Texas vs. Arkansas: Five questions facing the Longhorns
Five questions facing No. 15 Texas at Arkansas on Saturday night (6 p.m., ESPN):
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1. Will Jordan Whittington build on his season-opening breakout?
Whittington had himself a very nice Labor Day weekend. First, in last Saturday's 38-18 win over Louisiana, he recorded seven receptions, a career-high 113 receiving yards and a 14-yard touchdown catch. Two days later he threw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros' game. This weekend, Whittington will look for another strong showing against an Arkansas secondary led by all-SEC safety Jalen Catalon. Last year, Arkansas allowed 259.6 passing yards per game.
2. How will Texas fare in the red zone?
In the opener, Texas converted five trips in the red zone into five touchdowns. That 5-for-5 effort wasn't a bad start for a team that boasted only one top-40 red zone offense during Tom Herman's four years. Said new coach Steve Sarkisian: "We definitely are tactical in the red area and the things that we call are designed to be called when we're in the red area. Then there's also times in games when things come up that you do something that maybe wasn't meant to be that way." To that latter point, Sarkisian noted that Bijan Robinson's 7-yard touchdown run against Louisiana was the same play Texas had run on the previous snap, and they had hustled to the line when they noticed the Ragin' Cajuns linemen were tiring.
3. Will the offensive line play better in Fayetteville?
In its first game, Texas experienced mixed results on its offensive line. The Longhorns were twice called for holding, gave up three sacks and averaged just four yards per rush. Robinson, however, did top 100 rushing yards and Texas' rushing average improved after halftime. Texas expects right guard Junior Angilau (knee) to be available this weekend. Will the Longhorns fare better against a defense coordinated by former Missouri coach Barry Odom?
4. Does a transfer on the Texas defense stand out?
A handful of transfers had solid debuts last weekend. Ex-Notre Dame edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo's seven tackles ranked third on the team. Like Oghoufo, LSU's Ray Thornton registered a sack in his first game as a Longhorn. Cornerback Darion Dunn, a McNeese State graduate transfer, forced a fumble. This weekend, all hands on deck will be needed against an Arkansas team that has scored at least 30 points in five of its last eight games.
5. Which Lake Travis Cavalier will earn the most bragging rights?
Since his Cavaliers play at Rockwall on Friday night, it is probably a safe bet that Lake Travis football coach Hank Carter will be watching Saturday's game. Four of his former players should see significant playing time in Fayetteville. Texas quarterback Hudson Card, tight end Cade Brewer and kicker Cameron Dicker are former Lake Travis standouts. So is Arkansas' Nathan Parodi, who has found a role on special teams. Last week, Card threw a touchdown pass to Brewer and then Dicker kicked the extra point.
— Danny Davis