1. Earn the Work: Arkansas ran the ball 40 times in the second half at Texas Tech. None of the carries went to Korliss Marshall, who was limited to 13 yards on five attempts in the win.

1. Earn the Work: Arkansas ran the ball 40 times in the second half at Texas Tech. None of the carries went to Korliss Marshall, who was limited to 13 yards on five attempts in the win.


Coach Bret Bielema said the reason is simple: the sophomore must earn the work.


"He has got to step up his preparation to get himself out on the field more," Bielema said. "And to give us an idea that he wants to be on the field more, he has to earn it during the week in practice."


Marshall didn’t help his cause after putting the ball on the ground twice against the Red Raiders, though neither play was ruled a fumble. The first came after he was upended on a kickoff and the ball popped out when he hit the ground. The second came on a rushing attempt, losing the ball after a defender grabbed his facemask. The penalty wiped out the fumble, which Marshall recovered.


Bielema said Marshall — who fumbled at Auburn after taking a shot to his forearm — hadn’t shown any ball security issues up until that point. But the close calls factored into the decision to keep the running back on the sideline when the Razorbacks were on offense in the second half.


Kody Walker became the third option at tailback, running for 30 yards on six carries in the fourth quarter.


"I didn’t go into Saturday and say we’re not going to take Korliss from the line of scrimmage ‘X’ number of plays because he has had bad ball security," Bielema said. "That isn’t the case. But now you have put it on film and film does not lie."


Marshall, who didn’t play against Nicholls State because of an arm injury, has rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries this season. He ranks fifth on the team in rushing behind Alex Collins (50 carries, 411 yards), Jonathan Williams (33 carries, 322 yards), Keon Hatcher (3 carries, 98 yards) and Walker (14 carries, 67 yards).


"You’ve got to take care of the football and that’s something we’re always preaching," Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas said. "He went back to work (Tuesday) in great spirits and hopefully he gets the opportunity to get out and show what he can do because he has plenty of talent and ability.


"Obviously we have to makes sure he makes the most of his opportunity when he’s out there."


2. Remember When?: Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman is very familiar with Northern Illinois.


Pittman had two coaching stints with the program in 1994-95 and 2003-06. He said working on former NIU head coach Joe Novak’s staff during his second stint at the school served as a key moment professionally.


"One of the best things that’s happened to me in my career (was) working for Joe Novak and ever since then it’s been North Carolina, Tennessee and now Arkansas," Pittman said. "So I owe him a lot for what happened with my career."


Pittman was part of the program for its wins against Alabama and Maryland in 2003. He also was at NIU for its only other meeting with Arkansas in 1994, when the Razorbacks beat the Huskies 30-27.


Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. led the Razorbacks to the win with a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Pittman said he forgot Lunney was the star of the game and "tore our heart out at that time." But Pittman also said the former Arkansas quarterback has reminded him this week.


"I remember the game vividly," Pittman said. "My old high school coach came down and I had a couple of high school teammates that came to the game. … So it was really special being able to come back and we played pretty well on offense that day. We just didn’t have enough to score to beat the Razorbacks."


3. Ground Success: Arkansas enters Saturday’s game ranked second in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 362 yards a game. Northern Illinois isn’t far behind.


The Huskies are seventh in the NCAA in rushing (325.3 yards).


"You have to run the ball," NIU coach Rod Carey said. "I don’t care if you’re spread no-huddle or if you’re a two-back huddle team. Running the ball is a consistent in football. If you can’t run the football then you’re usually not winning the battle up front. If you’re not winning the battle up front you’re usually not winning the game."


Senior Akeem Daniels leads the Northern Illinois rushing attack with 202 yards on 34 carries, but the Huskies have other options. Tailbacks Joel Bouagnon (36 carries, 172 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Cameron Stingily (23 carries, 148 yards, 2 touchdowns) also have topped the 100-yard mark through three games. So has quarterback Drew Hare (30 carries, 156 yards, 2 touchdowns).


The run game is the foundation of an NIU offense averaging 550.7 yards a game.


"They can run it. They can throw it," Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said. "So we’ll have our hands full."


4. Extra Points


• Wide receivers coach Michael Smith said the Razorbacks haven’t made a final decision on whether freshman Jojo Robinson will play this season. Robinson missed the opener because of injuries and hasn’t been on the field. Smith said Robinson’s health will be key in the outcome. "He’s still trying to get healthy," Smith said. "We’re going to make a decision here pretty soon because you start getting into conference play, you’ve got to make a decision what you’re going to do with him."


• Thomas said Collins gained 156 yards after contact at Texas Tech, while Williams had 101. So the duo combined to gain 257 of their 357 yards after contact in the 49-28 win. "It just shows how hard they’re running after that first contact," Thomas said. "It starts to wear as the game goes on."


• NIU will celebrate a memorable anniversary when it plays at Arkansas. It’s 11 years to the day of the program’s only win against an SEC school. NIU beat Alabama 19-16 on Sept. 20, 2003, behind a 156-yard rushing performance from Michael Turner. The Huskies enter Saturday’s game 1-9 against SEC programs.


• Linebacker Brooks Ellis was named the SEC’s football community service team player of the week.


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau