It’s training camp time in the NFL and that means rookies get to thrown to the hazing gauntlet and it’s no different with the New England Patriots. That’s where rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett had to carry the pads of Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
According to Pro Football Weekly University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett confirmed to NFL teams during the Combine that he at least experimented with drugs during his college years. In Combine interviews, he reportedly came clean about recreational use according to one General Manager.
The NFL General Manager said that Mallet was the first quarterback ever to admit his drug usage to him in interviews and his willingness to be honest about his past and acknowledge issues is viewed as a positive.
Concerns about his history of use could impact his draft position, though. Although Mallett did not produce an official positive test at Arkansas, he has been arrested for public intoxication and carries a reputation as a “big party guy,” per sources who have interviewed him. How much teams believe he has matured will weigh into his draft status. “I would not take him at any point,” one executive not in need of a quarterback said. He still figures to be drafted in the second round.
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features The Ohio State University Buckeyes taking on University of Arkansas Razorbacks in the 77th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl at Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Arkansas, 10-2, 6-2 SEC, Razorbacks were viewed as an SEC contender earlier in the season but on the biggest stages in SEC play came up short, falling at home to Alabama and then again at Auburn. Head coach Bobby Petrino has a balanced offensive attack as his team uses the pass to set up the run as they average 489.2 yards of total offense, with 338.4 coming via the pass.
Arkansas is led by standout quarterback Ryan Mallett who threw for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns. One of Mallett’s favorite targets is tight end D.J. Williams led the way among pass catchers with 49 receptions for 589 yard and 4 touchdowns. Mallet spread the ball around a lot this year as 6 different receivers had at least 4 touchdowns on the season.
The ground game is led by tailback Knile Davis and his 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns for a huge 6.6 yards per carry.
Ohio State, 11-1, 7-1 Big Ten, The Buckeyes shared the Big Ten title with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and earned their 6th straight BCS Bowl bid and 9th overall, the most among all Division I schools. The lone loss on the season came in Madison against the Badgers but the team rebounded to win 5 straight to the first school in Big Ten history to win at least 10 games in six consecutive seasons.
Head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes, had an NCAA investigation on their hands that left five players status for this game in question, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. However the five in question will be suspended for the first five games next season and were recently cleared to play in this game, providing they gave a commitment to return to Columbus next year.
Pryor’s suspension will cover the first five games of next season, so he will be under center tonight orchestrating an offensive that amassed almost 450 yards total per game, with tremendous balance. One of the few teams in the country with over 200 yards both rushing (219.7 ypg) and passing (229.2 ypg).
Pryor completed 65.8 percent of his throws for 2,551 yards and 25 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. When Pryor looked downfield he could either look left for Dane Sanzenbacker and his 52 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns or to his right for DeVier Posey,who will also sit the first five games in 2011, and his 50 catches for 778 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Tailback Dan Herron, who will also sit the first five games in 2011, rushed for 1,068 yards and 15 touchdowns on 5.6 ypc. Pryor got involved as well ranking second with 639 yards and 4 touchdowns.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools.
PICK: The Ohio State University Buckeyes
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Arkansas Razorbacks taking on Mississippi State University Bulldogs in Starkville.
Last weekend, Arkansas took a break from SEC play to battle Texas-El Paso, and the result of that mismatch was a 58-21 victory. The Razorbacks now own a four-game win streak that has enabled them to move to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in SEC action.
Head coach Bobby Petrino has one of the most explosive offensive football teams in the nation. They are currently averaging 37 ppg and 491.9 total ypg, and it all starts with star quarterback Ryan Mallett. Through 10 games, he has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,967 yards and 24 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Leading receiver Greg Childs is out for the season with an injury, but D.J. Williams, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright are all talented targets. As for the ground attack, Knile Davis leads the way with 844 yards and 10 scores.
Mallett was masterful against UTEP last weekend, completing 19-of-26 passes for 215 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Williams scored twice, and Davis racked up 182 rushing yards and one touchdown on only 11 carries.
Opponents are scoring 21 ppg against Arkansas, which is yielding 329.7 total ypg. The Razorbacks are rather mediocre against the run, permitting 4.1 yards per carry and 152.7 ypg. Jerry Franklin leads Arkansas with 70 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Mississippi State entered last weekend’s showdown with Alabama sporting a six-game win streak, the longest for the program since 1999. Unfortunately the Bulldogs fell in Tuscaloosa by a 30-10 final.
Head coach Dan Mullen offense struggled against Alabama, a statement that isn’t surprising considering the 30-10 final score. Chris Relf connected on 8-of-16 passes for 70 and was intercepted once before being relieved by Tyler Russell, who went 4-for-7 for 80 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs. They finished with 299 total yards and permitted five sacks, overshadowing a 9- of-18 effort on third down conversion attempts.
