Arkansas looks to get back on track against Florida International

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Florida International (4-7) at Arkansas (3-7), 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Line: Arkansas by 29 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Arkansas leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Sam Pittman’s job will be about the only thing on the line for Arkansas. The Razorbacks were eliminated from bowl eligibility last week in a 48-3 loss to Auburn. During a week in which two other disappointing teams fired their coaches — Mississippi State and Texas A&M — Pittman almost certainly needs to beat the Panthers to give himself a shot to make it past Thanksgiving.

KEY MATCHUP

KJ Jefferson vs. Jacolby Criswell. Both are Arkansas quarterbacks, so it isn’t a matchup of opposing sides. But Jefferson’s disappointing season, largely hampered by high sack totals, resulted in his being pulled for his back-up, Criswell, in the third quarter of the Auburn game. Jefferson, a preseason All-SEC second-team selection and a senior, remains Arkansas’ best quarterback, but Criswell’s results against the Tigers were superior in that game and would allow Pittman to give next year’s potential starter more experience.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida International: WR Kris Mitchell may be the best skill player on the field Saturday. His 50 catches don’t jump out as special on first look. But when considering FIU has completed 172 passes and Mitchell has six of the team’s seven receiving touchdowns, it seems opposing teams have had serious trouble with him all year.

Arkansas: Devon Manuel. He has dealt with a lingering stinger injury for a bulk of the season, but has been the team’s primary left tackle since Week 5. The sophomore, who didn’t make his first career start until that week, is expected to be the future of the offensive line, Pittman said. But the coach also has pointed out the team’s offensive tackles as weak spots for the last several weeks.

FACTS & FIGURES

Arkansas won the teams’ only previous meeting 58-10 in 2007. … Pittman’s job status came under its most significant scrutiny yet after the Auburn game. … Arkansas defensive coordinator Travis Williams was named a nominee for the Broyles Award earlier in the week. In his first year, he has turned a defense ranked 124th in FBS last year into the 50th-ranked defense in 2023. ... FIU is looking for its third road victory of the season, which would be its most since 2018. ... The Panthers' last game against a team from the SEC came in 2009 when they faced Florida.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football