Arkansas LB Alonzo Highsmith (6-1, 233, Sr.)
Key Statistics: 15 tackles, 2 for losses in last week’s loss vs. Rutgers.
Highsmith slid from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker when Tenarius Wright dropped down to defensive end last week. He responded with a career-high, 15-tackle performance against Rutgers. Highsmith struggled the last time Arkansas faced a running quarterback (ULM’s Kolton Browning), but will get a chance to make amends today. It’s not known if he’ll been asked to serve as a “spy” on the quarterback once again, but will no doubt be part of a defense trying to keep him contained. The Hogs know Manziel’s success is critical to Texas A&M’s offense and limited his production could be key to snapping the three-game skid.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel (6-1, 200, Fr.)
Key Statistics: Leads team in passing (641 yards) and rushing (262)
Arkansas coach John L. Smith’s assessment of Manziel was simple Wednesday: “He’s a special kid.” But Manziel has been just that through three games, leading the Aggies in both passing and rushing. The dual threat QB, who already has earned the nickname “Johnny Football,” has put together strong performances in consecutive weeks with 670 total yards and 11 touchdowns (7 passing, 4 rushing) in blowout wins. Manziel is probably licking his lips preparing for the Hogs, who have struggled to stop opponents from piling up yards and points through four games. Manziel is capable of doing much more damage if he is given room to roam today.
EDGE: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel