Three Things To Know About BYU Football Opponent Arkansas

Jun 14, 2023, 10:35 AM

BYU Football, Arkansas, Kickoff Time...

BYU football will travel to Arkansas during the 2023 nonconference schedule. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

(Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – BYU football has one non-conference game against a Power Five opponent. It’s a revenge opportunity as BYU travels to SEC Country to face the Arkansas Razorbacks.

BYU’s first visit to Fayetteville in program history will be on September 16.

Last season, Arkansas crushed BYU 52-35 as the Hogs racked up 644 yards of offense in the blowout win in Provo.


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BYU at Arkansas

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Location: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m.


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

RELATED: 10 Must-Watch Big 12 Nonconference Games In 2023

Arkansas has one of the best backfields in college football

BYU knows all too well the Hogs’ talent in their offensive backfield. KJ Jefferson returns at quarterback, and Raheim “Rocket” Sanders at running back. Both players combined for 574 of Arkansas’ 644 yards on BYU a season ago.

They are considered the best backfield in the SEC and arguably the country entering the 2023 season.

Sanders was a first-team All-SEC pick on his way to rushing for 1,443 yards and ten touchdowns last season.

BYU has a new defensive coordinator in Jay Hill. Trying to stop Sanders and Jefferson will be the first big barometer check of how improved BYU’s defense is in 2023 compared to a season ago.

New coordinators

One positive for BYU is that Arkansas won’t have the same offensive play caller this fall. Last year, the Hogs had Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator, but he bolted for the same position and associate head coach title at TCU.

Replacing Briles is Dan Enos, who has a history working with Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman. Pittman and Enos were on the same Arkansas staff in 2015. Enos was the offensive coordinator, and Pittman was the associate head coach coaching the offensive line under Bret Bielema.

The tempo of last year’s Arkansas offense probably goes out the window to a more smashmouth attack. We shall see this fall.

On the defensive side, Arkansas has a new coordinator there as well. Barry Odom left Fayetteville to be the head coach at UNLV in the Mountain West after a season where Arkansas was 123rd nationally in total defense.

Travis Williams is the new defensive coordinator after two seasons as the DC at UCF and before that as a co-defensive coordinator at Auburn under Gus Malzahn.

Find BYU Football’s 2023 schedule here.

Don’t sleep on Arkansas because of last year’s record

Arkansas was a preseason sleeper last year to potentially contend in the SEC West. That never materialized, as they finished with a 7-6 record. But when you look at the finishes in many of the games, the Hogs had close calls.

Arkansas lost four games last season by a combined nine points. Each of those four losses were by a field goal or less. If Arkansas wins those games, they were an 11-2 team last season.

There’s no margin for error for a program like Arkansas in the SEC. But they have shown under Pittman that they are a tough out for anyone in the SEC.

The BYU game for Arkansas will be important, as three of their next four are on the road. Two of those will be against SEC West favorites LSU and Alabama.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Three Things To Know About BYU Football Opponent Arkansas