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CNN/SI Front '98-'99 Bowl Front More College Football news Schedule Scoreboard Picks Bowl Grid Stat Matchups Past Champs Extinct Bowls Message Boards Fan Poll
 

The Breakdown

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Posted: Monday December 21, 1998 05:27 PM

Arkansas
(9-2 record; Houston Nutt, 1st year)
Michigan
(9-3 record; Lloyd Carr, 4th year)
School's Bowl Record: 9-16-3

Coach's Bowl Record: 0-0

Last Bowl Appearance: December 30, 1995 (Lost to North Carolina 20-10 in Carquest Bowl)

Record in Citrus Bowl: First appearance
School's Bowl Record: 1-2

Coach's Bowl Record: 14-15

Last Bowl Appearance: January 1, 1998 (Beat Washington State 21-16 in Rose Bowl)

Record in Citrus Bowl: First appearance
Offensive Stud
Clint Stoerner, QB, Jr. (167-312, 2,629 yards, 26 TDs, 8 INTs): Broke school records for completions and touchdowns, plus had impressive TD/INT ratio. Tai Streets, WR, Sr. (60 catches, 906 yards, 11 TDs): Lanky (6' 4", 194 pounds) receiver with great hands became go-to guy; watch him in jump-ball situations.
Defensive Stud
Zac Painter, Rover, Sr. (74 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 INTs): Former cornerback quickly adapted to newly created position -- only two picks entering season. Sam Sword, LB, Sr. (112 tackles, 3 sacks, 11 TFLs): Rock-steady inside 'backer has led team in tackles for three straight years.
Player to Watch
Anthony Lucas, WR, Jr. (43 catches, 1,004 yards, 10 TDs): Big (6'3", 196 pounds) target matched his career totals in one season; whopping 23.3 yards per catch. Aaron Shea, FB, Jr. (16 carries, 73 yards rushing; 14 catches, 144 yards, 1 TD receiving): Coverted tight end grew into role as season progressed; crunching blocks are key to running game.
Key Stats
No. 7 nationally in rushing defense (95.5 ypg); No. 16 in scoring defense (16.5 ppg). No. 15 nationally in total defense (299.3 ypg); No. 14 in scoring defense (17.0).
Surprise Stat
Razorbacks' point total (359) was highest since school-record 402 in 1970. Wolverines need to win this game to avoid fifth four-loss season in last six years, interrupted only by 1997's co-national championship.
1998 Turning Point
November 14 -- Stoerner's late fumble handed Tennessee a 28-24 victory. A week later the Hogs were knocked out of the SEC title game by Mississippi State. November 7 -- After six straight uninspiring victories, Wolverines showed they were for real by shutting out Penn State 27-0.
Key to Victory
Keep Michigan from scoring any big-play touchdowns. Reduce miscues (i.e., penalties and turnovers) and don't play conservatively.
Outlook
The Razorbacks have lost six straight bowl games, but this is a new era in Arkansas football. These two clubs seem very evenly matched, and this could be one of the best games of the postseason. If the Wolverines play well, they have the edge because of experience. But Arkansas has shown that it is a completely different program now. Expect a battle between two tough defenses and diverse offenses.

 
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