Gearing up for Fayetteville.

By Posted on: October 31st, 2013 in Football 23 Comments »
Road team

Going on the road has been tough for the Tigers.

     War Eagle, everybody! It’s Arkansas week for the Auburn Tigers, and everyone is talking about the Razorback Curse. Either that, or Bret Bielema’s whining about film on an extra point play. Examining the actual football played between these two schools reveals some curious things. Did you know, for instance, that Auburn has won 3 of the last 5 meetings in Fayetteville? However, the road hasn’t been kind to Auburn since the 2010 season. Auburn had won just 2 of its last 10 road games prior to knocking off Texas A&M in College Station.

     In the all-time Auburn vs. Arkansas series, Auburn holds an 11-10-1 edge in wins. Arkansas has never beaten Auburn 3 years in a row, and is unlikely to do so this season. Arkansas is last in the SEC in scoring offense this season, managing just 20.4 points per game. Against SEC foes, that scoring average plummets to 12.5, and that includes scoring 33 against Texas A&M. In actual fact, Arkansas’ offense is looking a lot like the one Auburn fielded last season. The only real silver lining is that Arkansas is 4th in the SEC in rushing yards, picking up 209.9. Again, against SEC opponents that average drops to 173.8.

     On the defensive side of the ball, it’s a similar tale of woe. Arkansas is 12th in the SEC in scoring defense, giving up 30.6 points per game. Against SEC foes, it’s 44.7 points per game given up. Even in the depths of the Roof and vanGorder years at Auburn, the Tigers didn’t give up a 30 per game average. Arkansas is l1th in rushing defense, and they’ll be facing the league’s top rushing attack this weekend. Arkansas looks average against the pass, coming in 7th, but that’s because teams haven’t had to throw much against the Razorbacks when its easy enough to run.

     Arkansas ranks in the bottom half of the league in kick returns (11th), punt returns (9th), net punting (11th), pass efficiency (14th), and turnover margin (14th). By comparison Auburn’s rankings include scoring offense (5th), rushing offense (1st), scoring defense (3rd), rushing defense (5th), total offense (2nd), kickoff returns (6th), net punting (3rd), and pass efficiency defense (5th).

     The Razorbacks have had just one competitive SEC home game this season, and that was against Texas A&M in a 45-33 loss. The Razorbacks had a balanced attack in that one, racking up 483 yards against the Aggies. The Razorbacks relied on running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams to pick up yards after contact, rolling up 201 rushing yards. Quarterback Brandon Allen hit 17 of 36 pass attempts, for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he also threw 2 costly interceptions. His favorite targets were receiver Hunter Henry, and Jonathan Williams out of the backfield. Since Aggie loss, Arkansas has scored just 17 points in the past three games, and has given up 134. Brandon Allen has been in a funk the past 3 games, completing just 28 of 78 attempts, with no touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

     For those making the trip to Fayetteville, expect pretty chilly weather. Kickoff temperature will be around 55 degrees, and the mercury will drop into the 40s quickly. This game will kick off a bit earlier than usual, at 5:00 PM Central Time. It will be televised on ESPN-2. It should be a great night to pick up some extra sleep, as this one will be over by 9:00 PM, AND the clocks fall back an hour Sunday at 2:00 AM.

     If there’s a concern for Auburn in this game, that would have to be its number 8 ranking in the AP Poll. Folks might have discounted Auburn earlier this season, thanks to last year’s abysmal showing. That’s over with, now. Auburn is a top-ten ranked program, and no opponents will look past that. We’ll get the A-game from the Razorbacks, make no mistake. But Auburn has better players and should win this game, and at Tennessee next weekend. Can the Tigers keep up the intensity they’ve shown every other game this fall? If they take care of business in Fayetteville and Knoxville, we’ll close the season out with a couple of mighty fun games in Jordan Hare Stadium!

     We’ll have our usual open thread up Saturday morning, and I’ll be back at the keyboard at game-time. I’m looking forward to seeing what Auburn does against the Hogs! As always, please feel free to join in and sound off.

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  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    This has been an amazing season. What a wonderful surprise.

