While Auburn fans are used to playing the Hogs by now, they are a relative newcomer to Auburn's schedule in the grand scheme of things. In spite of a long history on both sides, the two schools never faced off until the 1984 Liberty Bowl - a 21-15 Auburn victory. They did not play again until Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992 as a part of the Western Division and have played every year since. The series is extremely close at 12-10-1. Arkansas has a habit of ruining Auburn's dreams. On at least two occasions a loss to the Hogs has kept Auburn from going to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship. Some have dubbed this phenomenon the "Hawg Hex." Arkansas is a team that always scares me, regardless of what their record may be for the season before we play.
2010 was no different. I was deployed during that season, so I had to watch the TV from my desk in the Joint Operations Center of Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. Thankfully it was the SEC 3:30pm game, so I was able to watch the game at 9:30pm local time instead of 2am as when I watched the National Championship. Arkansas came into the game ranked #12 led by Ryan Mallett, who was the most efficient QB in the SEC at the time. Auburn was, of course, led by Cam Newton and Nick Fairley. I was very nervous about this game given the ending to the Kentucky game right before thise one. Auburn had been tested early in the season, but Arkansas is when the team really started to take control.
It was a strange game that went back and forth. Mallett went down with a concussion early in the 2nd Quarter, but back-up Tyler Wilson stepped in and never missed a beat. Auburn seems to have a history of struggling with back-up QBs. Last year against Dak Prescott (though he wasn't the back-up by season's end) comes to mind, as well. Wilson led Arkansas well throughout the game. Auburn benefitted from a lot of great plays and some very questionable calls. Are there any Auburn fans who don't believe Fannin fumbled on that goal line early in the game? The defensive TD on a run-back late was on a fumble that was also questionable, although I don't believe there was any crystal clear evidence to over-turn that call.
In the end, it was Auburn's defense who stepped up with some key interceptions to give Auburn great field position to set up scores and the aforementioned fumble return for a touchdown to seal the victory over the Razorbacks. Mike Dyer finished the scoring with a 38 yard touchdown run on one of his few touches in the game. Dyer missed most of the game with some injury issues and you could see he wasn't completely full-speed on his touchdown run, but he was not going to be denied a score against his home-state Hawgs.
In the highest-scoring (non-overtime) game in SEC history, Auburn put away Arkansas and continued on the path towards the glory land of Glendale and the BCS National Championship game. It was the night I really began to gain confidence in the 2010 team and believe that maybe - just maybe - this team could go all the way.
So what game vs Arkansas do you remember the most? Or what event in a game vs Arkansas? The War Eagle Reader provided us with an excellent story from the 1993 game. Tell us about your memories of the Hawgs.