Week 4 Feature Game
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0) at Arkansas Razorbacks (1-2)
Saturday, September 22 • 7 p.m. ET • ESPNU
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark. (72,000)
Line: Arkansas -7.5
Rutgers is facing Arkansas for the first time in its 143-year history. The Scarlet Knights added a home and home series with the Razorbacks earlier this year after West Virginia departed the Big East. The game seemed much more significant before Louisiana-Monroe ended any hopes of a successful season for Arkansas with 34-31 overtime win in week two.
Worse still was the concussion suffered by Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, which prevented him from playing in last week’s 52-0 humiliation by Alabama – and may keep him on the sidelines this Saturday too.
Readers at this site realize that Arkansas is a better team than its record and level of play so far. Will this be the game the Razorbacks play up to their abilities and squash the opposition? With the news of head coach John T. Smith $25 million of debt revealed this week, bad news seems to follow Arkansas at every turn this season.
Rutgers had an inspiring 23-13 win in Tampa over the South Florida Bulls. Though the Knights were penalized 11 times for 85 yards, they intercepted USF quarterback B.J. Daniels three times, and the offense found pay dirt on three of four red zone chances. Jawan Jamison rushed for 151 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown featuring a SportsCenter-quality spin move that sealed the game in the fourth quarter. It was his fourth consecutive 100+ yard game, including last year’s Pinstripe Bowl.
Rutgers is allowing just 59 yards per game rushing, ninth-best in the nation. Last season, they ranked last in the conference and 51st nationally, allowing 141.8 yards per game.
The Knights’ offensive line is yet to allow a sack this season.
This will be Rutgers third road game of the season.
Rutgers is 5-11-2 all-time against SEC teams. Their last game against and SEC opponent was a 37-34 win at Vanderbilt in 2004. Other notable games include a 13-7 win at #17 Tennessee in 1979, a 17-13 loss to #1 Alabama at Giants Stadium in 1980 and a 28-28 tie with #3 Florida in Gainesville in 1985.
Players to watch besides Jamison include wide receivers Brandon Coleman and Tim Wright, linebackers Khaseem Greene and Steve Beauharnais, defensive backs Mason Robinson, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan. Running back Savon Huggins did not play last week due to injury but is a great compliment to Jamison.
Pick: Rutgers 23-21
Other games this week:
Pitt (1-2) vs. Gardner-Webb (0-3)
UConn (2-1) at W. Michigan (1-2)
Louisville #20 (3-0) at FIU (1-2)
Syracuse (1-2) vs. Minnesota (3-0)
USF (2-1) at Ball St. (2-1)
Big East Week Three Recap
Week 3 game results:
Rutgers 23 vs. USF 13
Pitt 35 vs. Virginia Tech 17
UConn 24 at Maryland 21
Louisville 39 vs. N. Carolina 34
Syracuse 28 vs. Stony Brook 17
Cincinnati 23 vs. Delaware St. 7
Conference Players of Week 3:
Offensive: Tino Sunseri, QB, Pittsburgh
Defensive: Yawin Smallwood, LB, Connecticut
Special Teams: Nick Williams, WR, Connecticut
Pete's Big East Power Rankings:
1. Louisville #19 (3-0)
2. Rutgers (3-0, 1-0)
3. Cincinnati (2-0, 1-0)
4. USF (2-1, 0-1)
5. UConn (2-1)
6. Syracuse (1-2)
7. Pitt (1-2, 0-1)
8. Temple (1-1)
Pete Sonski is a contributor to College Football Zealots. Follow him on Twitter @29sonski and check out his work at Big East Coast Bias.