Troy-Arkansas Preview

After suffering what coach Bobby Petrino called “concussion-like
symptoms” in Arkansas’ last game, quarterback Tyler Wilson should
be ready to go Saturday night. Even if he can’t, the team should be
just fine with Brandon Mitchell under center.

The 14th-ranked Razorbacks look to move to 28-0 against Sun Belt
opponents as they face a Troy team playing for the first time in
two weeks.

After completing 18 of 24 passes for 260 yards and two
touchdowns in his first career start – a 51-7 victory over Missouri
State on Sept. 3 – Wilson did not play in the second half of last
Saturday’s 52-3 win against New Mexico after getting injured during
a 7-yard TD run in the closing seconds of the second quarter.

“Obviously, you want to minimize the amount of contact you get
during the course of a game,” said Wilson, who also landed on his
head in the season opener while trying to dive for the end zone.
“Obviously, I’m going to try and lessen that approach as I move
forward. I’ll probably try to get out of the way a little bit
more.”

Wilson ran with his teammates Sunday and said he’s “feeling
good.”

Regardless of his condition, Mitchell will likely get plenty of
snaps for an offense that’s averaging 549.0 yards and has scored
its second-most points through two games in school history.

Mitchell is 18 for 24 for 218 yards with two TDs and no
interceptions, and the sophomore also ran for 59 yards and a score
last Saturday.

“I thought that was great for Brandon Mitchell, to get all that
experience,” Petrino said. “… I always felt like we’ll never know
how good Brandon is until it’s live and he gets opportunities to
run the ball.”

Dennis Johnson could get his first chance to carry the ball
after missing the first two games with an injured hamstring.

The junior could add another weapon to a backfield that will
likely be without last season’s leading rusher, Knile Davis, for
the year after he suffered a fractured left ankle in a preseason
scrimmage.

Junior Ronnie Wingo carried 12 times for 73 yards last weekend
as the Razorbacks rushed for 259.

Arkansas ran for 6.2 yards per carry after posting a 3.1 average
in the season opener.

“I was happy with the improvement we made from game one to game
two,” Petrino said. “… Our playmakers made a lot of plays for us.
We looked fast. We looked decisive on what we were doing. I thought
both quarterbacks distributed the ball pretty well. I was happy
with the way we worked there.”

Troy coach Larry Blakeney is well aware of Arkansas’
high-powered offense and the special teams unit, which already has
three TDs, but he could be most impressed with the Razorbacks’
defense, which has allowed 10 points.

“They look like they’re much much better and more aggressive and
faster defensively,” Blakeney said.

That could cause problems for the Trojans’ Corey Robinson, who
completed 24 of 42 passes for 258 yards with a TD and an INT in a
43-19 season-opening loss at Clemson on Sept. 3.

Troy was outscored by 27 in the second half after taking a 16-13
lead into the locker room.

“When you play a big team like this, you can’t play one half,”
safety Brynden Trawick told the school’s official website. “You
have to be able to put four quarters together and I think that if
we do that we are going to be alright.”

The Trojans have dropped 11 straight to ranked teams since a
24-14 victory over then-No. 19 Missouri on Sept. 9, 2004.

Arkansas improved to 3-0 against Troy with a 56-20 victory in
Fayetteville on Nov. 14, 2009.