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2015 MAC football non-conference previews: Arkansas Razorbacks

Toledo will travel to Little Rock for a match-up with Arkansas.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

After a season where the Razorbacks finished 7-6, including a convincing 31-7 win over Texas, the Razorbacks finished the season with some momentum and will look to continue that going into this season.

While MAC schools historically have struggled mightily against the SEC (0-22 since 2010) Toledo has a chance to come in and make some noise in this match-up on September 12.  Arkansas will be coming off a game at home against UTEP, while the Toledo Rockets will be coming off of their season opener against the Stony Brook Seawolves.

The strength of this team is the running game, but it all starts with having a good core of offensive linemen. According to, Arkansas has by far the biggest offensive line in the SEC, with an average weight of over 321.1 pounds: that weight is more than all but one player on Toledo's entire roster. Leading the rushing attack is junior Alex Collins and senior Jonathan Williams, who both combined for 2,387 yards last sason. Williams was recently named to the SEC preseason All-SEC team, joining five other teammates on the three lists (Collins, tight end Hunter Henry, offensive linemen Dan Skipper, Denver Kirkland, and Sebastian Tratola).

When Arkansas isn't utilizing their downhill running game, Branden Allen is taking charge with their passing game under center. For all the hype being on this running game, Allen was still able to throw for 2,285 yards last season with 20 touchdowns. He returns, as do his top two targets, Henry and wide receiver Keon Hatcher.

Arkansas has a new offensive coordinator this season most of us here in the MAC are familiar with: Dan Enos. Enos decided to leave Central Michigan right before NSD 2015, dropping down from being a head coach to an offensive coordinator. He will have significant experience to use when Toledo comes to Little Rock, so that'll definitely be used to the Razorbacks' advantage. The rest of the Razorbacks staff will as well, as they played and defeated NIU last season 52-14.

On defense is where the Razorbacks have been known to struggle. Losing Trey Flowers, All-American Martrell Spaight, Alan Turner, and Tevin Mitchel is not going to help matter going into the season. The team does however, return several other impact starters, and will have the chance to prove the "experts" wrong as the season goes on.

If Toledo is going to have a chance in this game, they are going to need to get up early, and force Arkansas to throw the ball more than they want to. The SEC may have beat the MAC 22 times in a row since 2010, but Coach Campbell and his staff will have his team believing they can win, and that's half the battle.