Arkansas football vs. Eastern Illinois: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score
Razorbacks host Eastern Illinois in season opener
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Chad Morris era begins on Saturday, as Arkansas opens the season at home against Eastern Illinois. The new-look Razorbacks hope Morris’ up-tempo offense steals the spotlight and pumps some life into a program that needs a rebirth.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: None
Morris took over as coach during the offseason after Bret Bielema was fired following a disappointing 4-8 campaign. During the last eight seasons as the offensive coordinator at Clemson and head coach at SMU, Morris’ offenses averaged 460.5 yards and 35.4 points.
The Panthers are coached by former Arkansas receiver Kim Dameron and run a similar hurry-up offense to Morris’ up-tempo scheme.
“I can assure you, we’re going to get their absolute best,” Morris told reporters. “There’s no doubt about that. This is a very scary football team.”
ABOUT EASTERN ILLINOIS (2017: 6-5)
The Panthers have installed the Air Raid offense, but they haven’t yet committed to which quarterback will run it. Transfers Johnathan Brantley (Tulane) and Harry Woodbery (Navarro JC) have competed for the job, and both are likely to see action Saturday.
The defense lost its top three tacklers from last season and will start five sophomores.
ABOUT ARKANSAS (2017: 4-8)
Morris hands the reins of his high-powered offense to Cole Kelley, who took over as the starting quarterback late last season when Austin Allen was injured.
Four starting offensive linemen are back in front of Kelley, who has a talented receiving corps to target, but the question is whether or not the Razorbacks can outscore anyone. Linebackers Dre Greenlaw and De’Jon Harris, who combined for 218 tackles last season, return to anchor a defense that allowed an SEC-high 36.2 points per game in 2017.
1. Arkansas has won 19 of its last 21 season openers and 11 straight home openers.
2. The Razorbacks are 5-0 against current Ohio Valley Conference teams.
3. Eastern Illinois’ six wins last season came by a total of 15 points, with the largest margin being three.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 49, Eastern Illinois 27
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