Bret Bielema and the Arkansas football team tried all of their tricks in effort to knock off the #11 Auburn Tigers on Saturday, but came up short in the end, losing 35-17.
For the first time in a long time, the Razorbacks actually stayed competitive in the game and were basically a few plays away from making it interesting.
One thing that the Hogs couldn’t do however, was stop Tre Mason on defense. Mason had a career day, scoring a total of four touchdowns on only 12 carries and had 168 yards on the ground for the Tigers.
Arkansas had more than enough opportunities to score in this game, but just couldn’t capitalize.
The running game did well for the Hogs as Jonathan Williams rushed for 104 yards and Alex Collins for 92.
A.J. Derby came in for an injured Brandon Allen on the first drive, but threw an interception off of a tipped screen pass at the Auburn 20. The next drive was detrimental too because of a Derby fumble that gave Auburn prime field position.
After a Zach Hocker 34-yard field goal, the Hogs may of got a little too greedy and tried an onside kick that failed and gave the Tigers good field position again, which they took advantage of.
Still the Hogs were only down 14-3 and had a nice 17-play drive with three third down conversions, but came up short on the goal-line two consecutive plays.
Auburn came out in the second half hot, scoring touchdowns on both of their first two possessions. The second coming from an 88-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Nick Marshall to Sammie Coates on a third down.
The Hogs were in an all too familiar situation now down 28-7.
However, the Hogs responded with a Korliss Marshall 65-yard kickoff return down to the Auburn 13 and scored on a pass from Allen to Keon Hatcher two plays later.
Despite having to be carted off of the field on the first drive, Allen finished the game out going 10-of-22 for 112 yards passing, and had no interceptions.
Heading into the fourth, all of the momentum had shifted to Arkansas and while they were still down 18, they were fighting.
Bielema gave Gus Malzahn a little taste of his own medicine when placeholer Brian Buehner complete a fourth down pass at the Auburn 9 out of the ‘swinging gate’ formation.
Senior fullback Kiero Small bulldozed his way into the endzone for a 2-yard score that cut the Tiger lead to 28-17, but that would be as close as the Hogs would get.
Nick Marshall rushed for 22 yards and fumbled at the Arkansas 47, but it was recovered by the Tigers and that was the last hope for the Razorbacks.
Mason rushed for a 12-yard misdirection score on a third down to put the Tigers up 35-17 which proved to be the final scoring of the game.
While the Hogs didn’t win, you could defiantly see something that hasn’t been in the team any during this losing steak and that was fight. Maybe it was because of Senior Night or the opponent, but there is no doubt that this team looked different than it has the past couple of weeks.
If the Hogs execute certain plays, limit turnovers or don’t have two costly penalties that eliminate fourth down conversions, this game may turn out differently.
Fans have to appreciate the seniors that played for the last time in Razorback Stadium on Saturday and all that they have done for the program. These are the players that have been through three different coaches in four years and have been a part of some of the best and worst teams in Razorback history.
The Hogs have now played five teams that have been ranked 18th or higher in a row and finally get somewhat of a break from that, but not from good competition.
The Arkansas football team travels to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the young and talented Rebels (5-3) on Saturday.