BYU (4-2) vs. Arkansas (3-3)
Kickoff: 1:30 pm MDT
Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo (63,475)
Live stream: WatchESPN
Radio: 1160 AM/102.7 FM
Series: There is no series to speak of. BYU and Arkansas of the SEC are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. Arkansas will be just the second SEC program to visit Provo. Mississippi State visited in 2000 and 2016.
Weather: Perfect conditions for football should prevail Saturday in Provo, as temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s at kickoff and remain that way throughout the game. It could be a bit breezy, with gusts up to 7 mph possible. There is no rain in the forecast.
For BYU: The Cougars fell out of the rankings with last week’s 28-20 loss to Notre Dame, but finished that encounter in Las Vegas on a high note, outscoring the Irish 14-3 after falling behind 25-6 in the third quarter. BYU hasn’t lost consecutive games since the 2021 season when it fell at home to Boise State and on the road at Baylor.
For Arkansas: The Razorbacks make their first-ever visit to BYU knowing they can leave it all on the line because they have a bye next week before traveling to Auburn on Oct. 29, which will be their third straight game away from Fayetteville. They have lost three straight, but all is not lost considering those setbacks were to Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State.
What to watch for
BYU is slowly getting back to full strength, particularly on offense, after injuries have caused the Cougars to fall a bit below expectations the past few weeks. Quarterback Jaren Hall said Wednesday he is doing much better than last week when he struggled against Notre Dame partly due to a shoulder injury. Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said he is “hopeful” that receivers Gunner Romney and Chase Roberts and running back Miles Davis will be available to play in the matinee.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is 15-14 at the school and is in his third year at the helm. The Hogs will welcome back 6-foot-3, 242-pound quarterback KJ Jefferson, who missed the Miss State game with a concussion. The Razorbacks are averaging 29.5 points per game against one of the toughest schedules in the country. They give up 32.2 points per game and have been particularly weak against the pass, giving up 307.2 passing yards per game.
Raheem “Rocket” Sanders, RB, Arkansas: The Hogs have a plethora of outstanding running backs, but none better than Sanders, who has 695 yards on 125 carries for a 5.6 per-carry average. Look for the visitors, who are 7-0 in nonconference games under Pittman, to test BYU’s run defense throughout the contest, much like Notre Dame did last week. Sanders leads the SEC in rushing yards per game (115.8) and has also caught 14 passes for 185 yards.
“Arkansas has a physical defense, (with a) really experienced front seven. It has kinda been the story all year — great front seven. And then these guys have a physical secondary as well. Very experienced, great athletes. So it is another good defense. It will be another good challenge for us.” — BYU quarterback Jaren Hall.
“The great thing is it’s not a night game; it’s their homecoming and all those things. A white-out and all that kind of stuff, but it’s not a night game. So we’re not gonna get back at seven (in the morning), or whatever. And we’re off next week. We get a bye week. So if you’re going to have one that goes up to Utah, this is the perfect weekend to have it.” — Arkansas coach Sam Pittman.
BYU heads to Lynchburg, Virginia, to return a game to fellow college football independent Liberty. The Flames fell 31-24 in Provo in 2019. Liberty (5-1) plays host to FCS Gardner-Webb on Saturday and so it will likely be on a four-game winning streak when the Cougars roll into Williams Stadium. The Flames’ only loss was 37-36 at now-No. 14 Wake Forest.
Sept. 3 — BYU 50, South Florida 21
Sept. 10 — No. 25 BYU 26, No. 9 Baylor 20 (2OT)
Sept. 17 — No. 25 Oregon 41, No. 12 BYU 20
Sept. 24 — No. 19 BYU 38, Wyoming 24
Sept. 29 — No. 19 BYU 38, Utah State 26
October 8 — Notre Dame 28, No. 16 BYU 20
October 15 — BYU vs. Arkansas, 1:30 p.m. MDT
October 22 — BYU at Liberty
October 28 — BYU vs. East Carolina
Nov. 5 — BYU at Boise State
Nov. 12 — BYE
Nov. 19 — BYU vs. Utah Tech
Nov. 26 — BYU at Stanford.
All times MT