    The players have to stay focused. I think they will. When we hear them talk in interviews they display maturity and a sense of purpose. They have earned our trust. They will not flop out and blow it. They will play hard every down.

    Auburn’s fourth quarter grit has been remarkable. The offense has shown a will to win in the waning seconds. Marshall’s two-minute drill against Miss. St. made it clear that he will get the job done. His second half against LSU proved he will not quit. The team will not quit. The team, led by Coach Malzahn, will use every second to score.

    Hats off to Ellis Johnson on defense. Some of the talking heads miss the point by seeing only that we give up some yards. But the real important fact is that our defense does not allow much scoring in the red zone. Those last few plays against aTm showed that the defense is aggressive and capable.

    We will have a chance in every game from here on out. These last four games are arranged very nicely in that each opponent is slightly better than the one before it. We get to work our way up gradually, meeting each new challenge as preparartion for the next one. The last two games are at home. Thank you, Mr. SEC scheduling guy.

  2. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    More than one so called expert picker has AU on upset alert. I for one am kind of nervous about this game.

  3. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I hope that the AU coaches blow up that upset alert and tack it the board for motivation. Arky has had our number….time to take it back!

    War Eagle! Beat the Razorbacks!!

    • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

      Don’t get me wrong. We should dominate this game to the tune of 45-13 or more. I just get nervous when we play Arky, especially over in Hog country.

      • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

        Oh, me too! It’s hard to feel comfortable unless there is a 3 touchdown lead in the 4th or the buzzer hits 0 at the end of the game…..

        • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

          Not to mention I have a huge wager on the game with one of my golfing buddies from Arky. Full payment of a 3 day bar tab at the tourney in Pinehurst next Spring. That could be triple digits easy no matter which one of us is doing the drinking and paying.

          • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

            Wait is that in North Carolina? ‘Cause I think that I’ve been in those parts before….sounds like fun-well, only if you’re not paying ;)

          • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

            It is in the Sand Hills of North Carolina, it is the Holy Land of golf in the US.

          • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

            BTW, the US Mens and Womens Opens are being played on Pinehurst No. 2 next year in back to back weeks. We are playing No. 3. Eat your heart out Capn.

        • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

          And I am giving the points.

  4. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    This game is ours to lose. When you’re the underdog, you desperately throw everything at the opponent in the hopes that something works. When you’re the favorite, you just need to play your game and stay the course… Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat and we should definitely beat this team. This game will be a good test against ourselves to see if we can keep our identity against any opponent.

  5. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    This game is in the bag.

    I told Gus at a Meet & Greet that he owed us for 2006 and I expect payback this year……he just smiled. Not worried. This man is focused and he will not take anything less from the players. This is also his “coming out” party for the state of Arkansas. He says he’s been there before and it’s just another game. But this is his first one in control of a major program. His staff from Arkansas also have something to prove. They say they don’t but these are competitive guys and this is not going unnoticed. Horton says he would like to be a head coach one day……..And Kodi and Kiehl…and on and on……..

    Hate that the beluga has made it into more…….hope he doesn’t get pay back…. ;)

    ANNIHILATE THE HAWGS!!

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Oh, man, 2006 was bad against Gus. They hit us with a bunch of wildcat, unbalanced lines and crazy motion. Will Muschamp had never seen these things, and I think his head was about to explode.

  6. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Great writeup,A.R.

    Now, let’s go get some pulled pork poboys in Fayetteville. Beat the hogs!

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!! (EVEN IN WHITE JERSEYS !!!)

  7. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    While I am nervous about this game, because its and SEC foe and we aren’t sure about Marshall’s health, I contend that if we don’t turn the ball over early and give them reason to hope this the hogs should crumble.

    Nothing is more grating and irritating that a whiny, fat man (ie Michael Moore) and Bielema certainly fills that mold…..and I’m a fat guy, so I know of what I speak. If we jump on the Hogs early, I am certain that the Hogs will wilt under the HUNH. I think Gus and his Arkansas crew are going to try to make a big statement back to the home folk….namely, I could have been your coach, and you hired this schmuck.

    If Marshall is healthy enough to play WELL and can throw the ball, I expect us to win by 20 plus. If he struggles and is not a threat in the air, this game could go down to the last 5 minutes, where I think we will have a huge edge in conditioning and fortitude. If we play smart and limit mistakes, I will be shocked if the Hogs can hang.

