BYU, Arkansas look to rediscover winning ways
BYU and Arkansas, two teams that were among the Top 25 through the first quarter of the season, will look to get back on track when they square off on Saturday in Provo, Utah.
It’s the first-ever meeting for the two programs.
The Cougars (4-2) return home after a 28-20 loss to Notre Dame last Saturday in Las Vegas in which they managed just 280 yards of offense. The setback snapped BYU’s two-game winning streak and dropped them out of the Top 25.
BYU trailed by 19 points early in the second half and worked its way back into contention. The game was still in reach for the Cougars late, but they failed to convert a fourth down with 3:37 to play and Notre Dame was able to run out the clock, exploiting a weary BYU defense that was on the field for nearly 41 minutes and surrendered 496 yards.
“How many plays did we have total? 46?” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “That’s not going to do it. Part of that is defense, get off the field. And offense, get first downs and keep drives going. Just getting more efficient football from our team. … Be balanced. run the ball, throw the ball. That’s what we should be doing.”
The Cougars are facing a team from the Southeastern Conference for just the 11th time. BYU is 4-6 versus the SEC in program history.
Arkansas (3-3, 1-3 SEC) will look to regain some of its early-season swagger after a 40-17 loss at Mississippi State last week. The Razorbacks have dropped three straight games and fallen out of the AP poll after cresting at 10th in the rankings following their third game.
The Razorbacks are beat up and trying to play through a rough stretch. Quarterback KJ Jefferson, who had started 18 consecutive games, was held out against Mississippi State after taking a hit to the head in the loss to Alabama on Oct. 1.
Nickel back Myles Slusher also missed last week’s game, further depleting a secondary that has lost Jalen Catalon and LaDarrius Bishop for the season.
“We need a bye week,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said. “We need to get healthy. But we don’t have that. We have BYU Saturday. We’ll go up there and when we get off the plane and get off the bus, we’ll believe we’re going to win.
“That’s just how it is. I’m not worried about the team.”
Pittman’s teams have never lost a nonconference game in his three seasons at Arkansas. They’ve gone 7-0 over that stretch; there were no nonconference games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
–Field Level Media