Man, was this a weird game.
A really weird game.
Auburn ended up beating Arkansas 34-3, but any desires for a coherent offense weren’t realized as the Tigers were out of sync all night long at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Thanks to the defense and special teams, it didn’t really matter, and Auburn improved to 3-1 overall, and 1-1 in the SEC.
The complaints that will stem from this game will all come on offense. The offensive line couldn’t block a subpar Arkansas front, Jarrett Stidham had rushers in his face all night, and when he didn’t, there was nobody to throw to. Additionally, the run game barely got going until late, and Anders Carlson missed two field goals (albeit from 51 and 54 yards away).
They’re all legit complaints, and definite causes for concern with what we’ve got coming up on the schedule, but all things considered, Auburn played poorly and covered a 30-point line against a conference opponent.
Arkansas’ first drive of the game ended after just five plays, and a 48-yard punt return from Ryan Davis set Auburn up with great field position at the Razorback 27. Seven plays later, Boobee Whitlow scored from five yards out to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Auburn added a field goal from Anders Carlson after a Daniel Thomas fumble return set the Tigers up inside the five yard line, but Auburn couldn’t punch it in the end zone. That was just part of the problem tonight as the Tiger offensive line struggled mightily against Arkansas’ front seven. Either way, Auburn led 10-0 after one quarter.
The second quarter was mostly uneventful, save for Auburn partially blocking a punt and scoring a second touchdown on Jarrett Stidham’s four-yard scramble that gave the Tigers a 17-0 lead at halftime. During that stretch, Gus Malzahn called for another fourth-down attempt deep in the opponent’s end, and it failed eerily similarly to the first quarter of the LSU game. The highlight play of the game came on the final play of the half when Javaris Davis intercepted Ty Storey’s pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back on a block in the back penalty, and Anders Carlson missed a 51-yard field goal at the first half horn. Everyone went into the locker room angry.
In the third quarter, Noah Igbinoghene’s 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown answered Arkansas’ only points of the night (a short field goal), and put Auburn up 24-3 with nine minutes to go in the quarter. Arkansas’ next three drives went three-and-out, three-and-out, turnover on downs as the Auburn defense stood tall.
Leading 24-3, Auburn actually found a little offensive rhythm in the latter portion of the game, getting Stidham some easy passes and stringing together some lengthy runs to move the chains, and Boobee Whitlow scored from fifteen yards out midway through the fourth quarter to open up a 31-3 lead for the Tigers. A 37-yard punt return from Ryan Davis gave Auburn starting field position in the red zone for the third time on the night with six minutes to play, but a sack of Jarrett Stidham led to a field goal. Auburn went up 34-3 with four minutes left. The defense took care of the rest and ended any threat that Arkansas had to score any more points.
- Total Yards: 227
- Passing Yards: 134
- Rushing Yards: 93
- Penalties: 7-40
- Third Down: 4-13
- Total Yards: 290
- Passing Yards: 141
- Rushing Yards: 149
- Penalties: 8-57
- Third Down: 3-17
AUBURN: Jarrett Stidham - 15-22, 134 yards
ARKANSAS: Ty Storey - 13-31, 141 yards, 1 INT
AUBURN: Boobee Whitlow - 13 carries, 49 yards, 2 TDs; Kam Martin - 8 carries, 39 yards
ARKANSAS: Rakeem Boyd - 8 carries, 66 yards; Ty Storey - 12 carries, 44 yards
AUBURN: Ryan Davis - 6 catches, 40 yards; Anthony Schwartz - 3 catches, 59 yards
ARKANSAS: Rakeem Boyd - 2 catches, 39 yards
AUBURN: Jeremiah Dinson - 6 tackles, 1 TFL; Daniel Thomas - 6 tackles, FR; Marlon Davidson - 5 tackles, 4 QB hurries
ARKANSAS: Kamren Curl - 9 tackles
AUBURN: Noah Igbinoghene - 1 KOR TD (96 yards); Ryan Davis - 2 PR, 84 yards