ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS AT AUBURN TIGERS
Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN2 (Play-by-play: Beth Mowins, Analysis: Joey Galloway, Sideline: Tom Luginbill)
Opening line: Auburn -9.5 | Over-under: 54.5
Series history: Auburn leads 11-9-1 | At Auburn: Auburn leads 5-3-1 | Last 10: Tied 5-5
Last meeting: Arkansas 38, Auburn 14, Oct. 8, 2011, at Fayetteville, Ark.
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (1-4, 0-2 SEC)
Head coach: John L. Smith | Record vs. Auburn: 0-0
Offensive coordinator: Paul Petrino (spread/multiple) | Defensive coordinator: Paul Haynes (4-3)
Arkansas' nightmare season drags on with a date at Auburn. After the 2011 season, many thought 2012 would be the year the Razorbacks would finally contend for an SEC and national title. Instead, head coach Bobby Petrino was shamefully fired, and interim coach John L. Smith has sent the Razorbacks into a smoldering crater. Auburn has had a difficult time on defense this season, but compared to Arkansas, the Tigers have looked like the 1970's Steelers. Arkansas is giving up 40.6 points and 510.2 yards per game. Shockingly, both of those numbers rank at the bottom of the SEC. Even on offense, the Hogs have struggled. Arkansas is known for lighting up the scoreboard, but it is averaging 23.2 points per game, which ranks 11th in the conference.
In their last game, the Razorbacks looked like a truly broken team. In a 58-10 embarrassment at Texas A&M, Arkansas turned the ball over three times and allowed A&M to pile up 716 yards -- 453 passing, 218 rushing -- and 32 first downs. For most of the game, the Razorbacks looked like a team that had given up.
KEY RAZORBACKS ON OFFENSE
Tyler Wilson, QB -- Wilson is everything to the Arkansas offense. He averages an SEC-leading 338.8 yards per game and has thrown for nine touchdowns this season. But even with those numbers, he hasn't been great this season. Wilson has nine interceptions and has completed just 54 percent of his passes. (For comparison, Kiehl Frazier has completed 52 percent of his passes.)
Knile Davis, RB -- Davis was one of the most explosive running backs in the country when he broke out in 2010, but after missing all of 2011 with a broken ankle, he has struggled in 2012. Davis is averaging just 54.6 yards per game and has found the end zone twice this season. He had 129 total yards against A&M, but three fumbles put a damper on his day. Keeping a handle on the ball has been a problem for Davis this season; he has fumbled seven times and turned it over thrice.
Cobi Hamilton, WR -- Hamilton may be the Razorbacks' most important player on Saturday. Led by an incredible 303-yard performance against Rutgers, he is averaging 188.2 yards per game this season and has four touchdowns on 31 catches. At 6'3, 209 pounds, Hamilton has the size and ability to take over any game.
KEY RAZORBACKS ON DEFENSE
Chris Smith, DE -- Smith is a good-sized end -- 6'3, 251 pounds -- and has generated just about the only bit of pass rush for the Razorbacks this season. In 2012, he has 18 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and five QB hurries.
Alonzo Highsmith, LB -- Highsmith is Arkansas' leader in the middle of the defense. His 51 tackles lead the team, and he has three tackles for loss, one sack, one QB hurry and one fumble recovery.
Ross Rasner, S -- The Razorbacks' secondary has been awful this season, so Rasner is sort of like the hippest guy at a Star Trek convention. He has the Hogs' lone interception and has broken up three passes. Rasner also has 37 tackles, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.