Overall this season, MSU is averaging 26 ppg and 374.8 total ypg, and Mullen has used both Relf and Russell in several games. Neither quarterback has been overly impressive throwing the football, but Relf has run for three scores. Chad Bumphis paces the receivers with 38 catches for 545 yards and five touchdowns, while Vick Ballard leads the ground attack with 699 yards and 12 scores.
MSU has been a solid defensive team for the most part, limiting opponents to 18 ppg and 348.3 total ypg. The Bulldogs are particularly tough against the run, holding foes to 121.2 ypg at a clip of 3.6 yards per carry.
Arkansas owns a 13-6-1 series lead over Mississippi State.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks
This game goes down on the ESPNU network and it features University of Texas at El Paso Miners taking on the University of Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium.
Head coach Mike Price has his Miners bowl eligible after last weekends 28-14 victory over SMU. That victory halted a three-game skid for the Miners, who opened the season with wins in five of their first six games.
Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe leads a UTEP team that is averaging 26.5 ppg and 373.4 total ypg. Vittatoe has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,260 yards and 19 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. Kris Adams is a dangerous wideout for the team, as he has recorded 743 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 37 catches. As for the ground attack, Joe Banyard has rushed for 418 yards and five touchdowns.
Opponents are posting 21 ppg against UTEP, which is surrendering 373.0 total ypg. The Miners have been mediocre against both the run and the pass, and with only 13 takeaways and 11 sacks there has been a glaring lack of big plays made. Trevaun Nixon is tops with three interceptions, but the team clearly lacks a defensive standout.
Head coach Bobby Petrino leads his Razorbacks into this matchup seeking it’s fourth consecutive wins. They are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in SEC action after they crushed South Carolina last weekend on the road by a 41-20 final.
Arkansas, which is averaging 35 ppg and 482.4 total ypg. The Razorback offense is led by Ryan Mallett, an elite signal caller who has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,752 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Mallett’s top target, Greg Childs, was recently lost for the season with a knee injury, but with D.J. Williams, Joe Adams and other talented receivers in the mix, Arkansas should be able to overcome that loss. Knile Davis has played well at the tailback position, as he has rushed for 662 yards and nine scores.
The Razorbacks are allowing 156.7 rushing ypg and 170.2 passing ypg.
Arkansas won its only previous meeting with UTEP back in 1989.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks
Yesterday I posted the MC Hammer You Can’t Touch The Mallett, which is now burning up the internet in the college football scene, because the University of Arkansas quarterback is just that awesome. Ryan Mallett’s bandwagon is now getting heavier and heavier by the day that there is this release of this B-side MC Hammer track called Here Comes The Mallett.
Jake Locker is got nothing on Mallett.
There’s no way this was getting past me seeing I’m a huge University of Arkansas Razorback Ryan Mallett fan. Mallett and Hammer together sounds like a win to me, now if the Razorbacks just could pull off the upset against Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend that would greatly push him to the fore front of the Heisman Trophy talks.
Jake Locker is got nothing on Mallett.
The 52nd annual Liberty Bowl will see East Carolina Pirates from Conference USA, in their second consecutive appearance, to face from the SEC the Arkansas Razorbacks in Memphis.
The Razorbacks have a long history of participating in bowl games, but unfortunately winning those matchups have been tough for this school. This will be the 37th bowl game for Arkansas, but the team is just 11-22-3 in the postseason, and has lost 12 of its last 14 bowl games, including a 38-7 setback to Missouri in the 2008 Cotton Bowl.
Bobby Petrino’s Razorbacks definitely possessed one of the most dangerous offensive units in the entire nation, as the team produced 37 ppg. The ground game is churning out 136 yards per without a true running back. Michael Smith led the way on the year with 396 yards, while Broderick Green added 392 yards and 11 touchdowns on 4.2 yards per carry. Ryan Mallett was the difference maker throwing for 3,422 yards with 29 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions. Greg Childs hauled in 45 receptions for 862 yards and 7 touchdowns and Jarius Wright collected 37 passes for 591 yards and 4 scores while Joe Adams also caught 7 touchdowns.
