Arkansas (1-4) at Auburn (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 12:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: ESPN or ESPN2. Home Record: Arkansas 1-2, Auburn 1-1. Away Record: Arkansas 0-2, Auburn 0-1. Neutral Record: Arkansas 0-0, Auburn 0-1. Conference Record: Arkansas 0-2, Auburn 0-2. Series Record: Auburn leads, 11-9-1.
GAME NOTES: A couple of struggling SEC teams are set to square off at Jordan- Hare Stadium, as the Auburn Tigers play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas has dropped four in a row since its season-opening win over Jacksonville State. Most recently, the Razorbacks were dealt a 58-10 thrashing at the hands of Texas A&M this past weekend. Following this tilt, they'll return to Arkansas for the next three games.
Auburn is coming off a bye and will have had two weeks to prepare for this contest. In their latest outing, the Tigers hung tough with No. 4 LSU two weekends ago but wound up on the wrong end of a 12-10 final. The offense has struggled mightily throughout the season's first month, as the Tigers rank in the bottom tier of the nation in virtually every major offensive category.
Auburn leads the all-time series, 11-9-1.
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was bottled up by the Texas A&M defense, completing just 29-of-59 passes for 373 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The 59 attempts were a school record, although that was mostly due to the team falling behind early. Cobi Hamilton, who broke the SEC record for receiving yards a week earlier with 303, had 11 receptions for 162 yards. Knile Davis rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries and caught the lone Razorback touchdown. However, Davis also lost a fumble in the third quarter, which the Aggies scooped up and returned the other way for a touchdown to pull ahead, 44-10. The Razorbacks have been airing it out early and often through five games, but that has not translated to the scoreboard as they rank only 92nd in the nation in scoring offense (23.2 ppg).
The Razorbacks had all kinds of trouble with Aggies' redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, who threw for 453 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another 104 yards and a TD. By game's end, Arkansas had allowed a staggering 716 total yards on the day. The Aggies piled up 32 first downs and scored on 7-of-8 trips inside the red zone. Senior linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, the SEC's second-leading tackler, finished with a team-high 11 tackles. Highsmith has been one of the few bright spots for Arkansas on that side of the ball, as the team ranks 113th nationally in scoring defense (40.6 ppg) and 116th in total defense (510.2 ypg).
The Tigers had an abysmal day on offense against a tough LSU defense, as they were held to a mere 183 total yards and turned the ball over three times. Auburn had one final possession with 37 seconds to play in regulation and a chance to win it. Starting from their own 20 with no timeouts, the Tigers traveled only 17 yards and Kiehl Frazier's final heave was intercepted. Frazier completed only 13-of-22 passes for 97 yards and was intercepted twice. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace made his first appearance of the season in the second quarter but did not attempt a pass. Should Frazier continue to struggle, Wallace could get his chance sooner rather than later. Auburn enters this tilt ranked 113th in the nation in total offense (297.8 ypg) and 114th in scoring offense (17.5 ppg).
Despite the Tigers' offensive struggles, they were able to hang around and actually had a chance to win it late thanks to a strong effort by the defense. Auburn managed to hold LSU to a season-low 351 total yards. The Tigers' only points of the second half came on a third-quarter field goal, which was set up by a muffed punt that gave LSU the ball in Auburn territory. Auburn came up with a pair of takeaways for the game, but could not come up with a stop late in the game to leave more time on the clock for the offense. Still, it was a strong effort for the defense to build on, and the Tigers should be well rested coming off a bye.
Neither of these teams is playing particularly well heading into this matchup. However, the Tigers do have a win against a tough ULM squad, and they battled a top-five team down to the wire their last time out. Look for Auburn to take this one in its own house.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 24, Arkansas 16
10/03 10:43:59 ET