FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas will play its first SEC home game of the 2017 season on Saturday when it hosts No. 21 Auburn.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:39 p.m. CT. It will be televised on the SEC Network with Tom Hart (play-by-play), Jordan Rodgers (analyst) and Cole Cubelic (reporter) on the call.
Here’s 10 things to know heading into Saturday’s game:
1. This is Arkansas’ only SEC home game until Nov. 18 when Mississippi State comes to Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have won two of their last three SEC home games dating back to 2015.
2. The Razorbacks have won three of their past four against Auburn in Fayetteville, including the thrilling 54-46 four-overtime victory in 2015. The Tigers lead the all-time series 14-11-1, dating back to 1984, but the teams have split the last 10 meetings.
3. Arkansas’ losses this season have come against four opponents (Alabama, TCU, Texas A&M, South Carolina) that have a combined 23-4 record. Auburn will mark the fourth team in the current Coaches Poll Top 25 that the Razorbacks have faced through their first seven games.
4. Cole Kelley, filling in for injured starting quarterback Austin Allen, completed 23 of 42 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and one interception last Saturday at No. 1 Alabama in his first career start. Kelley, the 6-7 freshman, completed passes to eight different players on the night with nine completions converting first downs. Kelley’s top targets were Deon Stewart (6 catches, 65 yards) and Jordan Jones (four catches, 72 yards, 1 TD). Kelley connected with Jones for 46 yards — Arkansas’ longest play of the night and second-longest play of the season. He’s the first Arkansas freshman QB to start a game since Brandon Allen did at Alabama in 2012.
5. Jonathan Nance is one of three players in the SEC to record 100+ yards receiving in two SEC games. Through six games, Nance ranks among the top 10 in the SEC in TD receptions (5, T-3rd) receiving yards (377, 8th), receiving yards per game (62.8, 8th), receptions per game (4.0, T-10th), 20+ yard catches (7, T-6th), 30+ yard catches (5, T-3rd) and 40+ yard catches (3, T-6th). Nance has caught a touchdown pass in four of six games this season. Four of his five touchdowns have been over 30 yards (49, 44, 34 and 31 yards).
6. Behind double-digit tackle performances in each of Arkansas’ three SEC games, De’Jon Harris ranks fifth in the SEC in total tackles (55) and second in total tackles per game (9.17). He has totaled 38 tackles against SEC teams to rank fourth in the conference and second in tackles per SEC game (12.67).
7. After being named the highest-graded center a year ago by Pro Football Focus, senior Frank Ragnow boasts the top grade among all offensive linemen in college football at 93.7 overall through seven weeks. Ragnow will make his 33rd consecutive start on the offensive line Saturday. Dating back to 2015, Ragnow’s stretch of 32 consecutive starts (17 at center and 15 at right guard) is the longest active streak on the team). Ragnow is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy, Wuerffel Trophy and Senior CLASS Award. One of Arkansas’ “Iron Men” the past three seasons, Ragnow has played 2,270 of a possible 2,313 snaps over 32 games. He’s played 100 percent of snaps in 23 games. As a true freshman in 2014, Ragnow saw action in nine games and participated in 260 snaps. One of the most impressive parts of his career is that he hasn’t allowed a sack, playing a total of 1,205 snaps in pass protection.
8. Freshman cornerback Kamren Curl was forced to step into the starting role when junior Ryan Pulley went down with an injury in the season opener. A product of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Curl came off the bench with three tackles and a pass breakup in the season opener. After six games, including five starts, Curl is fourth on the team in tackles (25), leads all SEC freshmen in tackles per game (4.2) and is tied for the team lead in pass breakups (4). Curl has been solid in coverage this season, boasting the third-lowest passer rating when targeted after seven weeks among SEC true freshmen cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus.
9. Among all SEC cornerbacks to log 160+ snaps in coverage, senior cornerback Henre’ Toliver is allowing the fifth-fewest yards per snap (0.61) and has produced the fifth-lowest passer rating when targeted (50.3). Toliver is also the Razorbacks’ active career leader in interceptions (6), which is tied for No. 6 among active SEC Players. He’s tied for the team lead in single-season interceptions in two of the past three seasons, picking off two passes in both 2016 and 2014. Toliver also ranks No. 10 in school history in career interception return yardage (131). His lone interception returned for a score came against Alcorn State on Oct. 1, 2016 and went 70 yards.
10. This season, 14 different Arkansas players have made a catch and 11 have made multiple catches. Six players have caught a touchdown pass. Nance leads the way with five followed by Deon Stewart and Jordan Jones with two each and Cheyenne O’Grady, David Williams and Jared Cornelius with one apiece.