After a four-week gauntlet against teams currently ranked in the Top 25 that produced three losses, Arkansas gets an apparent breather this week when it hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday in Little Rock.
Since posting a 20-10 win over currently No. 17 Texas A&M, the Razorbacks (4-3) have lost at No. 1 Georgia (37-0) at No. 12 Ole Miss (52-51) and at home to No. 19 Auburn (38-23) to fall out of the rankings after a five-week poll run that began after their 40-21 win over Texas on Sept. 11.
“I think we can keep the team ‘involved’ in the opponent,” said Hogs coach Sam Pittman, who added that he is taking a cautious approach to practice this week.
“We’re just too beat up right now,” he said. “We’ve got to get some players back. And I don’t want to get them back for Mississippi State (Nov. 6). I want them back this weekend. I want them back for Pine Bluff.”
The Hogs lost defensive tackle Dorian Gerald (leg) early in the season and Pittman said safety Jalen Catalon (46 tackles, two interceptions) will miss the rest of the season after having shoulder surgery Monday morning.
“The surgery went well,” Pittman said.
After a successful stint in the FCS’ spring session (4-1), UAPB has struggled this fall. The Lions (1-5) won their opener over Lane College, an NCAA Division II program, but have lost their last five outings, the last a 34-7 pounding from fellow Southwestern Athletic Conference member Southern last week.
This will be their first meeting against a Southeastern Conference opponent, and coach Doc Gamble is aware of the hurdle his team faces.
“I told the guys that we have to look in the mirror at ourselves and take care of us first,” Gamble said.
This is the Hogs’ first game at Little Rock since Nov. 29, 2019, when they met Missouri at War Memorial Stadium. It is their only game there this season and also will be their first meeting against an in-state opponent since 1944 when they shut out Arkansas A&M (now Arkansas Monticello) in that season’s finale.
–Field Level Media