Perhaps Auburn didn’t deserve to fall eleven spots in the polls after losing at LSU last weekend. When this team is on, it can beat anyone in the country. It’s just unfortunate for Arkansas and Bret Bielema that they happened to get in the way tonight.
Auburn stumbled through a bit of a slow half, but in the end a 28-point third quarter and 354 rushing yards were more than enough as the Tigers whipped Arkansas in front of the road crowd in Fayetteville 52-20.
The Tigers reached bowl eligibility with the victory, as their record now stands at 6-2 in time for the much-needed bye week before a road trip to Texas A&M comes on November 4th. Arkansas dropped yet another game and now sits at 2-5, and remains winless in the SEC.
Tonight we saw the resurgence of Kam Pettway, and the return of the nastiness that Auburn’s missed on defense over the last several quarters. Pettway scored three touchdowns and ran with the same reckless abandon we saw last year, while the defense allowed just six points thanks to six sacks and four forced fumbles.
It all started as Jarrett Stidham capped Auburn’s first drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, but the Razorbacks answered with a field goal on their second drive. Auburn would extend the lead to 17-3 after Daniel Carlson’s only field goal and a short Kerryon Johnson touchdown run in the second quarter, but Arkansas answered with another field goal and the Tigers led 17-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, things got wild as Gus Malzahn jammed his foot on the gas pedal hard, and kept the offense firing on all cylinders. The offense took the opening possession of the third quarter and rolled for 75 yards to the end zone, finishing on Kam Pettway’s first touchdown since the Mercer game. The next drive was much the same, with Pettway breaking free for a 38-yard score to open the game completely at 31-6 Auburn.
After another stop, Auburn went to the well and ended Arkansas’ will.
Ryan Davis took a reverse handoff and flung the ball downfield for Darius Slayton, who had broken free behind the defense. Slayton caught the ball in stride and raced for a 62-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 38-6 lead. Arkansas did return the ensuing kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown, but Auburn answered with Pettway’s third touchdown in the waning moments of the period to make it 45-13 heading into the fourth.
In the final quarter, Malik Willis subbed in for Jarrett Stidham and led a touchdown drive, completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Devan Barrett to put Auburn over the 50-point mark, and the Tigers cruised after that. Arkansas did score once more late in the game with backups in for Auburn on defense, but that was it as the Tigers won 52-20.
Jarrett Stidham went 19-28 for 218 yards and an interception, though he did run for 49 yards and a touchdown. Kam Pettway had three touchdowns and 90 yards on just eleven carries, while Kerryon Johnson scored his nation-leading 14th touchdown of the year to go along with 63 yards on the ground. Darius Slayton led the receiving effort with 146 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
The Tigers held Arkansas to 309 yards, with many of those coming late in the fourth against the backup defense, and gained 629 yards total on the night.
Auburn will enjoy a much-needed week off before hitting the road for the final game on this road swing when the Tigers visit Texas A&M on November 4th. Arkansas visits Ole Miss next weekend in an effort to get their first SEC win on the year.