STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 16 Mississippi State football team is gearing up to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in its home opener on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT inside Davis Wade Stadium.
Let’s take a look at the special teams of Arkansas, an area where the Razorbacks really struggled in Saturday’s 37-10 loss to No. 4 Georgia.
Arkansas graduate transfer kicker A.J. Reed, who joined the Razorbacks after four years with the Duke Blue Devils, made his only field goal attempt last week, a 25-yarder. He also made one extra point in the game. In his career, he has made 19-of-25 field goal attempts, including a career-long of 51.
Arkansas was set to test the leg of Reed with a 54-yard attempt, but the Razorbacks were forced to punt after a delay of game penalty backed them out of Reed’s range.
Junior punter George Caratan, who joins the Razorbacks after two seasons on Michigan’s roster, punted six times last week and averaged 48.0 yards with a long of 57 yards. He had one punt blocked in the game, which set up a quick touchdown drive for Georgia.
Senior punter Sam Loy punted twice for 81 yards.
Special teams coverage was a major issue for the Razorbacks last week. They gave up several big kick returns and punt returns throughout the game. Georgia sophomore running back Kenny McIntosh had two big kickoff returns for 48 and 43 yards, respectively. Sophomore wide receiver Kearis Jackson and sophomore defensive back Tyrique Stevenson combined for 19 yards per punt return in the game.
We’ll see if Arkansas has these same special team struggles and allows the Bulldogs to dominate the field position throughout the Week 2 showdown.