NCAA Football: Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 18, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 4 p.m. ET, Sept. 18, 2021
Venue: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
Where to watch: SECN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Arkansas -23.5; O/U 52.5; Arkansas -2200, Georgia Southern +1100
BetMGM: Arkansas -24; O/U 52.5; Arkansas -2500, Georgia Southern +1000
Caesars: Arkansas -23.5; O/U 52.5; Arkansas -2800, Georgia Southern +1200

Season record
Georgia Southern: 1-1
No. 20 Arkansas: 2-0

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Georgia Southern - Arkansas preview and analysis


Recent form
Georgia Southern: lost 38-6 at Florida Atlantic on Sept. 11
Arkansas: won 40-21 vs. Texas on Sept. 11

Texas back? Not so fast, say the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Arkansas is back in the top 25 after pulling off the huge upset over the Texas Longhorns last week. Not bad after posting a combined 11-35 the past few seasons.

The Razorbacks are about to reach a month’s worth of games that are not meant for the weak of heart. But before Arkansas embarks on a rough patch of SEC play, the Hogs will wrap up non-conference play against the Georgia Southern Eagles for their third consecutive home game to begin the season.

Arkansas is coming off an incredible 40-21 victory over Texas on Saturday, a game in which the Longhorns were ranked No. 15 in the country. Following the loss, the Longhorns said goodbye to the AP Top 25.

The Razorbacks held Texas to a combined 256 yards, with 118 of them coming from quarterbacks Hudson Card and Casey Thompson. Meanwhile, Arkansas’ running game doubled the output Texas’ running backs put together. Behind 333 rushing yards and four touchdowns from four different running backs, Arkansas notched one of its more signature wins in a long time.

The run-first offense won’t mask quarterback KJ Jefferson’s inconsistencies forever. Jefferson did, however, complete 14-of-19 passes for 138 yards but threw an interception. But what he lacks in arm talent he makes up for with his legs; Jefferson ran for 73 yards on 10 carries, including a game-high 34-yard scamper.

This matchup with Arkansas could not have come at the worst time for Georgia Southern. It’s already been a rough start only winning by five against Gardner-Webb, but to get blown out on the road against the Florida Atlantic Owls 38-6 has not set things up well for this Saturday.

Eagles quarterback Cam Ransom has only 188 passing yards total this season, and now has to go on the road to an SEC stadium in what could be a dominant performance for the Razorbacks. Georgia Southern is going to need a big game from top running back Logan Wright, not only to keep the Arkansas offense off the field but to put points on the board themselves. 

By the way, that rough patch for Arkansas? Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Auburn. College football. What a way to live.

Prediction


Georgia Southern has not done well on the books, and going into what’s proving to be a tough opponent in the SEC is not the best way to keep things going. The Eagles can’t be trusted right now, and if Arkansas gets the running game to the second level, it’s going to be a long day for GSU. Arkansas by 27

Betting trends


Georgia Southern is 6-1 against the spread against SEC opponents, but that span stretches 30 seasons.

Arkansas is 95-23 in its last 118 games straight up.

Players to watch


Georgia Southern: Nose tackle C.J. Wright is going to need to be disruptive in the run game. He leads the Eagles with 2.5 sacks, but he’ll need to help in the run game.

Arkansas: If the Hogs do go to the air, Treylon Burks has been a reliable short-target receiver so far. Burks has a team-high 10 catches for 79 yards, his longest being 20. We’ll know where Arkansas is going to for the third down plays.

Statistical leaders


Georgia Southern:
Passing: Cam Ransom -- 188 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Logan Wright -- 206 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Gerald Green -- 71 yards
Defense: C.J. Wright -- 2.5 sacks

Arkansas:
Passing: KJ Jefferson -- 266 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Trelon Smith -- 177 yards, 2 TD; KJ Jefferson -- 162 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Tyson Morris -- 87 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Bumper Pool -- 24 tackles; Jalen Catalon -- 2 INT

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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