1. Win Turnover Battle
Arkansas’ inability to force turnovers on defense and its carelessness on offense are big problems this season. The Razorbacks enter today’s game with a dubious honor – they’re last in the nation in turnover margin (minus-13).
It has to turn around or Arkansas’ losing skid will extend to five games today. The good news? Auburn hasn’t been much better this season. The Tigers rank 116th in the nation (minus-8) and have coughed up the ball 12 times in four games.
2. Redzone Success
The Razorbacks have reached the redzone 11 times the past three games, but have only one touchdown to show for it. The redzone woes are plaguing an offense that piled up plenty of yards at Texas A&M (515), but had little to show for it.
Fixing the redzone problems have been a big emphasis for the Razorbacks this week and must translate to the field. Arkansas is having obvious problems keeping opponents off the scoreboard, so scoring points when they’re available is vital today.
3. Fight Through Adversity
Arkansas led in the first quarter of its past two games, getting off to confidence-building starts against Rutgers and Texas A&M. But we all know the end result. Things unraveled in the second quarter and led to disappointing losses.
It’s clear the fragile Razorbacks haven’t handled adversity well this season. A mistake, bad play or turnover has created a snowball effect Arkansas hasn’t been able to overcome. There will be tough spots today. There is almost every week. How the Razorbacks respond will go a long way in determining if the losing skid ends.
4. Take Charge Up Front
Arkansas’ offensive line has shown small improvement, but remains a problem area (especially in short-yardage situations). The defensive front is the strength of the group, but hasn’t exactly made plays to get the Hogs off the field this season.
The Razorbacks need to find a way to control today’s game up front. Open holes for backs. Protect quarterbacks. Harass Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier. Stop the run game.
5. Sound In Secondary
Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said it’s no secret. Auburn is going to try to throw the ball against one of the nation’s worst pass defenses. Haynes would, too.
Arkansas has its best matchup of the season, though, considering Auburn’s passing offense has struggled with Frazier at the helm. The Razorbacks hope there’s improvement with Eric Bennett and Kaelon Kelleybrew back from injuries. But Arkansas is still working with a porous group that hasn’t found ways to make plays.