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Auburn 35, Arkansas 17: Initial thoughts on the Tigers' win

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An ugly 18-point win is better than an ugly 18-point loss.

Wesley Hitt

Auburn went into Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville Saturday night, and the Tigers left with a 35-17 win over Arkansas. The running game was impressive, and there was a big play in the passing game, but overall it was pretty ugly. Some initial thoughts:

  • Tre Mason. He apparently called for a 200-yard, three-touchdown game, and while he came up short in yardage (168), he found the end zone four times. A fine night from one of the most underrated running backs in the nation.
  • The 88-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Sammie Coates down the sideline was a thing of beauty. It was underthrown, but Coates made a great adjustment, and then somehow stayed on his feet without going out of bounds.
  • Auburn's defense looked unfocused almost all night. Yes there were three turnovers and some red zone stops. But other than that, there were a lot of missed assignments and poor fundamentals in coverage and on tackle attempts. Way too many shoulder tackles, and way too many incidents of DBs never looking back for the ball.
  • Swain's "injury." It's possible that he was actually hurt, but the way he went down was awfully embarrassing. You can't call out other teams for faking injuries and then do it yourself. And it looks like that's what Auburn did.
  • Bert trolled Auburn pretty hard with that swinging gate on the fourth-down conversion. Would have liked to see Gus try to pour it on after that, but he stayed conservative after stretching the lead back out to 18.
  • As long as these two are coaching, Auburn-Arkansas will have quite a bit of venom year in and year out.

We would have liked to see a little more dominance, but Auburn is 8-1 (4-1 SEC) and just won by 18 on the road with its worst game of the year. Tough to complain about that. If the Tigers can clean up the mistakes and get focused down the stretch, they'll be in good shape.