Zach Arnett
Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Arkansas hosts Mississippi State in SEC West Battle

The battle for dead last in the SEC West continues this week as Arkansas hosts Mississippi State. Along with the Auburn Tigers, the Razorbacks and the Bulldogs have yet claim a conference victory. On Saturday, that will change for one of these teams.

The last time these two teams met, Mississippi State claimed at 40-17 home win.

Razorbacks’ Rough Patch

Despite beating Western Carolina and Kent State to start off the season, the Razorbacks have dropped their last five straight games, leaving them with a record of 2-5. Most recently, they played a close game against 11th-ranked, Alabama but the Crimson Tide prevailed 24-21.

The biggest issue with Arkansas is its inability to hold onto a lead. The Razorbacks led Alabama for most of the first quarter before allowing the Tide into the endzone, falling behind and never catching back up. And they put themselves in a similar situation the week before.

They grabbed an early lead against Ole Miss, fell behind during the second and third quarters, reclaimed the lead to start the fourth and then allowed the Rebels to score 10 unanswered points and beat them 27-20. The same series of unfortunate events for the Razorbacks ensued against Texas A&M, LSU and BYU.

Bulldog Blunders

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, can’t even grab get the lead against an SEC opponent. In their three games against conference opponents, Mississippi State has fallen behind early; the closest they have come to a lead was a third quarter tie with South Carolina that they were able to hold onto for about five minutes. South Carolina won that game 37-30. Alabama and LSU showed the Bulldogs no mercy, with the former taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and going home with a 40-14 win and the latter outscoring them 24-7 in the first half and leaving with a 41-14 win.

The team most recently took down non-conference opponent Western Michigan 41-28 on Oct. 7 to move to 3-3 on the year and will come into this match up well-rested after a bye week.

Looking Ahead

Heading into this game, Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett commented that despite its losing record, Arkansas is a very talented football team and many of its losses have been one-score games. He says his team has its hands full, especially given how physical the Razorbacks’ defense has been.

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is happy to be home as the Hogs have not played in front of their home crowd in over a month. He comments on the tough stretch that his team has seen so far, but says the biggest question surrounding his squad is if they are still playing hard and staying together as a team. He is optimistic that they are and says they are hungry for a win.

The game will kickoff at noon EST.

About Shelby Hickman

Shelby Hickman is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism with a specialization in sports and media.

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