BOX SCORE Auburn 45, Arkansas 21
Arkansas hung around for a half, but the No. 5 Auburn Tigers were too strong and pulled away with 24 unanswered points to seal a 45-21 win Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn (Ala.).
What Went Right
Brandon Allen. The junior did throw a game-changing pick-6 after a great hit by Robenson Thereize in the third quarter, but he answered a lot of Arkansas' quarterback concerns going forward. He was 18 of 31 for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, and he dealt with key drops by Keon Hatcher and Demetrius Wilson.
Arkansas' first-half running game. The Hogs rushed for 151 in the first two quarters, with Korliss Marshall going for 39 yards on 7 carries, Alex Collins putting up 73 yards on 7 touches, and Jonathan Williams gaining 34 yards and a touchdown on 7 carries. The Razorbacks dominated Auburn's defensive line enough to make it a 21-21 game at halftime.
The Hogs didn't quit early on. Last year's team gave up way too early, way too often. Arkansas got down 21-7 against the Tigers but didn't let up. The Razorbacks answered with a score, followed it with their first defensive stop of the game, and finished the first half with another touchdown to even the score at the break. After a key third-down drop and a pick-6 in the second half, Arkansas continued to play hard. The game then went into a delay and Auburn had its way with Arkansas in the final 9:55.
What Went Wrong
Arkansas' secondary. More specifically, Arkansas' two safeties, Rohan Gaines and Alan Turner, who were consistently out of position and missed a number of key tackles on the day. It will be interesting to see if the Hogs go to their younger backups going forward, because it's obvious that Turner and Gaines lack the athleticism, instincts and tackling ability in the back end. Arkansas' corners also struggled, but they certainly didn't get any help from the guys behind them. Auburn was 16 of 22 for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air.
One team capitalized on a key turnover and one didn't. Arkansas forced the first turnover of the game early in the third quarter when Tevin Beanum forced a fumble and Martrell Spaight recovered, but the Hogs came up empty on the ensuing drive. Auburn, on the other hand, created immediate points off a Brandon Allen interception as Jermaine Whitehead returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.
Drops. It's been a hot topic on this team for a long time now. Keon Hatcher dropped a would-be wide-open touchdown reception in the first half, and Demetrius Wilson, though he finished with a solid performance, dropped a key third down pass in the third quarter. With the game well in hand, Drew Morgan dropped one that could have allowed Arkansas to extend its drive and possibly make the score look at least a little more respectable.
Arkansas' tackling was atrocious at times. Granted, Auburn is a top ten team with top ten talent, but the Razorbacks missed a ton of tackles that could have changed the game.
Arkansas on third downs. The Razorbacks converted only 2 of 11 tries.
This one wasn't over until the 2:39 mark in the third quarter when Jermaine Whitehead returned a Brandon Allen interception for a touchdown. The pick-6 gave Auburn a 35-21 lead that Arkansas couldn't recover from.
Did You Notice?
Offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola replaced Luke Charpentier starting with the third possession of the game
JaMichael Winston got the start at defensive end for Arkansas
Arkansas didn't get its first sack until the 10:36 mark in the fourth quarter when Taiwan Johnson brought down Nick Marshall
Nick Marshall sat out the entire first half. Replacement Jeremy Johnson didn't miss a beat, going 12 of 16 for 243 yards and 2 scores
There was a 30-minute lightning delay starting at the 9:55 mark in the fourth quarter
Arkansas' first two touchdowns were passes to tight ends. Hunter Henry and A.J. Derby both had TD grabs
Auburn starting receivers Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis were held to 2 catches for 16 yards by the time the delay began
Ten different Razorbacks caught at least one pass
D'haquille Williams had 9 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown for Auburn
TiQuention Coleman started at linebacker for Arkansas
Inside the Numbers
0 - Second half points by the Razorbacks
4 - Receptions apiece for A.J. Derby and Demetrius Wilson, which led the team
3 of 3- Arkansas' offense in the red zone
4 of 4 - Auburn's offense in the red zone
5 - Tackles for loss by Auburn's defense
6 - Tackles for loss by Arkansas' defense
10 - First-year Razorbacks played in Saturday's game
302 - Rushing yards allowed by Arkansas
595 - Yards of offense allowed by Arkansas' defense