Hogs host SJSU in Fayet­teville

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Nate Allen

FAYET­TEVILLE His­tor­i­cally it would mark a baby step.

Nonethe­less it would make the Chad Mor­ris regime Arkansas his­tory if the 21-point fa­vored Ra­zor­backs de­feat the San Jose State Spar­tans tonight. Kick­off is 6:30 p.m. for the non­con­fer­ence game at Reynolds Ra­zor­back Sta­dium tele­vised by the SEC Net­work.

Arkansas, 2-1 in its first three 2019 col­lege foot­ball Satur­days sand­wich­ing 20-13 and 55-34 non­con­fer­ence vic­to­ries in Fayet­teville over Port­land State and Colorado State with a 31-17 SEC loss at Ole Miss wedged be­tween, only went 2-10 in 2018. It marked Coach Mor­ris’ first year head­ing a pro­gram that un­der Bret Bielema in 2017 slipped from pre­ced­ing 8-5 and 7-6 sea­sons to 4-8 over­all and just 1-7 in the SEC

So if the Ra­zor­backs pre­vail over the 1-1 Spar­tans of the Moun­tain West Con­fer­ence, they will ex­ceed four games into Mor­ris’ sec­ond sea­son what they won his en­tire Year One.

Ex­ceed­ing last year by one, one cer­tainly is not the be all goal for th­ese Hogs.

“You don’t say, ‘Oh, we won two games, that’s as many as we won last year,” ju­nior cen­ter Ty Clary of Fayet­teville said. “No one’s thought that. It’s how many can we win? This team is so hun­gry to win. Let’s try and win them all.”

Re­ply­ing to a re­porter’s ques­tion, Clary af­firmed a con­vinc­ing vic­tory over this un­der­dog Satur­day would perk up the Hogs and their fans head­ing into the Sept. 28 SEC West bat­tle

against the na­tion­ally No. 17 Texas A&M Ag­gies at the Dal­las Cow­boys’ AT&T Sta­dium in Ar­ling­ton, Texas.

“To me the great teams, the teams that win na­tional cham­pi­onships, typ­i­cally run up the score on th­ese (un­der­dog) teams,” Clary said. “That’s some­thing that we want to do. We want to dom­i­nate. We want mo­men­tum go­ing into that Texas A&M game.”

Mor­ris likes the con­fi­dence ex­uded com­pared to the by the 2018 sea­son’s end hang­dog Hogs, but cau­tions don’t get car­ried away.

“That was one game last week and we ex­e­cuted re­ally well,” Mor­ris said. “The chal­lenge is can we string weeks to­gether and put good days on top of good days?”

Off 2-10, Mor­ris knows th­ese Hogs bet­ter be con­cerned with win­ning and not by how much.”

“Our main goal is to win a foot­ball game Satur­day night in front of our home crowd and de­fend our home sta­dium,” Mor­ris said.

He has im­parted such to his team.

“Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate

them,” Clary said. “Their de­fen­sive front, they can play.”

Be­hind that SJS de­fen­sive front that Clary says plays so hard, the Spar­tans sport one of the na­tion’s best lineback­ers. SJS se­nior Ethan Aguayo leads the na­tion for tack­les av­er­age per game, 17.0, to­tal­ing 34 tack­les for the Spar­tans’ 35-18 vic­tory over North­ern Colorado and 34-16 loss to Tulsa.

“He’s all over the field,” Mor­ris said. “Very ag­gres­sive, has a knack for the ball. Usu­ally where the ball is, he’s close by or if not, he’s on hot pur­suit to get there. He’s def­i­nitely caught our eyes, as has the other out­side backer, Jesse Osuna.”

In fact, Arkansas offensive co­or­di­na­tor Joe Crad­dock said, “To me Osuna is the one who stands out. He’s vi­o­lent. He flies to the ball.”

The Spar­tans come off an open date likely mak­ing their “pres­sure de­fense” more ag­gres­sive than ever, Mor­ris said.

Of­fen­sively the open-date week al­lows Spar­tan Coach Brent Bren­nan time to in­cor­po­rate fresh­man run­ning quar­ter­back Nick Nash, SJS’S lead­ing rusher with

115 yards and a touch­down

on 13 car­ries, with start­ing se­nior passer Josh Love, 37 of 61 for 413 yards and three touch­downs vs. zero in­ter­cep­tions.

“We ex­pect to see them both,” said ju­nior backup line­backer Grant Mor­gan of Green­wood. “They like to throw the ball a lot. Their strength isn’t in the run game, but they’re go­ing to run the ball be­cause they saw what we did last week. We just have to be able to step up and play sound de­fense.”

Though pitch­ing a fourth-quar­ter shutout, Arkansas yielded 425 yards to­tal of­fense against Colorado State start­ing with CSU run­ning back Marvin Kin­sey’s sec­ond play from scrim­mage 75-yard touch­down run.

Of­fen­sively, Arkansas strives to keep alive the mo­men­tum gained since Texas A&M grad­u­ate trans­fer quar­ter­back Nick Starkel was el­e­vated to quar­ter­back. The Hogs amassed 520 yards of to­tal of­fense against Colorado State and ex­celled on spe­cial teams.

Mo­men­tum fi­nally seems theirs. They strive prov­ing they can keep it.

CRAVEN WHIT­LOW/NATE Allen Sports Ser­vice

Ra­zor­back ju­nior quar­ter­back Nick Starkel throws for a touch­down against Colorado State last Satur­day af­ter­noon at Don­ald W. Reynolds Ra­zor­back Sta­dium in Fayet­teville. Starkel passed 20 of 35 for 305 yards and three touch­downs in last week’s win.

CRAVEN WHIT­LOW/NATE Allen Sports Ser­vice

Ra­zor­back fresh­man wide re­ceiver Trey­lon Burks, 16, moves the chains for a first down against Colorado State last Satur­day af­ter­noon at Don­ald W. Reynolds Ra­zor­back Sta­dium in Fayet­teville. Burks led the re­ceivers with 92 yards, adding four catches in last week’s win.

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