2022-2023 cbhsports Arkansas College Football Preview: Nonconference slate

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September 3
Cincinnati (2:30 PM CT, ESPN/ESPN App)
Following their College Football Playoff appearance in 2021-2022, Arkansas cannot overlook the Cincinnati game to open their season in 2022. The Bearcats will have to replace notable 2022 NFL Draft picks in CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner to the New York Jets, QB Desmond Ridder to the Atlanta Falcons, and CB Coby Bryant to the Seattle Seahawks. Redshirt sophomore Evan Prater is expected to replace Ridder and inexperienced starting defensive backs Todd Bumphis and Ja’quan Sheppard will try to make up for the losses to the draft. Arkansas will have to take advantage of the inexperienced secondary for the bearcats despite Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson not being known as a phenomenal passer. Cincinnati was not successful on special teams last season so Arkansas kicker Cam Little, who did not miss a point after attempt as a freshman, needs to take advantage with point after attempts and field goals and make them all. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman will help lead the hogs to an opening season win. Projected Score: Arkansas 24, Cincinnati 17

September 17
Missouri State (6 PM CT, ESPN+/SECN+/ESPN App)
Former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino heads back to Fayetteville for Family Weekend, September 16-18. Petrino actually led the hogs to two wins over Missouri State back in 2009 and 2011. Since Petrino’s firing in 2012, Razorback football took a major dip. Now, Sam Pittman has the hogs back in many pre-season top twenty-fives entering his third season as head coach. Following a tough opening game against Cincinnati, the hogs should take care of Missouri State fairly easily and move to 2-0 on the young season. Projected Score: Arkansas 45, Missouri State 14

October 15
A trip to Provo will be any team. But, for the Arkansas Razorbacks, who have not been on the road with a national ranking against another team with the same pedigree at least rankings wise in quite some time, the environment and the game will be tough. BYU returns QB Jaren Hall (20 TDs, 5 interceptions) and all three of their starting receivers and their starting tight end (Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney, Keanu Hill, and Isaac Rex). The Cougars also have nine starters back defensively. At this point, however, Arkansas should be clicking when it comes to QB KJ Jefferson with his relatively new receivers to the program such as Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood and sophomore Ketron Jackson. Arkansas’ defense will need to stop Christopher Brooks, BYU’s senior running back that is going to be the full time starter for the first time in his career, to be able to stop the Cougar’s Jaren Hall who threw for 2,583 yards last season. Projected Record: Arkansas 34, BYU 31

November 5
Liberty (TBD, TBD)
Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and his Liberty Flames head into Fayetteville on November 5 for a weird non conference match-up in November. Charlie Brewer, the former Baylor starting QB, is expected to replace now Tennessee Titans signal caller Malik Willis. The key for the Flames is returning receivers CJ Daniels and Demario Douglas as the hogs lost starting defensive backs Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks to transfer to LSU. Expected starters for the hogs are second year starter Hudson Clark and former LSU cornerback Dwight McGlothern. Taking advantage of a relatively questionable defensive back group outside of third year starter safety Jalen Catalon will be the best shot for Freeze’s team to win. The running game of Arkansas led by Raheim Sanders and Dominique Johnson will help Arkansas take down Liberty. Projected Score: Arkansas 45, Liberty 21

By Carter Huff

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