The Razorbacks were unable to keep up with the top teams in their conference was because the defense was simply not good enough. The defense allowed 25 ppg throughout the season and was unable to stop opponents on the ground or through the air. Arkansas was gashed for 150.1 rushing ypg, and even worse was their performance against the pass, as teams torched this unit for 251.8 ypg and also tossed 21 touchdowns against Arkansas. The defense however, was one of the top teams in the country in forcing turnovers, racking up 34 takeaways on the year. Pressuring the quarterback was also another solid area for this team, with 26 sacks. The Razorbacks also stepped up their effort when it mattered most defensively, as the team held opponents to just 36 percent on third downs and allowed just 17 touchdowns in 39 red zone chances for the opposition. Jerry Franklin led the way for Arkansas on the season with 84 tackles, while Adrian Davis and Jake Bequette both collected 5.5 sacks apiece.
As for Skip Holtz’s Pirates, they could not find their stride out of the gate in 2009, splitting their first six games down the middle however the Pirates really took off winning six of their last seven games. East Carolina’s bowl history is not as dated as Arkansas but do have a mark of 5-5 in postseason. However, the team has lost three of its last four and that includes a 25-19 setback to Kentucky in last season’s Liberty Bowl.
The Pirates relied on their rushing attack as the team rumbled for 149.6 ypg on 4.1 yards per attempt. 23 of the team’s 37 touchdowns came on the ground and those scores helped ECU average a respectable 27 ppg. Dominique Lindsay was the main source of production rumbling for 1,029 yards and 5 scores on 5.0 yards per carry. The passing attack has not been as successful as the ground game because Pat Pinkney was inconsistent throwing for 2,738 yards and 14 scores against 10 interceptions. Dwayne Harris was the top wideout with 79 receptions, 914 yards and 6 touchdowns. Darryl Freeney was also a solid option for Pinkney and finished the regular season with 42 catches for 624 yards and three scores.
Overall the play by the defensive unit for East Carolina was solid, as the team held the opposition to just 22 ppg. The Pirates did a solid job against the run, limiting teams to just 123.3 ypg however the secondary was torched for 262.3 ypg through the air, and surrendered 23 passing touchdowns. C.J. Wilson led the way with 5.5 sacks on the year, while Scott Robinson added five sacks. Nick Johnson led the team with 94 tackles on the season, while Van Eskridge racked up 93 stops and a team-best six interceptions.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools on the football field.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks
The LSU Tigers try to rebound from their third loss in six games, including a series of blunders in their last loss, when they host surging Arkansas.
Les Miles Tigers (8-3, 4-3 SEC) opened the season with five consecutive wins before losing 13-3 to Florida on Oct. 10. They recovered to rout Auburn and Tulane before falling 24-15 at Alabama on Nov. 7, but struggled to beat woeful Louisiana Tech 24-16 and were dealt a big blow last Saturday. A number of questionable play calls and suspect clock management led to a 25-23 defeat at unranked Mississippi. The Tigers have fallen out of contention for the SEC title and a BCS bid, so the best they can do is an at-large invite to a marquee bowl.
A win over the Razorbacks (7-4, 3-4) would certainly help, but LSU has dropped the last two meetings by a total of three points. The Tigers blew a 16-point lead in the second half at Arkansas last year, losing 31-30 on a 24-yard TD pass with 21 seconds to play. This will be the Razorbacks’ first trip to Baton Rouge since a triple-overtime thriller, winning 50-48 on Nov. 23, 2007. Still, LSU holds a 33-19-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Jordan Jefferson struggled in last year’s loss to Arkansas, completing 9 of 21 passes for 143 yards while rushing 19 times for 50 yards. He wasn’t overly effective last week, either, going 19 of 37 for 250 yards with nine rushes for minus-32 yards. The sophomore did throw for two touchdowns but also had an interception after missing the previous game the Louisiana Tech game due to an ankle injury.
Jefferson is still young, and while he hasn’t made a ton of bad decisions this season 5 interceptions, his 1,785 passing yards in 10 starts and 14 touchdowns suggests that big plays through the air have been few and far between. There is a star wideout in the fold, as Brandon LaFell has made 48 catches for 635 yards and nine touchdowns.
Ryan Mallett leads the conference with 3,195 passing yards, the SEC’s highest-rated passer, and a team-record 28 touchdowns with six interceptions. The sophomore threw for 313 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Razorbacks to a 42-21 win over Mississippi State last Saturday. That performance came a week after he connected for five TD passes and 405 yards in a 56-20 win over Troy.
Mallett has been named SEC offensive player of the week after each game, and Bobby Petrino Razorbacks have won four straight after opening the season by losing four of seven. While Mallett has the offense averaging a conference-best 38.0 points, the defense is the worst in the league, surrendering 408.7 yards per game. Mallet has Greg Childs on the outside, who has made 40 catches for 738 yards and 7 touchdowns and Broderick Green 10 has touchdowns after picking up the slack for injuried Michael Smith.
PICK: University of Arkansas Razorbacks