Saturday, January 2, 2010
Arkansas-East Carolina Prediction: Liberty Bowl Preview
The Razorbacks are looking to break a bowl losing streak where they have lost 10 of their past 12 and break out of an overall bowl funk. Only five BCS teams have worse bowl records than Arkansas' 35 percent and none of those teams have played in as many bowls as the Razorbacks' 36.
East Carolina is hoping to avenge a Liberty Bowl loss from a year ago to Kentucky. Skip Holtz's Pirates won their second straight Conference USA title and are going for their first 10 win season since 1991.
When you talk about Arkansas' offense you have to start the discussion with their passing game led by QB Ryan Mallett. The redshirt sophomore has flourished in his first year under Bobby Petrino throwing for over 300 yards per game including 10 completions of 50 yards.
The Pirates rank 110th in pass defense nationally surrendering 262 per game. East Carolina allowed Houston threw the ball for 557 in the Conf. USA title game.
But East Carolina's defense does a very good job of keeping teams off the scoreboard allowing just 22 points per game despite giving up 386 yards per game.
It will be imperative for the Razorbacks to convert in the red zone where they have all season. Arkansas ranks second nationally in scoring conversions at 96 percent. Their 74 percent touchdown ratio ranks fourth.
If Arkansas continues their red zone success, I think that will be the key to victory against a ECU defense that will let them move the ball up and down the field.
The Razorbacks depleted defense will also yield points and yards to East Carolina, but Arkansas has too much fire power on offense and wins in a shoot out.
Arkansas 38 East Carolina 30
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