  8. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    The ground game will be established on the first three drives and the game will likely be decided well before half time. Barring a slew of Baton Rouge type miscues, I see Johnson, Wallace and Frazier rotating in by the middle of the third quarter and Shakespeare running hard until the final gun. I feel Rhett, Gus and Ellis will utilize late game playing time to build vital experience deep in the roster just like the FAU and WSU games.

    As well as we’re playing this year, I feel next year is going to blow out the stadium lights every week. This team is building depth and experience like no other I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this amount of substitution going on for both offense and defense. As a tactic to overcome injuries, it’s vital due to the number of players we’ve had go down. As a means to have a fresh team in the fourth quarter, it’s been overwhelming at times.

    Gus has been putting on a textbook example of how to rebuild a team and establish an ongoing dynasty. I haven’t seen him have a misstep or seem unprepared in the slightest for any challenge yet.

    • MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

      Something tells me we will also see some of the Gus Bus trickery early in the game, ie. running back pass, hand off then throw back to the QB, fumblerooskie, etc. I also bet it goes the distance

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      “Barring a slew of Baton Rouge type miscues”….it’s not supposed to rain on Saturday in Fayetteville. So at least that bodes well.

  9. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Speaking for me, I think this game has upset written all over it. And it should.

    The record speaks for itself. For what ever reason Arkansas always plays AU tough. I mean, how this team beat us last year with the lame coach that they had… I am still scratching my already bald head. Frankly, that and the MSU game was the primary reason I thought Chizik should have been canned.

    Still, that outcome could be repeated tomorrow mainly because anyone claiming odds still can’t confirm an Auburn win. It is impossible. Please observe: the only certainty there is in this old world is death, taxes and whatever it is the government is going to screw it up. Am I right??

    Still, my personal angle on how AU comes away with a win is simple. It’s already been going on for at least a week. What AU needs to do is ensure Bret Bielema keep talking smack. He is only hurting himself. Why?

    The man needed a signature win. Much like Davis at Tennessee who got his against a on again off again USC team who mimics their head coach… the Ol’ Ball Coach. This was Bielema’s served on a silver plate. And what does he do? He suffers what appears to be an ego crisis, unzips his pants, and goes all over his chances.

    How exactly does he do that again?? He starts in on issues that basically question the integrity of Auburn as an institution… and our coach.

    Say what? Yeah. I think he is asking for Malzahn to punch him in the mouth. And I don’t mean physically… I mean through his football team. And that is what I expect AU will do. Look for Malzahn to have this team focused on a purpose. Kick Bielema’s ass. It’s that simple.

    Why? Malzahn is a, wait for it, LEGENDARY high school coach in this state. And in fact, has more time on the Razorback staff than Old BB. Strictly speaking, when you are the new guy… you either win or you learn to take your licks just like anyone else. Especially in the SEC. We care not what conference you came from. You are just a new guy bub. You want proof?

    Just ask the other guy that did it… who is currently unemployed… Lane Kiffen. How did that work out for you Lane? Go trojans… hahahahahahahaha. Brent Shaffer! I am still laughing at the debacle known as USC football. And when these West coast morons bow up and want to argue… I ask them again… how much they love Pete Carroll? & Reggie Bush?

    LOL.

    Ok… getting sidetracked.

    Back to this game…

    I expect AU to hang 50+ points on the hogs. Pay back sure. But mainly because their head coach is a bit… how do we say…. whiny. Whew!! I was thinking of another description but this is the cleanest I could come up with.

    If it doesn’t go that way… its because this team has major injury issues. Strictly speaking, there is just too much at stake here. This is a show down at the school yard… with the kid who runs his mouth continually. It’s time to put up or shut up.

    War Damn Eagle!

    And thank you Bret… in advance of the can I expect to be opened in Fayetteville. God Bless you!

  10. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    I know there’s no hex but I am concerned this could be a trap game. Also the way that Ark. played against Texas A&M makes me know they can be dangerous. Enjoyed the write up Acid. Always look forward to seeing your game previews.