Things haven’t gone well during Chad Morris’ tenure as Arkansas’ head coach over the last two seasons.
The Razorbacks are just 4-16 overall and 0-13 in Southeastern Conference play during that span, and the program has lost 16-straight SEC games overall. But Morris feels that Saturday’s homecoming game against Mississippi State will finally be the game his team breaks through.
“We’re going to win this football game this week,” Morris said in his press conference on Monday.
Arkansas (2-6) is on a five-game losing streak. The Hogs’ only victories came at home against Portland State (20-13) in the season opener and Colorado State (55-34) on Sept. 14.
Arkansas had close calls against San Diego State, Texas A&M and Kentucky, losing all three games by seven points or less, but have been blown out in back-to-back games against Auburn (51-10) and at Alabama (48-7).
“This week is an opportunity to come back home, entering the month of November with an opportunity to change the dynamics of this program one week at a time and just us focusing on getting better,” Morris said. “And that is truly our concern and our focus right now is getting this football team better for Mississippi State.”
The Razorbacks last run in with MSU did not go so well. The Bulldogs blasted Arkansas 52-6 in Starkville last season rolling up 475 yards of offense while generating five sacks and three turnovers on defense and holding the Hogs out of the end zone.
“We traveled down there last year and it didn’t go like we planned,” Morris said. “Everybody in this building knows what happened. So I think these guys are going to be motivated.”
State has also had its share of struggles this season. The Bulldogs (3-5) have not tasted victory since a 28-13 win against Kentucky on Sept. 21.
“Mississippi State comes in as a team that’s much better than their record,” Morris said. “They’ve lost their last four games. But they’ve got one of the best running attacks in the SEC. They’ve got the league’s leading rusher and a quarterback that’s extremely mobile.”
Kylin Hill, who tops the conference with 793 rushing yards, did not play in the win over the Razorbacks last year due to injury. Hill’s back-up at the time, Aeris Williams, ran for 104 yards in his absence and the Bulldogs finished with 287 rushing yards as a team in that contest.
“Hill is an extremely gifted and talented running back, a junior,” Morris said. “He’s shifty and he’s powerful and that combination with him and Garrett Shrader, the true freshman quarterback, definitely make that a very, very tough running attack.”