The Arkansas Razorbacks (3-5) will host the #11 Auburn Tigers (7-1) on Saturday. Kickoff in Razorback Stadium is set for 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
Arkansas is coming off of a very much needed bye week and now should be healthier, well-rested, and more prepared than ever. They will need to be as the revamped and highly ranked Auburn Tigers make a homecoming trip for new head coach Gus Malzahn back to Northwest Arkansas.
Malzahn has completely turned around the Tigers who won only three games a year ago and were even worse than the Razorbacks if you can believe that or not. This all coming in large part due to Malzahn’s signature hurry-up offense.
Auburn is leading the SEC and ranks fifth in the nation in rushing, averaging 315 yards on the ground per game. Running backs Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Paine, and Corey Grant lead the rushing attack, each boasting a 100-yard games this season.
Quarterback Nick Marshall has been the Tigers saving grace this season, leading an offense that has been in desperate need of a decent quarterback since the departure of Cam Newton. Marshall has thrown for 1148 yards this season and only has six touchdowns, but manages the no-huddle offense very well.
Auburn’s offense has already surpassed all of last year’s total touchdown mark with 24 rushing and 12 passing this year.
While Gus Malzahn is having a highly successful first year at Auburn, Bret Bielema is struggling in his.
While the Razorbacks have only won three games so far, the current five game losing streak has been against good competition. Excluding Rutgers, the teams have all been ranked in the top 20 of the nation and there’s no way Arkansas is anywhere near to that mark so this shouldn’t be too unexpected.
The fact is that they are getting completely blown-out in these games and while they may be expected to lose, fans want to at least see the team be competitive in games.
The Razorbacks have been outscored a unreal 104-7 in the past two games. These type of scores are something that Hog fans may be used to seeing last year, but this year is supposed to be different.
Good news is that no one is giving Arkansas a real chance to win this game, or pretty much any other game for the rest of the year, so all they can do is overachieve. At this point, they have absolutely nothing to lose, so they might as well embrace the underdog roll and play like one.
Arkansas will have to stop the rushing attack from Auburn or this one will go straight into another dominating win for the opposition. There is a chance though, coming off a bye week you expect Chris Ash to have an effective gameplan for slowing down the Tiger’s offense.
Brandon Allen should finally be completely healthy for the first time since the Southern Miss game so maybe this will limit the mistakes and unreasonably bad decisions that he has been making in the losses as he should have gained confidence.
Arkansas will have to stay close to Auburn for the entire game because of their ability to score so quickly and to do that the Razorback offense will have to get into the endzone–something they haven’t done since the first quarter of the South Carolina game seven quarters ago.
To say that Arkansas has no chance in this game would be naive because Auburn, despite their high ranking and record may just be, dare I say, a little overrated.
Auburn beat Washington State by only seven, and Mississppi State by only four.
This team is coming off an upset win over Texas A&M who was without Manziel for a period during the game and who’s defense is horrendous. Even Arkansas scored 33 points against them.
While their only loss was by 14 to a good LSU team, are the Tigers still a bit unproven?
Arkansas has beaten Auburn five of the last seven games which bodes in favor of the Razorbacks, but this is an Auburn team that has gotten better every single week
Auburn in the end is just too talented and while the Hogs finally score, they just won’t be able to keep up.
The Arkansas football team benefits tremendously from the bye week, senior day, and a night game in Fayetteville, but still cannot stop Malzahn and the Tigers.
Arkansas-17 Auburn- 42