Arkansas faces must-win on the road at Kentucky

Updated: October 30, 2003, 2:12 AM ET

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas needs a win over Kentucky this week to snap a three-game losing streak and to have any hope of matching last year's 9-3 regular season.

However, for Kentucky, a victory would put the Wildcats in position for a bowl berth. If the Wildcats lose, they will need a victory over Georgia or Tennessee to finish with six wins and make themselves bowl eligible.

That would point toward Kentucky (4-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) having more desire to win than Arkansas. The Wildcats still would need to beat Vanderbilt on Nov. 15, but the Commodores (1-8, 0-5) don't look like a threat.

As far as Arkansas (4-3, 1-3) is concerned, this game makes or breaks a season that once held so much promise.

The Razorbacks looked like they could beat anyone on the schedule after a 4-0 start, but now no one other than New Mexico State (2-6, 1-3 Sun Belt Conference) seems easy.

Even the Aggies could pose a threat because this is practically the same Arkansas team that needed a late interception to fend off a similar Louisiana-Lafayette team last year. Both are Sun Belt schools that struggle in their own league.

With its powerful running game shackled the past three weeks, Arkansas had problems moving the ball. The offense scored one touchdown against Auburn and Ole Miss and it didn't do anything against Florida until the final quarter.

Last week, the Razorbacks were without leading rushers Cedric Cobbs (hamstring) and De'Arrius Howard (ankle) and it showed with 82 yards on the ground. Howard and Cobbs turned out for practice Wednesday, but their status for Saturday is unknown.

Howard has started practicing this week, and Cobbs but Cobbs may miss another game.

Kentucky is allowing 356.1 yards per game, which is 40 yards less than Ole Miss averages. The Wildcats don't have as good a run defense as the Rebels, but they do have the pass rushers. They are second in the SEC with 22 sacks.

Meanwhile, Arkansas will be lucky to reach Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen. The Razorbacks would have trouble bringing down the 6-foot-4, 260-pound quarterback if they could reach him, but they haven't shown the ability to pressure opposing passers.

Arkansas is last in the SEC with seven sacks.

If the Razorbacks can't pressure Lorenzen (1,403 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs) and the offense can run, Kentucky will be the team one step closer to its bowl berth.

KENTUCKY 27, ARKANSAS 17

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New Mexico State takes its first crack at Arkansas this week with a reeling Arkansas State coming to town.

On Saturday, it will be three days shy of a month since Jerome Stegall recovered a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the Indians' 44-41 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas State (3-5, 1-2) hasn't scored since.

Ole Miss shut out the Indians 55-0 and after an off week, Utah State blanked them 49-0 last week.

NEW MEXICO STATE 21, ARKANSAS STATE 14

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Last week's record was 5-2. The overall season record is 41-24, a .631 winning percentage.

Predictions for other games being played this week:

HENDERSON STATE 38, OUACHITA BAPTIST 34

ARKANSAS TECH 28, WEST ALABAMA 14

DELTA STATE 31, HARDING 21

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS 41, ARKANSAS-MONTICELLO 31

CENTRAL ARKANSAS 24, WEST GEORGIA 20

ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF 27, JACKSON STATE 20

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index