Continued from page 9

Series Record: First meeting.

What’s at Stake

It’s been a while since Arkansas entered a season with such unconditional excitement from the fan base. Led by QB Ryan Mallett, the Razorbacks are ranked as high as they’ve been during the preseason in two decades _ and with an aesthetically pleasing offense to boot. They will be expected to delight the home crowd with a blowout win in the opener, while sending a warning to the rest of the SEC.

Key Matchup

Arkansas K Alex Tejada vs. Arkansas K Zach Hocker. Tejada, a senior, has been competing with Hocker, a freshman, and coach Bobby Petrino is in no rush to endorse either. Even if Tejada is the choice, the coach’s patience could be thin because of past struggles. With Tennessee Tech’s defense unlikely to contain Arkansas, this competition could be the game’s biggest suspense.

Players to Watch

Tennessee Tech: WR Tim Benford, who caught 33 passes for 580 yards last season and will try to exploit the Arkansas secondary and keep the Golden Eagles in the game.

Arkansas: TE D.J. Williams. One of few quibbles with Mallett last season was that he didn’t use Williams enough. If the two show better chemistry this season, the Razorbacks will be that much more dangerous.

Facts & Figures

Arkansas returns players who accounted for 100 percent of its yards passing in 2010, 85 percent of its yards receiving and 75 percent of its yards rushing. … Tennessee Tech’s six wins last season were its most since 2004. … Mallett has thrown for a touchdown in 12 of 13 games as a Razorback. … Tennessee Tech is one of three Ohio Valley teams opening the season against the SEC. Jacksonville State opens at Mississippi, and Tennessee-Martin is at Tennessee.

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No. 18 North Carolina vs. No 21 LSU at Atlanta, 8 p.m. (ABC)

Line: LSU by 3.

Series Record: First meeting.

What’s at Stake

Story Continues →