UAB (4-3) at Arkansas (3-4) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Razorback Stadium (72,000) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: UAB 3-1, Arkansas 2-1. Away Record: UAB 1-2, Arkansas 1-1. Neutral Record: UAB 0-0, Arkansas 0-2. Conference Record: UAB 2-2, Arkansas 0-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The UAB Blazers are set for their final non-conference game of the season, as they take on Arkansas this Saturday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
UAB sits at 4-3 overall and 2-2 in Conference USA play after last weekend's 34-22 setback at Middle Tennessee. The Blazers held a 22-21 lead with just over 11 minutes to play in that game before the Blue Raiders rallied with two late touchdowns to seal the outcome. This will be the second opponent the Blazers have faced from the Southeastern Conference this season, as they lost at now top-ranked Mississippi State, 47-34, back on Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, Arkansas has followed up a three-game win streak by losing three in a row, including last week's 45-32 setback to 10th-ranked Georgia. All four of the team's losses this season have come against teams that were ranked in the top-10 at the time of the matchup. The Razorbacks will now try to win their Homecoming game for the eighth time in the last nine years.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football field.
UAB currently ranks No. 22 in the nation in scoring offense (37.6 ppg) and 24th in total offense (477.9 ypg). In fact, the Blazers were able to move the ball quite well in that earlier meeting with Mississippi State with 548 yards. Last week, they outgained Middle Tennessee, 405-370, with sophomore running back Jordan Howard carrying 32 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. It marked the fourth time this season that Howard went over the century mark. However, quarterback Cody Clements threw for only 185 yards, was intercepted twice and sacked five times in the loss.
The UAB defense has yielded an average of 28.4 ppg and nearly 400 total yards per game, both figures ranking in the bottom half of the Football Bowl Subdivision. The pass rush was effective last week as Blue Raiders quarterback Austin Grammer was sacked four times and completed only 6-of-19 passes in the face of steady pressure. However, UAB was gashed for 229 yards (5.6 ypc) and three scores on the ground, including the go-ahead score on a 67-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
Similar to UAB, Arkansas boasts a productive offense. The Razorbacks rank ninth nationally in third-down conversion percentage (0.495), 17th in rushing (256.9 ypg) and 19th in scoring offense (38.3 ppg). The running back duo of junior Jonathan Williams and sophomore Alex Collins is a big part of that, as Arkansas is the only team in the nation with two running backs to gain at least 600 yards rushing. Williams is third in the SEC with 677 yards, while Collins is fourth with 665. Williams also leads the league with nine rushing touchdowns, followed by Collins with eight.
The Arkansas defense was unable to contain Georgia's Nick Chubb, who reeled off 202 yards (6.7 ypc) and two scores on 30 carries last week. The Bulldogs really took control early by scoring on each of their first six possessions, including five touchdowns. Although the Razorbacks managed to eventually settle in and get some stops, the damage had already been done. Josh Williams finished with a game-high 14 tackles, but the defense failed to generate any takeaways.
The Razorbacks have the toughest schedule in the nation based on 2013 winning percentages, and they are still winless against SEC foes. They have a winnable matchup here, especially at home, but a loss would all but vanquish the team's postseason hopes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 35, UAB 27Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 25, 12 p.m. (ET).