks Injury Report
PlayerPos.DateDetailsStatusInjury
A.J. DerbyTE12/23/2014is questionable for the Texas Bowl Monday against TexasQuestionableknee
Rohan GainesS12/23/2014will miss the Texas Bowl Monday against TexasSuspendeddisciplinary
JoJo RobinsonWR09/18/2014is out indefinitelyOutfoot
Carroll WashingtonCB12/23/2014will miss the Texas Bowl Monday against TexasSuspendeddisciplinary
The Sports Network, via USA Today
Texas Longhorns Injury Report
PlayerPos.DateDetailsStatusInjury
David AshQB09/07/2014will miss the remainder of the seasonOutconcussion
Joe BergeronRB07/25/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
Roderick BernardWR10/28/2014will miss the remainder of the seasonOutknee
Chevoski CollinsS07/25/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
Dominic EspinosaC09/03/2014will miss the remainder of the seasonOutankle
Kennedy EstelleT09/23/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
D'Onta ForemanRB12/23/2014is questionable for the Texas Bowl Monday against ArkansasQuestionablehand
Rami HammadG08/18/2014has decided to transferOutpersonal
Desmond HarrisonT09/08/2014is suspended indefinitelySuspendeddisciplinary
Erik HuhnS09/04/2014will miss the remainder of the seasonOutknee
Montrel MeanderWR08/04/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
Alex NormanDT10/23/2014is out indefinitelyOutback
Miles OnyegbuleTE08/14/2014will miss the entire seasonOutknee
Jalen OverstreetRB07/25/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
Elijah RodriguezOL10/23/2014is out indefinitelyOutconcussion
Kendall SandersWR08/04/2014was dismissed from the teamOutdisciplinary
Jaxon ShipleyWR12/23/2014is questionable for the Texas Bowl Monday against ArkansasQuestionableleg
Kendall ThompsonLB07/25/2014will miss the entire seasonOutconcussion/disciplinary
The Sports Network, via USA Today

Injury reports per The Sports Network, via USA Today.

Prediction

Nov 22, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks right end AJ Derby (11) looks at wide receiver Keon Hatcher (4) after Hatcher scored a touchdown during first half action of a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadiu
USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas has this one right. 

The turnaround by Texas is something to be proud of and will help in the recruiting department, but Arkansas is simply further along in the rebuilding process at this stage.

Thanks to a defense that stood tall in the rigors of a brutal SEC schedule, the Razorbacks have a distinct advantage. Rushing the ball will not come as fluidly as usual, but Williams and the stable of Arkansas backs will find plenty of room to operate on the ground.

In a ground-based affair, Arkansas gets the edge.

Prediction: Arkansas 27, Texas 20

Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

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