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Smoked Hog Week

By on September 20th, 2018 in Football 7 Comments »

How do the Razorbacks match up?

     War Eagle, everybody! Saturday evening, the Auburn Tigers will take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Most pundits are picking a tremendous Auburn blowout win in this game. Auburn is coming off the sting of a last second home loss to LSU last week, 22–21. Folks, Arkansas has it worse. They blew a big lead to lose at Colorado State and then got soundly thumped at home, 44–17 by North Texas. And then, the Razorbacks were involved in the most embarrassing play of the week during the rout by the Mean Green.

     As usual, I try to look at numbers, and formulate my own opinion. It’s a given that Auburn wants to work on a shaky offensive line and to get better running the ball this week. That might be a problem. While Arkansas has given up torrents of points, they’ve been more than solid against the run thus far. The Razorbacks allowed just 40 rushing yards against Colorado State and 95 against North Texas. CSU managed just 1.7 yards per carry, and the North Texas team managed just 3.3.

     Should Auburn need to pass against Arkansas, the Razorback passing defense hasn’t been bad, either. Not great, but not bad. In the games mentioned above, the Razorbacks have allowed 56 completions on 96 attempts for 6.9 yards per pass. That’s actually a decent yards-per-pass average. Arkansas has allowed just 3 touchdowns on those 96 attempts and has picked one ball off.

     So, with a decent to good defense, how is Arkansas losing these games? Turnovers. Arkansas threw 8 interceptions in the past couple of games. For this game against Auburn, the Razorbacks have benched Cole Kelly, who tossed up 4 of those picks last week. Ty Storey will start against Auburn, but it’s important to note that Storey also has thrown 3 picks in the past couple of weeks. There will be opportunities for a young Auburn secondary, but Auburn must stop blindly grabbing receivers and look for the ball. Arkansas’ running game was slowed some by CSU and stopped cold by North Texas. I expect Auburn to severely limit the Hog ground game, as well. Look for Arkansas to chunk some balls up the sideline, just as Washington and LSU did earlier this year.

     I look for Auburn again to start slowly, but the Tigers should wear own a thinner Arkansas team during a warm, muggy evening. For Auburn to do that, though, the bad passes and balls hitting the ground must stop. And, Auburn must get a handle on the penalties.

Thoughts around the SEC, after the jump!

     This week across the SEC, conference matchups begin in earnest as head to head competition becomes the norm rather than the outlier. The day begins at 11:00 AM Central Time as Georgia heads to Columbia for the second week in a row, this time to Columbia, Missouri. Georgia shut down the Gamecock offense last week. This week, we will see what star Missouri quarterback Drew Lock can do against a great defense. Also, does the Missouri defense have a chance to slow down a prolific Bulldog offense? In the other early game, Ole Miss hosts Kent State, which should allow it to get over their last week’s mauling by the Crimson Tide.

     The CBS game of the week at 2:30 PM is Texas A&M at Alabama. Some folks expect this to be a close game after Texas A&M played Clemson close. I have my doubts. Clemson is not playing that great thus far this season. Alabama totally shut down a potent Ole Miss offense last week. Something tells me that a less talented Aggie bunch will find the going very tough. And no one has held Alabama under 50 points on offense, yet.

     At 3:00 PM, South Carolina travels to Vanderbilt. This might be an entertaining game. If nothing else, we’ll get to see whether either of these teams has the potential to finish in the top half of the SEC Eastern Division.

     The 6:00 PM slot is busy. LSU hosts Louisiana Tech, Kentucky hosts Mississippi State, and Florida is at Tennessee. The home field advantage should help Kentucky, but the Wildcats have not yet played a team as good on both lines of scrimmage as Mississippi State. Can Kentucky match up? They will need to lean on their running game and keep a dangerous Bulldog offense on the bench. I don’t know what to make of the UF–UT tilt. I expected Tennessee to have troubles this year. I did not expect Florida to struggle as it has. Right now, this looks like a race to stay out of the SEC cellar.

     Auburn vs. Arkansas will be the final SEC game to kick off this week at 6:30 PM on the SEC Network. We will have our usual Open Thread up and running. I might be a little slower, and spotty, this week. I’ll be at a social event, operating remotely with my laptop, but I will still try to keep a play by play going.


  1. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Yay. Finally a night game.

  2. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    While Arkansas looked formidable against Colorado State and North Texas, those were NOT the offense they will see Saturday night or, if it is, then I’m selling out and will remain home and watch on TV from the sofa or couch – I always get these confused. Sofa seems too formal while couch almost seems too laid back. Meh, we can make that argument at a later time, or not.
    You still need to watch that You Tube video of the “not” Fair Catch – that’s one for the ages.
    I was down on Wednesday and in the locker room for just a bit and NO ONE was happy. In fact, the offense was a bit “chipper” – “a bad term but I don’t know how to type pissed without typing it” as was the defense. This is not AT ALL to say that either side was placing blame anywhere but on themselves but, based on what I saw, there are a bunch of guys wearing Orange and Blue who are out for Razorback Rawhide. That’s as clean as I can make it.
    And, quite frankly, these guys should have a chip on their shoulder; these guys lost a ballgame they should not have lost even with the “officiating” and they know it.
    “Hungry” – this is a term that has been tossed around in virtually any number of sports but, to me, this team is “hungry”. Well, actually, they are a wee bit perturbed minus the “wee”…
    And, if I am wrong, and Auburn loses this game in some stupidly remarkable fashion, I shall fade away into whatever demise awaits me.

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……My point is that Auburn just can’t take an SEC team lightly, even Arkansas. That fake fair catch thing will have repercussions, later this year. If Arkansas had been paying attention, they could have decked that guy hard, with no flag. It’s a very risky play, for the return man. And… there are going to be return men that do call for the fair catch, and get clobbered, this year, because of that play. “I didn’t see him signal fair catch!”

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      Auburn should be taking no team lightly; I don’t care who it is. Taking a team lightly, I’m sure, is listed somewhere on the recipe for disaster.

  4. meathead530 says:

    This team is probably ticked off, so I imagine this will be a big blowout. Seems like Auburn comes back roaring after an early loss.

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