How Arkansas and Tulsa compare at each position

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Cheyenne O'Grady, Arkansas tight end, runs in a touchdown on a 39 yard catch in the 1st quarter vs Ole Miss Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Photo by Ben Goff
Cheyenne O'Grady, Arkansas tight end, runs in a touchdown on a 39 yard catch in the 1st quarter vs Ole Miss Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Seth Boomer (19-52-1, 306, 2 TD) appears set to make his third consecutive start for the injured Luke Skipper (68-116-6, 716 yards, 4 TD). Boomer, a redshirt freshman, is hitting 36.5 percent of his throws. He rushed for 46 yards last week. Junior Chad President made 7 starts in 2017. He has 504 career rushing yards and 9 TD. Tulsa is No. 111 in passing (172.2) and No. 120 in efficiency.

With junior Ty Storey (81-142-5, 963 yards, 7 TD) not cleared to play after a concussion, it appears true freshman Connor Noland (4-7-1, 25 yards) is in line to make his first start. Cole Kelley (34-63-5, 448 yards, 5 TD) has done well in spot duty and has the best arm for the Hogs’ deep game. His longer stints have not gone as well. Arkansas is No. 92 in passing (207.3 ypg) and No. 105 in efficiency.

ADVANTAGE None

Running backs

Shamari Brooks (120-475, 6 TD, 4.0 ypc) returned from an ankle issue to rush for 100 yards vs. USF last week, his third 100-yard game of 2018. Top backup Corey Taylor (92-411, 4, 4.5) is questionable (ankle) after missing last week. Javon Thomas (25-120, 4.8), a 6-2, 237-pounder, could see time. Tulsa is No. 32 in rushing offense (214.5 ypg).

Rakeem Boyd (53-403, 1, 7.6 ypc) is likely to play after injuring his lower back last week. The absence of injured Devwah Whaley (65-298, 2) to ankle surgery gives Chase Hayden (41-139, 3.4 ypc), T.J. Hammonds (10-28) and Maleek Williams (11-92, 1, 8.4) an opportunity. The backs have emerged as big keys in the passing game. Arkansas is No. 71 in rushing (178.6).

ADVANTAGE None

Receivers/tight ends

Only nine Tulsa players have catches, and only four have more than five grabs: 6-4 Justin Hobbs (19-256, 1), 6-0 Keylon Stokes (19-220), 5-9 Jarion Anderson (19-168, 1) and 6-1 Keenen Johnson (18-271, 2), though TE Cole Neph (5-50) has 2 TD. Tulsa has lacked big-strike ability, as Johnson (15.1 ypc) is the only regular to average more than 13.5 yards per catch.

The Hogs hope to broaden their attack with more successful deep throws. La’Michael Pettway (18-273, 4), TE Cheyenne O’Grady (13-186, 3), Mike Woods (11-144, 1) and Deon Stewart (10-119) have been top targets in SEC play, while Jordan Jones (11-168, 1) and Jared Cornelius (5-53) have not. Austin Cantrell (6-90, 1), Chase Harrell (4-60) and De’Vion Warren (3-14, 1) contribute.

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Line

The Hurricane have vast experience, led by 44 starts from C Chandler Miller, 41 by RT Willie Wright and 31 for 6-6, 327-pound LG Tyler Bowling. Junior Chris Ivy is the LT. The least experienced starter is RG Tiller Bucktrot, a 6-5, 325-pounder. Tulsa’s starters average 6-4, 307. The Hurricane are No. 88 in total offense (381.2) and No. 114 in sacks allowed (3.7).

Arkansas’ starting five has improved by the week since LT Colton Jackson’s return. Seniors LG Hjalte Froholdt and RT Brian Wallace played all 71 snaps last week, along with the junior Jackson and sophomore C Ty Clary. RG Johnny Gibson got 61 plays and Austin Capps 10 vs. Ole Miss. The Razorbacks are No. 94 in total offense (376) and No. 75 in sacks allowed (2.3).

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Defense

Line

Ends Trevis Gipson (24 tackles, 1 sack, 2 hurries, 1 FF) and Myles Mouton (9, 3 hurries) have started all six games in the base 3-3-5, with backing from Cullen Wick (12, 1.5 TFL) and Deven Lamp (3, 1 sack). The top tackles are 310-pound Shemarr Robinson (20, 2 TFL, 1 FR) and 330-pound Tyarise Stevenson (13, 3.5, 1 sack). Tulsa is No. 114 vs. the rush (214.5).

