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Countdown to Kickoff: 99 Days

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It took a little of everything for Auburn to win a wild shootout against the Hawgs in 2010, including a 99 yard kick return by Onterio McCalebb

Arkansas v Auburn Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

On October 16th, 2010, the 7th ranked Auburn Tigers welcomed the 12th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks to town lead by notorious biker man Bobby Petrino. It was expected to be a wild shootout with Ryan Mallett leading a Hawg attack loaded with wide receiver talent (Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs and Cobi Hamilton) but also had a threat out of the backfield in Knile Davis. A shootout is exactly what happened though not necessarily in the manner anyone would have predicted.

Just past the 10 minute mark in the 2nd quarter, Nick Fairley did what Nick Fairley does. He crushed the quarterback. The eventual Lombardi award winner got some late pressure on Mallett and planted the big man moments after he got rid of the ball.

Mallett was diagnosed with a concussion and would leave the game. Obviously, Arkansas losing their stud QB on the road would slow down the Hawgs attack and Auburn would be able to easily cruise to a victory behind their Heisman winner.

Someone forgot to tell Tyler Wilson...

Wilson came off the bench and went 25/34 for 332 yds and 4 touchdowns. Two late interceptions proved costly but overall there was little to no drop off in Arkansas’s offensive attack after Mallett’s departure. So even with Mallet out of the game, the Tigers were in for a shootout.

Good thing the 2010 Auburn Tigers lived for shootouts.

Auburn would score 65 points that day en route to wild victory but one of those touchdown drives only had to go one measly yard for the score. Why? Because Onterio McCalebb is a very fast man.

After a 37 yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Wingo Jr cut the Tigesr lead to two, the Hawgs kicked the ball deep to OMac who fielded it in the endzone. He came out angling right when he was swarmed by three Arkansas defenders. Fortunately for Auburn’s speedy tailback, neither of those 3 defenders felt like making a tackle and OMac was able to squirt through a small hole and explode into the open field. McCalebb’s speed is on beautiful display here as he hits the jets and is able to get by almost all of Arkansas’s defenders who have good angles.

Give #26 all the credit in the world for a tremendous effort on this play to prevent this from being a touchdown. But look how he has a 10 yard head start on OMac along with an insane angle and it still took a diving effort to stop #23 from speeding into the endzone. Not sure there’s been a better home run threat than the squirrel catcher.

That 99 yard return would set Auburn up at the 1 yard line which is pretty much an automatic touchdown with Cam Newton in the backfield. Arkansas battled back and took the lead early in the 4th quarter before the eventual national champion rose up and did what they did all season long: make big plays in big moments to win big games. If you’ve got 3 hours to kill, go relive the insanity that was Auburn football in 2010 and try not to giggle every time you see Petrino on the sideline not sporting a neck brace.

99 days till kickoff! War Eagle!