Jacksonville St. Comes to Fayetteville With Experience and Confidence
Jacksonville State is on the schedule this Saturday for Arkansas in the season opener, a name that probably won’t strike fear into fans’ eyes. But the one thing a lot of people don’t realize about Jacksonville State is they beat an SEC team two years ago.
In the 2010 season opener the Gamecocks stunned Ole Miss in double overtime. So they’ve been on the big stage before. Their head coach is also familiar with Arkansas. Jack Crowe was the Hogs’ head coach in the early 90s. Arkansas has been itching for this moment ever since last season ended. They come in with one mentality: to impress.
“This is a statement game for us,” said senior quarterback Tyler Wilson. “It’s the first time you guys are going to be able to see us live and the rest of our state. We’re going to put on a show.”
“Jacksonville State is going to be pumped up and ready to go,” said junior defensive end Chris Smith. “We’re going to be pumped up and ready to go too. We’re going to try to make them one dimensional and stop the run. That’s our main thing with every team. So we’re going to try and stop the run first and make them one dimensional. “
Jacksonville State feels pretty good about its offense. They have a lot of experience there, but the defense is extremely young though. Arkansas should be expected to move the ball whenever they want. For Jacksonville State, they’re going to have to bank on the fact that Arkansas’s defense has been suspect in the past. Head coach John L Smith is ready for that.
“The matchup for them as they look at it,” said Smith. “They have to say, ‘We feel pretty good about this. We’re a good offense. Taking a look Arkansas is good offensively; maybe not as good defensively according to what people think. So that matchup for us is good.’”
Arkansas has won its last five season openers scoring an average of 48 points.