Generating more pressure is critical for top Hogs McTelvin Agim (24, 4 TFL, 1, sack, 7 hurries), Armon Watts (23, 4.5, 4, 2 PBU), Randy Ramsey (18, 5, 2, 4 hurries), T.J. Smith (16, 2, 1), Gabe Richardson (11, 1.5 TFL, 2 hurries, 1 FR), Michael Taylor (10, 1 TFL, 1 FF), Jamario Bell (9, 1 TFL, 1 hurry) and Jonathan Marshall (5). Arkansas is No. 54 in rushing defense (147.1).

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Linebackers

MLB Cooper Edmiston (54, 3 TFL, 3 INT, 2 FF) fills up the stat sheet. He’s started all six games along with “Star” SLB Diamon Cannon (29, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 3 PBU). Freshman Zaven Collins (33, 5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT), the “Will”, is the largest at 6-4, 250. Tulsa is No. 78 in total defense (398.5) and No. 87 in scoring defense (30.2).

The beat goes on for veterans De’Jon Harris (77, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 PBU, 1 FF) and Dre Greenlaw (49, 5.5, 1, 2 INT, 1 hurry), who are playing nearly every down. Harris leads the SEC in tackles by 9. Grant Morgan (19, 2.5 TFL), Hayden Henry (13), Bumper Pool (13, 3 PBU) and Dee Walker (8) see limited action. Arkansas ranks No. 101 in total defense (430.6) and No. 115 in scoring (36.9).

ADVANTAGE None

Secondary

Senior SS McKinley Whitfield (36, 2 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 FR) is a standout with 229 career tackles. He works alongside junior FS Manny Bunch (32, 1.5 TFL, 2 PBU). Allie Green (21, 2 PBU) is a 6-3 CB, and other CBs Akayleb Evans (11, 1 TFL, 3 PBU) and Reggie Robinson (10, 4 PBU) have been dinged up. The Hurricane are No. 22 in pass defense (184.0) and No. 33 in pass efficiency.

Looks like a first start for Montaric Brown (3), with ace CB Ryan Pulley (26, 2 INT, 4 PBU) sitting out a spell, opposite Jarques McClellion (18, 5 PBU) in the limited CB rotation. Tackling needs to improve for Santos Ramirez (53, 1 FR), Kamren Curl (34, 4 PBU, 1 FF), Kevin Richardson (8, 1 PBU) and D’Vone McClure (14, 1 sack). The Hogs are No. 118 vs. the pass (287.9) and No. 109 in efficiency.

ADVANTAGE Tulsa

Special teams

Tulsa is No. 4 in net punting (43.5), sparked by junior punter Thomas Bennett (49.0), who is also No. 4 in average. Senior PK Nate Walker (9 of 12 FG, 17 of 17 PAT) made 4 FG at Houston, and is 8 of 9 since missing 2 at Texas. Tulsa, which has blocked two kicks and one punt, is No. 95 in punt returns (6.3) and No. 118 on kickoff returns (16.4).

De’Vion Warren (27.9) would rank No. 14 in the FBS in kickoff returns if he qualified, and Arkansas is No. 60 overall (21.4). The Hogs are No. 10 in punt returns (19.7), led by Deon Stewart. Connor Limpert (12 of 15 FGs, 21 of 21 PATs) is coming off a big game with 4 FGs. Reid Bauer (38.8 average) is improving, but Arkansas is No. 123 in net punting (32.2).

ADVANTAGE Tulsa

Intangibles

The opportunity to knock off an SEC opponent on the road and beat Arkansas for the first time since 1976 is a strong motivating piece for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane, which already had their bye week, would give their postseason chances a big boost with a win today.

Arkansas, which felt like it gave away at least a couple of games, has the incentive of snapping a 6-game losing streak, just the sixth in school history, and grabbing a victory in front of a homecoming crowd with transferring quarterback Kelly Bryant on hand. That’s big motivation.

ADVANTAGE Arkansas

Discussion

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