Hogs Host Tulsa

Baton Rouge , LA - Five years ago in its last matchup with Arkansas, Tulsa managed only 13 points five years ago. That would be a subpar total in one half these days for the Golden Hurricane.

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Boasting the nation's top-ranked offense, No. 19 Tulsa looks to remain undefeated and end a 16-game losing streak against Arkansas when the teams meet Saturday in a nonconference matchup.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Tulsa -7 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Tulsa -7 (View College Football bet percentages).

The Golden Hurricane entered their last game ranked for the first time since 1991, and they beat UCF 49-19 on Sunday night to improve to 8-0 for the sixth time in school history.

"It's pretty crazy, I'm not going to lie. It's obviously been a long time since we've been where we are," Tulsa quarterback David Johnson said.

Wins over the Razorbacks (3-5), however, have also been rare for the Golden Hurricane.

A victory over Arkansas in this contest would be Tulsa's first against the Razorbacks since Sept. 25, 1976, when it won 9-3 on the road. Arkansas won its last meeting with Tulsa 45-13 on Sept. 6, 2003, improving to 52-15-2 in the all-time series.

The Golden Hurricane, though, haven't been held under 20 points in nearly two years - they lost 25-13 to Utah on Dec. 23, 2006 - and currently boast the nation's top offense. Tulsa leads the FBS with 56.6 points and 624.7 yards per game, and has converted 61.0 percent of its third-down chances.

"I think it speaks volumes and it makes a statement about our program and what we're doing," coach Todd Graham said.

Johnson threw for 264 yards and a touchdown versus UCF, and ran for two more. The senior, who leads the nation with a 212.8 passer rating, has been named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's best college football quarterback.

In his first year as a starter, Johnson has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 2,661 yards and 32 TDs while throwing nine interceptions.

On defense, meanwhile, Tulsa is coming off one of its best efforts of the season, holding the Knights to 187 total yards and tallying nine sacks. The Golden Hurricane have Conference USA's second-ranked scoring defense, allowing 26.1 points per game, and have given up 1.3 yards per rush in their last two contests.

Arkansas figures to give that rush defense a challenge. Junior running back Michael Smith is the Razorbacks' top threat on offense, leading the SEC with 131.4 rushing yards per game.

Smith suffered a concussion in a 21-20 loss to Kentucky on Oct. 18, but didn't appear hampered in a 23-21 loss to Ole Miss last Saturday night. Smith was the only Arkansas running back to carry the ball, rushing for 129 yards and a TD on 19 carries.

"You can't say enough about how big his heart is and how tough he is," Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said.

Petrino will likely grind it out with Smith as Arkansas tries to avoid losing consecutive nonconference games, including a 52-10 loss to then-No. 7 Texas on Sept. 27. The last time the Razorbacks lost more than one nonconference game during the regular season was 1992, when they dropped matchups with The Citadel, Memphis State and Southern Methodist.

Arkansas has been disappointing under Petrino in his first year with the team, but it has managed to keep games close. The Razorbacks' last two losses were by a total of three points.

Injuries, though, won't help matters. Freshman free safety Elton Ford, who has started every game, could miss the rest of the season with a neck injury.

"He's basically out for the rest of the year," Petrino said. "It's unfortunate. He's been playing very well for us."

Offensive lineman Grant Cook will miss Saturday's game with a sprained knee. Defensive lineman Adrian Davis is also nursing a knee injury, and his status is uncertain.

This will be Arkansas' last game of the season in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have one more home game - against LSU in Little Rock on Nov. 28 to end the regular season.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
ARKANSAS is 1-1 against the spread versus TULSA since 1992
ARKANSAS is 2-0 straight up against TULSA since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.
All games played at ARKANSAS since 1992
ARKANSAS is 1-1 against the spread versus TULSA since 1992
ARKANSAS is 2-0 straight up against TULSA since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[FB] Charles Clay missed last game ~?~ - Undisclosed - 10/18/08
[WR] Jesse Meyer missed last game ~?~ - Undisclosed - 10/18/08
(!) [RB] Michael Smith left last game, ~?~ - Concussion - 10/19/08
[OL] Mitch Petrus out for the season - Eligibility - 09/09/08
[OL] Michael Aguirre is ~?~ - Knee - 10/22/08
[DL] Ernest Mitchell missed last few games, "?". - Knee - 10/21/08
[CB] Jamar Love upgraded to "?". - Thumb - 10/21/08
[WR] Marques Wade expected to miss the rest of the season - Knee - 09/22/0
[QB] Tyler Wilson is out indefinitely - Mononucleosis - 10/23/08

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Posted: 10/28/08 1:59 PM

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