Game 1: UTEP | Saturday, Sept. 5 | Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CT
Tickets: Buy Now
The Arkansas Razorbacks will take the field for the first time in 2015 on Saturday afternoon as they face off against a UTEP team that went 7-6 and played in a bowl game a season ago.
Arkansas and UTEP have met twice before with the Razorbacks leading the all-time series, 2-0. The last meeting came on Nov. 13, 2010 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium where Arkansas posted a 58-21 victory behind five touchdown passes from Ryan Mallett, a mark that tied the single-game school record.
UTEP plays a style of football similar to that of head coach Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks. The Miners’ head coach, Sean Kugler, is a former offensive lineman who takes pride in winning the line of scrimmage. All five starters on the offensive line weigh more than 300 pounds and UTEP even has a tight end, Cedrick Lang, that is 6-9 and weighs 285 pounds. The offense is led by tailback Aaron Jones, a junior who rushed for 1,321 yards in 2014.
On defense, UTEP plays very aggressive. The unit is known to blitz early and often and will come at you from every direction. Their top returner is Alvin Jones, a sophomore linebacker who totaled 55 tackles including 9.0 for loss as a freshman.
There will be a family connection on the field Saturday as Razorback junior wide receiver Eric Hawkins takes on his first cousin, UTEP safety LaQuintus Dowell. Hawkins has said that Dowell was like a brother to him growing up and the two haven’t played on the same football field since high school. Despite their relationship, the two haven’t engaged in any smack talk this week. Their mothers? That may be a different story.
News & Notes
– Saturday marks the 122nd football season at the University of Arkansas.
– QB Brandon Allen is the most experienced quarterback in the SEC and will make his 22nd consecutive start Saturday.
– Head coach Bret Bielema is a staggering 34-2 (.944) in non-conference games as a head coach.
– No. 18 Arkansas is ranked for the first time under Bielema.
– The Razorbacks will be wearing helmet decals to honor former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and raise awareness for prostate cancer.
– At 327.6 pounds per player, Arkansas once again has the largest offensive line among all projected starters for NFL and Power 5 teams.