NCAA Game Preview - Arkansas v TCU

 
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Streaking TCU meets 3-7 Arkansas in Texas Bowl

Arkansas Razorbacks at TCU Horned Frogs

  1. Arkansas leads the all-time series with TCU, 44-24-2, but the Horned Frogs took the last meeting, 28-7, in Fayetteville in 2017. This will be the third time in five seasons the teams meet -- prior to that, they had not squared off since 1991, the Razorbacks' final season in the Southwest Conference.
  2. Arkansas finished the regular season 3-7 to close out its fourth straight losing season and is making its first bowl appearance since a 35-24 loss to Virginia Tech in the 2016 Belk Bowl. The Razorbacks have allowed 50+ points in consecutive games for the second time in program history (also October 12-19, 2013); they have never allowed 50+ points in three straight games.
  3. Treylon Burks leads the Razorbacks with 820 receiving yards this season, fourth most in the SEC. He also leads the Hogs with 51 receptions and seven touchdown catches, one of seven FBS underclassmen to lead his team in all three categories.
  4. TCU is averaging 214.7 rushing yards per game this season, most in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs are on pace to lead their conference in rushing for the first time since 2002, when they led Conference USA with 203.2 yards per game.
  5. Max Duggan has 10 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns this season, one of four FBS players with 10 of each. He joins Kenny Hill (2016) as the only Horned Frogs in the last 20 seasons to tally 10+ passing touchdowns and 10+ rushing touchdowns in the same season.

Arkansas brings an unsightly 3-7 record and a four-game losing skid into the Texas Bowl to face TCU on New Year's Eve in Houston.

Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman isn't making any apologies.

"We'll always have folks who will say we were 3-7 and things of that nature. If you look at our schedule and look - obviously we played 10 SEC games, certainly played four I think of the top nine teams in the country," said Pittman, whose three wins were against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Teams did not need a winning record or a minimum number of victories this season to be eligible for a bowl due to the uncertainty of COVID-19.

The Horned Frogs (6-4), winners of three straight and five of their last six games, last faced the Razorbacks when they split a home-and-home series from 2016-17. TCU's winning streak includes a 29-22 victory over then-No. 15 Oklahoma State on Dec. 5.

The Texas Bowl will mark the Frogs' ninth game out of 11 played in Texas this season.

"Most of our kids are very excited, even the Louisiana kids because this is going to be an opportunity for their families to come watch them play," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "If it would have been somewhere out of state, going west or really further east, it would have been harder for them to do that."

Former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks is a big reason why Arkansas won its three games this season and lost three others -- to Auburn, LSU and Missouri - by a combined seven points.

Franks has revived his career at Arkansas after suffering a gruesome ankle injury with the Gators in the third game of last season.

"A game here and there, we were in every game and we were competing and we did a good job with that," said Franks, who was the 2018 Peach Bowl MVP with Florida. "I think the program is turned around and definitely headed in the right direction with Coach Pittman and all of the staff and everybody did a great job of getting the program going in the right direction."

He has thrown for 2,107 yards at a 68.5 percent completion rate with 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

While other NFL prospects are opting out of bowls, Franks said he will play in the Texas Bowl.

"I feel like it's just my duty," he said. "Not necessarily my duty, but for me, I want to stay and I want to finish the season out. I want to finish what I started."

TCU's running game dictates its performances.

It leads the Big 12 at 216.0 rushing yards per game. The Horned Frogs are 6-0 when running for at least 200 yards. They have averaged 275.0 yards per game rushing in their six wins and 124.3 in the four losses.

Quarterback Max Duggan leads TCU in rushing with 526 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has completed 146 of 240 passes for 1,795 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.

--Field Level Media

Updated December 24, 2020

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