The No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks kick off their 2011 schedule at home with a non-conference game against the Missouri State Bears on Saturday night.
Taking over at quarterback for the departed Ryan Mallett is junior Tyler Wilson, who has completed 67-of-109 passes for 740 yards and seven touchdowns during his Razorbacks career, including 25-of-34 for 332 yards and four touchdowns in a performance against the Auburn Tigers last October. Wilson has a deep and talented receiving corps to work with, as their top four wideouts from 2010 -- Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Cobi Hamilton and Jarius Wright -- return in 2011. All four on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
Senior defensive end Jake Bequette anchors an experienced Razorbacks defensive line, while tackling machine Jerry Franklin quarterbacks the defense from his middle linebacker spot. Franklin has led the team in tackles in each of the last three seasons, posting a career-high 100 tackles and 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2010. Cornerback Isaac Madison and safety Tramain Thomas (four interceptions) provide a play-making presence in the secondary.
The Bears are 1-24 all-time against FBS schools (and 0-6 all-time vs Arkansas) and will be without starting quarterback Trevor Wooden, who was suspended by head coach Terry Allen for violating an undisclosed team rule. Wooden moved to quarterback after catching 21 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown as a freshman. With Wooden out, redshirt freshman Mitchell Jenkins or true freshman Kierra Harris (a Texarana, Arkansas native) will start at quarterback. Most of the Bears' offensive production comes on the ground, as Missouri State averaged 214.0 rushing yards in 2010. Senior running backs Stephen Johnston (752 yards, five touchdowns) and Chris Douglas (1,051 yards, 11 touchdowns) both return for 2011.
Game date, time: Saturday September 3, 7pm ET (6pm local)
Location: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV channel: ESPN3.com, ESPN Gameplan
Spread: No line
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