Score Predictions: Arkansas vs BYU
The Arkansas Razorbacks and BYU Cougars are set to face off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Last year's matchup between the teams in Provo, Utah, was the first ever meeting. Arkansas left with a 52-35 win thanks to a five-touchdown performance from KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders' 175 rushing yards and two scores.
Arkansas is an -8.5-point favorite over the Cougars (BetSaracen). The Razorbacks haven't opened three-consecutive seasons 3-0 since doing so under Lou Holtz from 1977-79.
Here is how the HawgBeat staff is predicting Saturday's game, which will be broadcast on the ESPN2.
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Big game for both teams as Arkansas would love to stay undefeated heading to LSU next weekend and BYU would like a huge win before they begin play in the Big 12 this year. Arkansas struggles to get the run game going early causing fans to moan and groan, but the defense gets them going with a big interception off Slovis (10:9 td/int ratio last year) late in the 1st quarter. Arkansas opens up the offense and is too much for BYU to handle the rest of the game. Defense gives up a few points, but gets stops when they need to.
Arkansas 42, BYU 30
Mason Choate - Publisher
This game will be won in the trenches on either side, in my opinion.
Arkansas' pass rush ranks sixth in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus, while BYU hasn't allowed a sack this season. On the other side, the Arkansas offensive line has struggled to be consistent in the run game and BYU's run defense ranks 10th in the nation.
The Razorbacks have the Cougars beat in the talent category at just about every single position other than maybe punter — Ryan Rehkow averages 51 yards per punt for BYU. Sam Pittman led his team to a victory in Provo, Utah, last season and I think he'll do the same with much less travel this year.
Arkansas 42, BYU 28
Riley McFerran - Managing Editor
On paper, Arkansas and BYU are pretty similar teams. Struggling rushing attacks? Check. Veteran quarterbacks? Check. Defenses that have made up for weak offensive performances? Check. The determining factor in a game like this one is talent — an area the Razorbacks have the advantage in.
It's tempting to assume this will be a low-scoring affair, but much like the 52-35 matchup last season, I expect both offenses to play at a high level.
KJ Jefferson turns in another herculean-type effort and creates highlights that'll be seen for the next few months on social media.
Arkansas 40, BYU 27
Daniel Fair - Football Recruiting Analyst
Arkansas rolls into Week 3 with some big questions offensively. The run game hasn’t been incredible through the first two matchups, and the offensive line has looked suspect.
BYU isn’t a bad team, either. The Cougars have a quarterback who’s played at the Power 5 level his entire career in Kedon Slovis, and they don’t look anything like the team Arkansas hung 52 on a year ago.
With that being said, it’s the first night game of the year in Razorback Stadium, and I think the home field advantage, paired with a strong week of practice, gives the Hogs an edge.
Arkansas 42, BYU 31
Jackson Collier - Basketball Recruiting Analyst
BYU comes into Fayetteville after Arkansas dominated at the Cougars’ place last season. Neither team has played top-notch competition yet this year, but just looking at stats at box scores, it could be a low scoring game.
The Cougars don’t run the ball well, and Arkansas hasn’t allowed many yards on the ground at all. Arkansas is allowing 9.5 points per game, BYU is allowing 8.0.
If those trends continue and it comes down to the pass game versus pass defense, I feel very comfortable with Arkansas’ chances to prevent a one-dimensional Cougar offense from moving the ball too much. Same could be said for BYU and the Arkansas offense, though.
I expect Sam Pittman to reinforce the need for physicality after an uninspiring performance against Kent State and finally shore up some of the issues with the offensive line.
Arkansas 34, BYU 17
Kevin Bohannon - Baseball Recruiting Analyst
I expect an electric Fayetteville atmosphere for the first home night game. I expect players to feed off the atmosphere and the Hogs to cover. The question will be how do they cover. Will it be a shootout like last year or a defensive battle with enough offense?
The run game didn’t get the 200 yards I expected last week but the second half with KJ Jefferson involved was what this offense needs. Great offensive coordinators tailor their playbook to their personnel and we will see more of that this week. I expect more shifts and motions and possibly jet sweeps or pop passes to speed guys.
The defense has to be opportunistic and keep applying pressure. If the defense can get to Slovis, the Cougars will have a hard time scoring. A renewed focus and sense of urgency propels the Razorbacks to a win.
Arkansas 31, BYU 17
RECORDS (Overall, Against the Spread)
Mason Choate: 2-0 overall, 1-1 ATS
Riley McFerran: 2-0 overall, 1-1 ATS
Daniel Fair: 2-0 overall, 1-1 ATS
Jackson Collier: 2-0 overall, 1-1 ATS
Kevin Bohannon: 2-0 overall, 1-1 ATS