Three Keys to Victory
3. Be Special
Carolina has had a fair bit of trouble in the special teams games over the past few weeks, and--say--a turnover on a punt return after a key stop could be disastrous in a game in which we'll need to make the most of each stop.
2. Find Some Way to Slow Down the Razorbacks' Passing Attack
One of the big narratives going into this game is the state of the Carolina pass defense against Arkansas's, to put it mildly, highly successful passing game. Even with Greg Childs not playing, Carolina will have to play a nearly perfect game to avoid giving up mucho passing yards. Heck, better defense's than Carolina's have had little success against these guys. Is it hopeless for us? It seems like that right now, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for (1) our secondary to do what it hasn't really done all year (even against 'Bama) and play a full game with no busted coverages and (2) for our big guys to get some pressure on Ryan Mallett. That could make the difference in this one.
1. Run the Football
The other way to slow down Arkansas's offense? Move the ball effectively ourselves, preferably in prolonged drives. That will help keep our defense fresh in a game where fatigue could certainly come into play for our depleted secondary. It will also, of course, help us score some points--Arkansas has had very little success slowing down good running games this year, so if we put this one in Brian Maddox and Marcus Lattimore's hands, we should be good to go.
What It Means
In some respects, this game doesn't mean a whole lot. The game is likely meaningless in the Eastern Division race, as Carolina will finish either second or first solely depending on what happens next weekend against Florida. That said, I still think there's a lot riding on this game. There's a lot of disagreement among fans about just what Carolina needs to do to call this a successful season, but one thing is for certain--there's little to no room for error. Every game counts from here on out if we're going to be able at the end of the day to call this the great season that we should be able to, and that means we need to pick up a win over a good and ranked Razorbacks team.
Like Phil Steele, I'm going with 38-35 Carolina. A late Lattimore TD makes the difference.